Want to know more about food history, or the Great Depression in general? Check out some of the resources below, including digitized cookbooks, YouTube channels, and interactive food timelines. Just click on titles to go to the source.
Great Depression Food History:
Books about food during the Great Depression:
Kurlansky, Mark. The Food of a Younger Land. Riverhead Books: New York, 2009: We talk about regional differences in food today, but these differences were even more distinct during the Great Depression. In The Food of a Younger Land, Kurlansky writes about the Works Progress Administration’s “America Eats” program, which sent writers across the country to record regional differences in food.
Wood, Kyle Elizabeth. Tillie Lewis: The Tomato Queen. CreateSpace: 2016: Ever see a can of San Marzano tomatoes in the store? You have Tillie Lewis to thank. A fascinating biography of one of the first female presidents of an agricultural company.
Ziegelman, Jane and Coe, Andrew. A Square Meal: A Culinary History of the Great Depression. Harper: New York, 2016: What’s the best kind of food charities can provide for the needy? Ziegelman and Coe’s Square Meal is a comprehensive look at food during the Great Depression written for a popular audience with an emphasis on private and public charities and their food choices.
Other media about food during the Great Depression:
What America Ate: Want to take a deep dive into Depression era food media? This website includes an extensive archive of ads, recipes, photos and other sources.
Great Depression Cooking: If you want to hear cooking tips from someone who lived through the Great Depression, check out this YouTube channel. Now defunct, it used to be hosted by Clara Cannucciari. Cannucciari cooks recipes from her childhood during the Great Depression.
Hard Times: Recipes from Times of Food Scarcity: Want to watch a video where someone cooks a slugburger? Series of cooking videos on Emmy Cho’s YouTube channel that look a “recipes from times of food scarcity” including the Great Depression.
General Great Depression History:
Pictures and documents from the Great Depression:
Library of Congress Primary Sources and Education Guide
National Archives Primary Sources and Education Guide
Books about the Great Depression:
Dickstein, Morris. Dancing in the Dark: A Cultural History of the Great Depression. W. W. Norton & Co.: New York, 2009: Morris looks at books, movies, music, and more from the Great Depression and explains how they sometimes served as distractions from hardship and at other times illuminated the struggles of the Depression.
McElvaine, Robert. The Great Depression: America, 1929-1941. Times Books, New York. 1993: A solid historical account of the Great Depression in America based on letters written by people living through the crisis.
American History Tellers Podcast: A historical podcast about America. This links to their episode about the Great Depression.
General Food History:
Historic recipes and digitized cookbooks:
Archive.org Cookbook Collection
Library of Congress Community Cookbook Collection
Michigan State University Cookbook Collection
University of Wisconsin-Madison Cookbook Collection
Books about food history:
Bobrow-Strain, Aaron. White Bread: A History of The Store-Bought Loaf. Beacon Press: Boston, 2012: Did you know fortified white bread was once considered healthier than whole wheat? This book talks about both the science and the social forces behind the rise and fall of white bread.
Horowitz, Roger. Putting Meat on The American Table: Taste, Technology, and Transformation. John Hopkins University Press: Baltimore, 2006: Horowitz’s book focuses on the business and technology that helped make meat the cornerstone of the American diet.
Kurlansky, Mark. Birdseye: The Adventures of a Curious Man. Anchor: New York, 2012: In Birdseye, Kurlansky looks into the life of the inventor of flash-freezing technology.
Levenstein, Harvey. Paradox of Plenty: A Social History of Eating in America. Oxford University Press: New York, 1993: A comprehensive history of food in modern America, including a look at how starvation can coexist with abundant resources.
Levenstein, Harvey. Revolution at The Table: The Transformation of The American Diet. University of California Press: Oakland, 2003: Wonder when fad diets got popular in America? Levenstein looks at turn-of-the-century factors that made dieting a major trend in America.
Lohman, Sarah. Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine. Simon & Schuster: New York, 2016: Lohman looks at how American cuisine was impacted by eight major ingredients from vanilla to soy sauce. Each chapter includes historic recipes featuring these flavors.
Marx de Salcedo, Anastacia. Combat-Ready Kitchen: How the U.S. Military Shapes the Way You Eat. Current: New York, 2015: Did you know powdered cheese was invented in a military lab? Check out this book to find out more about the connection between the military and processed food research.
O’Connell, Libby. The American Plate: A Culinary History in 100 Bites. Sourcebooks: Naperville, 2014. Great book for a quick read. Each “bite” of food history is only a couple of pages long.
Shapiro, Laura. Perfection Salad: Women and Cooking at The Turn of the Century. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux: New York, 1986. Why did gelatin become so popular in the 20th century? This book talks about the science and social factors behind all the Jello salads in old cookbooks.
Valenze, Deborah. Milk: A Local and Global History. Yale University: New Haven, 2011: If you’ve ever wondered about the history of milk, check out this popular history.
Gastro Obscura: This website (part of Atlas Obscura media) features articles about unusual food all over the world.
The Sifter: This website is a great starting place for people interested in food research.
The Food Timeline: This website documents the origins of foods and ingredients in an interactive timeline format.
Yale Library Research Guide: A tool for food researchers. Aimed at a university student audience.
Journal of Global Food History: For a scholarly audience, this is one of several contemporary academic journals discussing food history.
Townsends: A YouTube channel all about 18th century cooking.
The Victorian Way: A series of videos on Heritage UK’s YouTube channel about Victorian era cooking.