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Book Review

By Sharon Kapnick

Published by Oxford University Press
Edited by Andrew F. Smith

The Oxford Companion to American Food & Drink starts with A&W root beer stands and ends with zombie, the dynamite rum cocktail. In between, it serves up everything you wanted to know about a subject as well as everything you didn’t know you wanted to know. This all-inclusive 693-page tome covers significant contributors to American food and drink, social and political movements including the -ization trends — urbanization, industrialization, suburbanization and globalization — commercial products, corporate histories, technological developments, regional and ethnic cuisine, ingredients — well, just about anything related to American food and drink. The range goes from fast food to haute cuisine, from junk food to holiday food, from lighthearted to serious.

You can read about your childhood favorites — Schrafft’s, the Jolly Green Giant, Girl Scout cookies, milkshakes, malts and floats — and the institutions you heard about in your childhood — Delmonico’s, Oscar of the Waldorf.

You’ll learn what a yummasetti is — a baked casserole with pasta, ground meat, tomato sauce, vegetables, two different canned cream soups and more — and find out who Maria Parloa was — the 19 th century’s Martha Stewart.

With contributions from more than 200 authorities, nearly a thousand entries and hundreds of historical and color photographs, The Oxford Companion to American Food & Drink is a great, fun book to explore. You don’t have to read it from end to end, but you’ll enjoy yourself every time you pick it up and browse.

Award-winning author and certified sommelier Sharon Kapnick has written about food and wine for many magazines, including Time, Food & Wine and Hemispheres, and many newspapers, thanks to the New York Times Syndicate. She contributed several entries for the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America.


©2007 Sharon Kapnick for SeniorWomenWeb
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