Thursday, June 18, 2009

America Eats

During the Great Depression, the Works Progress Administration hired writers to document the food traditions and rituals of America, a sort of Hidden Kitchens of the 1930s. Out-of-work authors--Eudora Welty, Saul Bellow, Richard Wright, Nelson Algren, Zora Neale Hurston, along with artists, anthropologists, librarians, and housewives fanned across the country to gather "an account of group eating as an important American social institution; its part in development of American cookery as an authentic art and the preservation of that art in the face of mass production of foodstuffs...."

The Kitchen Sisters chronicled this vast archive of American eating in the Hidden Kitchens series, in a story called "America Eats" that includes an interview with Mark Kurlansky, author of the new and fascinating book, "Food of a Younger Land: A Portrait of American Food--before the national highway system, before chain restaurants and before frozen food, when the nation's food was seasonal, regional, and traditional--from the lost WPA files."

You can listen to our story, "America Eats," here.