It’s hard to imagine an America without McDonald’s fries and Birds Eye frozen foods. But such an America existed once: It had Wisconsin Sour Dough Pancakes, Montana Fried Beaver Tail (which is neither a pastry nor a strange sex act), Georgia Possum and Taters, and Minnesota Booya Picnics. This is the America that was the subject of “America Eats,” a project of the WPA (Works Progress Administration, later renamed the Works Projects Administration) Federal Writers Project. Part of the New Deal, the project sent a team of writers across the country to record all the special things about American foodways—even the struggles. Their work came to a halt in the early 1940s because of the Second World War. It was never resumed.
Lucky for us, food historian and writer Mark Kurlansky gathered these works together in a book that is our June selection: The Food of a Younger Land. You’ll find intriguing, nostalgic, edible, historic pieces of America… from New England clams to California Grunion Fries and many things between the coasts, recorded by writers such as Zora Neale Hurston, Eudora Welty, and Nelson Algren. They write about such things as Choctaw Indian dishes, Washington Wildcat Parties (actual wildcat meat was served), and “A Los Angeles Sandwich Called a Taco.”
Join us on Tuesday, May 10, at 6pm at Ted’s, 328 12th Street South. Owners Tasos and Beba Touloupis are keeping the restaurant open just for us! Enjoy a Southern meat-and-three dinner (on your own) while we talk about the America we find in The Food of a Younger Land.