Mark Kurlansky's "The Food of a Younger Land"
The Eating Habits of Americans (from the 1930s WPA chronicles)
Written onDecember 01 , 2012
In the 1930s, writers for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) chronicled the eating habits of Americans. Here are some Vermont excerpts, as collected in Mark Kurlansky’s The Food of a Younger Land:
From “Vermont Foods” by Cora Moore
Sour Milk Doughnuts: No native Vermonter goes without doughnuts for breakfast, even if mother has to get up before-hand to make them. The recipe?—2 cups of flour, 3/4 teaspoon soda, 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar, 3/4 teaspoon of salt, and a dash of nutmeg sifted together. Add a beaten egg, 1/2 cup sugar, tablespoon melted butter, and 1/2 cup sour milk. Knead on the board adding flour, if necessary; cut and fry in deep fat. For Sugared Doughnuts, when cool, shake in a bag with some confectioners’ sugar. Blueberry griddlecakes are a Vermont Sunday morning breakfast.
From “Eating in Vermont” by Roaldus Richmond
As a rule Vermonters are not enthusiastic about salads or fish, favorites with the sophisticated, although Vermont gardens and Vermont lakes and streams offer a wealth of possibilities for both dishes. Fancy foods and frothy things are not popular in the state, whose people go for plain, solid, substantial foodstuffs.