One of the fun things about being a food historian is that it brings you into contact with other people who share your passion. I realize that is probably true of any serious pursuit–birds of a feather, as they say–but I have been delighted with the many acquaintances and friends I’ve made as I study and search for the foundations of what we eat today.
One of those friends is Sandra Oliver. I first connected with her via the magazine she edited and published for many years: Food History News. What an awesome effort that was–one of the only magazines where I’ve kept every issue and even bought back issues published before I first subscribed. Since then, I’ve met her at food history conferences and kept up a correspondence online. She is a remarkable resource, because she has dug deeper into her specialty than anyone else I know.
Besides the newsletter, consulting work, columns in several magazines and papers, and teaching cooking, Sandra also writes books. I have a couple of her works, and they are gems. Her enthusiasm for her topics is matched by the thoroughness of her research. So when I learned that she had a new book coming out, I figured it was worth letting the world know.
If you are an enthusiast for tradition, New England, American regional cooking, culinary history, Maine, good food, or any combination of those, then Maine Home Cooking is probably a book that probably belongs on your book shelf. Hundreds of recipes cover a range from from classic tried-and-true dishes to new uses for traditional ingredients. It is a cookbook that you can actually use, written for the home cook.
And because I mentioned other books and food history, I should probably offer those titles as well, in case you’re interested. Sandra’s other books include Saltwater Foodways: New Englanders and Their Foods at Sea and Ashore in the 19th Century, The Food of Colonial and Federal America, and Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving History and Recipes from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie, which she co-authored with Kathleen Curtin.