A.J. Liebling knew it, so did M.F.K. Fisher, not to mention, most of the aunts, uncles, and parents of our lives. Food matters, it sustains us, and if we are lucky enough, food also opens doors to rich cultural traditions we should never let die.
That’s why we especially love Renewing America’s Food Traditions: Saving and Savoring the Continent’s Most Endangered Foods, edited by Gary Paul Nabhan. This book celebrates local economies, native wisdom, and an amazing diversity of food traditions across the nation. Snake River Salmon, Chickasaw Plum, Zimmerman’s Pawpaw, Meech’s Prolific Quince, Ojibwa Wild Rice, are among over a hundred foods highlighted with hidden histories, folklore, and recipes.
Food historian Betty Fussell had a very good comment about this book: “If you’re going to buy a single book about American food, buy this one. Knowledge is everything. I’m grateful to the authors and publishers of this vital book for making knowing, saving, and savoring one and the same action.”
This is a fun, and enormously valuable book that will get you thinking about the foods of your own home region!
Renewing America’s Food Traditions is organized by region, what the editor refers to as Food Nations: Acorn, Bison, Chestnut, Chile Pepper, Clambake, Cornbread, Crabcake, Gumbo, Maple Syrup, Moose, Pinyon Nut, Salmon, and Wild Rice.
From the eastern edge of Pinyon Nut Nation, we can also recommend, for further reading, an earlier post on a related book: