Culinary Ephemera: An Illustrated History

Categories: Cookbooks
This is a departure from our regular cookbook column in that the book we're featuring is not a cookbook. Plus it's new, as opposed to our usual old, or as we like to say "classic" books. But we bring it to you because it meets the main criteria: Cool reading.

Culinary Ephemera
is a collection of "a vast sea of paper flotsam and jetsam from the past" that yields "an intimate and detailed picture of American culinary history" through the nineteenth-and-twentieth century.

Food historian William Woys Weaver compiled this illustrated look at gastronomic Americana via almanacs, calendars, broadsides, posters, brochures, labels, matchbook covers, menus, postcards, sheet music...just about any piece of paper related to food finds its way into this book. Remember Howdy Doody Ice Cream Bars? Cheese Zits Popcorn? Southern Dew Corn Whiskey? Neither do I, which is what makes the book so interesting. And the stories behind the images are equally fascinating, delving into our nation's social and cultural history.

Culinary Ephemera: An Illustrated History
Author: William Woys Weaver
Design and composition: Claudia Smelser
Published by University of California Press
$39.95 ($28.76 on Amazon)
Amazon ranking: 392,555 -- with a bullet

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