• In the News: Milk Supply Commentary
  • In the News: Milk Supply Commentary

    The Northeast is taking another look at milk supply management. The options are limited, but they are options nonetheless. Will this effort find the first steps in a new path forward? 

    Read more


Mark Kurlansky's "The Food of a Younger Land"

The Eating Habits of Americans (from the 1930s WPA chronicles)

Photos from the Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division.

Written on

December 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.

Leave a comment

You are commenting as guest. Optional login below.

What we do

Our stories, interviews, and essays reveal how Vermont residents are building their local food systems, how farmers are faring in a time of great opportunity and challenge, and how Vermont’s agricultural landscape ties into larger questions of sustainability and the future of our food supply. 

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Sign up here to receive monthly Local Banquet news in your inbox.