America’s Founding Food: a history of New England cuisine

by Keith Stavely and Kathleen Fitzgerald

From baked beans to apple cider, from clam chowder to pumpkin pie, Keith Stavely and Kathleen Fitzgerald’s culinary history reveals the complex and colorful origins of New England foods and cookery. Featuring hosts of stories and recipes derived from generations of New Englanders of diverse backgrounds, America’s Founding Food chronicles the region’s cuisine, from the English settlers’ first encounter with Indian corn in the early seventeenth century to the nostalgic marketing of New England dishes in the first half of the twentieth century.

Focusing on the traditional foods of the region–including beans, pumpkins, seafood, meats, baked goods, and beverages such as cider and rum–the authors show how New Englanders procured, preserved, and prepared their sustaining dishes. Placing the New England culinary experience in the broader context of British and American history and culture, Stavely and Fitzgerald demonstrate the importance of New England’s foods to the formation of American identity, while dispelling some of the myths arising from patriotic sentiment.

At once a sharp assessment and a savory recollection, America’s Founding Food sets out the rich story of the American dinner table and provides a new way to appreciate American history.

Keith Stavely and Kathleen Fitzgerald–New Englanders, librarians, independent scholars, and husband and wife–live in Jamestown, Rhode Island. Stavely is director of Fall River (Mass.) Public Library and has written several books on Puritanism in both old and New England. Fitzgerald is a librarian at Newport (R.I.) Public Library.
Fitzgerald is a librarian at Newport (R.I.) Public Library.

A 2005 Best of the Best from University Presses selection by a panel of public and academic librarians for the Association of American University Presses

University of North Carolina Press, 2015