Tuesday, December 21

Kitchen Literacy

There is no aspect of our lives with which food does not intersect, and it rare to find a work that can weave those many divergent threads into a single cohesive and articulate piece; Ms. Vileisis masterfully does exactly that.

Her work is both vindicating and challenging; though readers will already be aware how much less current generations about food and the culinary arts than our predecessors, few realize how far back in our nation's history that knowledge started to erode or the full spectrum of instigative causes. The detailed research and moving insight applied to succeeding generations of Americans as they struggled with progress, change and the growing integration of technology and psychology in their food systems were fascinating to explore.

The author presents an admirably balanced view of history, condemning and belittling neither industry nor consumers as their roles in producing, procuring and preparing food shifted and adapted over time. Most appreciatively, Ms. Vileisis filled her work with incidents, trends and characters rarely addressed, bringing fresh content to the table and offering unique ideas to enrich the discussion of our nation's foodways - past, present and future.

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