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About the Author

Includes the name: Pat Willard

Obras de Pat Willard

Associated Works

Best Food Writing 2001 (2001) — Contribuinte — 66 cópias


Conhecimento Comum




America Eats! was one of the many WPA projects created to put people to work during the Great Depression era. In brief, the idea was to go out and document not just Americans' foods, but also the social gatherings, cultural mores, and events that defined American food. The project was broken down into regional segments, and writers were assigned to write up the various parts. Some of these writers went on to become famous; others just went back to their regular jobs when the project was shut down (Congress refused to continue its funding, thus cutting it off. Imagine if Congress had actually funded it and allowed it to be completed, the national treasure we would have now). Some fragments of the manuscript survive in the Library of Congress; many are likely still locked up in local and state archives, many even undiscovered.

The author found parts of the document, and along with those parts, set out to see if she could find many of these places and food gatherings. From chuck wagon meals to funeral meals to fish fries, she spent a year on the road to see what real American homemade cooking was, and more importantly, the social events and gatherings that were the main reason for the meals. Whether it was a fundraiser or a lodge social event, what she found was a diverse culinary experience of people coming together. And sadly, it is an experience that may be facing extinction in our modern times.

The book alternates between the author's narrative and fragments from the WPA writings, making for a very interesting picture of the United States from coast to coast. The WPA writings include customs, descriptions of events, and some recipes. In some cases, the author included recipes that are close to an original in order to give readers a sense of the real thing. The book does have some amusing moments, but it also has some moving moments along with some serious commentary on contemporary American society along the way. Personally, I cannot help but wonder what would happen if, by some great miracle, a new national works project was formed, and a new generation of writers went out to document the American food gathering experience today? What, if anything, would they find?

The book does have some small passages that go a bit too long, slowing down the reading experience. It is the only reason I gave it four stars. However, this is a book worth reading. It is a book you may want to read in small bits, savor parts of it even. And it is a book that may make you want to go out and find a local church supper, or a fish fry, or maybe, just maybe, a pie social.
… (mais)
bloodravenlib | outras 21 resenhas | Aug 17, 2020 |
I love pies, and I love this book.

Did you know that pies used to be a more common dish than they are today? Much of the craft of piemaking is obscure these day, but this book packages it up and presents it in a very readable way.

I greatly enjoyed the author's personal anecdotes, which peppered the recipes with short stories and enthusiastic descriptions of the reception the pies recieve from her friends and family. In the first couple pages the reader is presented with the equation which occured to her and made her a pie enthusiast:

My husband loves pies I learn to make pies = We will be forever one

I especially loved the book's notes on the history of pies and regional variations of different recipes. The author doesn't just include recipes, she lays out why certain crusts and ingredients were originally used, and what specific situations call for each variation today.
… (mais)
wishanem | Jan 27, 2015 |
I enjoyed reading this book, as long as I didn't think too much about it (which is exactly what happens when I write a book review). I thought I'd be reading a microhistory, but it's also a memoir, and it felt to me as if the author couldn't decide which she'd rather be writing. Some chapters were all history, some were all memoir, some were a combination, and there was no real pattern as to which was which. Luckily, saffron's history is fascinating enough by itself to keep me reading along.

By the way, there are recipes scattered through the book. I will say that almost all of them looked tempting, although most of them also looked too large and complicated for me to deal with. But if you were looking for ways to use saffron, the author does her best to help you.… (mais)
Silvernfire | 1 outra resenha | Sep 12, 2013 |
Esta resenha foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Resenhistas do LibraryThing.
Within the last year (2009), I have become intrigued by the America Eats! project, which was intended to document America’s regional cuisines before they disappeared. This WPA project, which was also designed to help professional and would-be writers, as well as artists who contributed photographs, was aborted before completion because of World War II. Most of the reams of material ended up in the Library of Congress, while other pieces were either scattered or lost.

Pat Willard’s book, also entitled America Eats!, first published by Bloomsbury in 2008, is being reissued in paperback form in late summer or early fall 2009. Ms. Willard became interested in the topic after visiting the manuscript rooms at the Library of Congress. Unlike the author of another recent book based on the same project, Ms. Willard felt compelled to travel around the United States to discover what remains of the regional cuisines and community gatherings mentioned in the original material. The result is a work that juxtaposes that material with her own observations, plus recipes from the original work (sometimes annotated) and the author’s own recipes.

The original intent of the project was not to produce a cookbook, and Ms. Willard has adhered to that intent. She has also succeeded in capturing the essence of the original work in her wanderings. It was encouraging to see that many events continue to this day, even though most of them have evolved in the interim. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the evolution of American cookery and the regional cuisines and food-related events that have continued into the 21st century.
… (mais)
ErstwhileEditor | outras 21 resenhas | Mar 18, 2013 |

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