Culinary historian Barbara Haber takes a unique approach to the history of cooking in America, focusing on a remarkable assembly of little-known or forgotten Americans who helped shape the eating habits of the nation. As Curator of Books at Harvard University's Schlesinger Library, Haber has access to more than 16,000 cookbooks from which she has drawn inspiring and often surprising cooking stories from the 1840s to the present: a Confederate Jewish woman's ancestral chicken soup which helped improve institutional food overall; the well-groomed, upright "Harvey Girl" waitresses who helped civilize America's western frontier; and the Graham Cracker, which was created by a fanatic Seventh-Day Adventist trying to curb sexual appetites. With recipes throughout, Haber's fascinating survey adds a delicious new dimension to America's cultural heritage.
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