History of American Cooking

by Merril D. Smith

Print Flyer
Abortion in the United States

January 2013


Pages 188
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics American History/Culture

Ideal for American history and food history students as well as general readers, this book spans 500 years of cooking in what is now the United States, supplying recipes and covering the "how" and "why" of eating.

This book examines the history and practice of cooking in what is now the United States from approximately the 15th century to the present day, covering everything from the hot-stone cooking techniques of the Nootka people of the Pacific Northwest to the influence of Crisco—a shortening product intended as a substitute for lard—upon American cooking in the 20th century. Learning how American cooking has evolved throughout the centuries provides valuable insights into life in the past and offers hints to our future.

The author describes cooking methods used throughout American history, spotlighting why particular methods were used and how they were used to produce particular dishes. The historical presentation of information will be particularly useful to high school students studying U.S. history and learning about how wartime and new technology affects life across society. General readers will enjoy learning about the topics mentioned above, as well as the in-depth discussions of such dishes as fried chicken, donuts, and Thanksgiving turkey. Numerous sample recipes are also included.


  • Provides a timeline of significant people and events in the history of American cooking
  • Contains approximately 35 authentic recipes from 19th and early 20th-century cookbooks
  • Presents an accessible introduction to the origins of American cooking, foodways, and technology
  • Includes many pop-culture references to American cooking in movies, television shows, music, and literature
Author Info

Merril D. Smith, PhD, is an independent scholar in National Park, NJ. She is the author or editor of several published works, including ABC-CLIO's Encyclopedia of Rape, Women's Roles in Seventeenth-Century America, and Women's Roles in Eighteenth-Century America. Smith holds a doctorate from Temple University.



"Caution: don’t read this book when hungry. . . . Recommended for high school students and adults, this would be an appropriate book for school or public libraries looking to fill a collection gap in this area. Suitable for circulating collections."

" A well-researched addition to school and academic libraries supporting humanities curricula."
—Library Journal

"This is a fascinating book that not only covers the different forms and types of cooking but is also a good history book. . . . The book is full of information, has a bibliography, an extensive index, and is a fun read. At this price it is a good buy for any public library or as a gift for a cook who likes history."—ARBA

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