Paddleford collected each recipe from a specific source: often a woman who was locally recognized as an excellent cook or a group of women; sometimes from chefs or other food professionals. In the book as in her newspaper columns that it was based on, she provided a story about the recipe, its author, and about foods that were popular in each city or area. Thus it's impossible to do justice to such a book! Here are a few example pages and quotes:
|My newly acquired copy of the 1960 edition of How America Eats.
Dust jacket just a little worn.
|Paddleford included a section on every state except Hawaii.
This is one of the illustrations for Alaska:
most of the black & white photos show important landmarks and scenery.
|Paddleford visited Alaska, Washington, and Oregon, collecting recipes for the fish, crabs, and other seafood of the region.
On a fishing boat, a 72-foot cannery tender, she tried sourdough pancakes prepared by Chef Phil Kerr. "Sourdough is a staple of the Far North," according to Phil, she wrote. "In the early days it was used throughout the Northwest and California, providing pancakes, biscuits, and other such products. This fermented dough came into use as a substitute for the fresh leavening in the pioneering days. A sourdough starter then was worth its weight in gold to those who lived far from a trading post. In the Klondike the trappers and miners and prospectors were so dependent on this forever-keeping dough they became known as 'sourdoughs.'" (p. 439)
At the time that Paddleford published her book, sourdough wasn't well known as it is now. Similarly unfamiliar, I'm sure, were many other regional foods she described: foods with limited geographical availability; immigrants' foods; and specialties of diners, small restaurants, and home cooks throughout the country.
As my friends in the culinary book club pointed out, this comprehensive cookbook should serve as a reference to those who write American food history -- but I fear it will remain obscure!