2014's Interesting Reads - Part 2

Good morning, all. We hope you had a great night, and would like to welcome you to 2015 - a fresh new year! We've got a few resolutions and a few goals to achieve in the next 365 days. Some of our favourite reads of the year inspired us to make these promises of change and growth.

First off, we'll try to empathize with those who are less fortunate than us and be thankful for what we do have in our lives instead of complaining about what is missing. Food restrictions and hunger influenced many lives throughout history. Janet Poppendieck's Breadlines Knee-Deep in Wheat: Food Assistance in the Great Depression, Revises and Expanded offers a look at food assistance measures in the New Deal. In How the Other Half Ate, Katherine Leonard Turner explores everyday issues concerning food and eating among the working-class and the working poor at the turn of the century.

Secondly, we'll try to appreciate the places and the moments we're allowed to gather and truly feel like we belong to something bigger whether it's in cafés like those in Toni Risson's "From Oysters to Olives at the Olympia Café: Greek Migrants and Australian Foodways" Gastronomica (2014); around the family table, like the ones in Simone Cinotto's The Italian-American Table: Food, Family, and Community in New York City; or by sharing a pint with friends on a cold, cold night.

We'll continue to search for, as William Blake so brilliantly put it, "a world in a grain of sand" ...or in an olive. Or in a can of baby food. Or in a slice of pumpkin pie.

*See also this online interview with Amy Bentley on the rise of canned baby food

And when we get overwhelmed by the grandeur of the world, we'll temporarily escape by getting lost in a great book. Some writers in 2014 even tried to get better acquainted with some characters by looking at what they ate. See Meg Dod's Cookery Book and Pork Chops with Redgill's Sauce with Port, on lostpastremembered.blogspot.ca and Anne Fortin's Ainsi cuisinaient les belles-soeurs dans l'oeuvre de Michel Tremblay. (Quebec: Flammarion, 2014).

Looking to be more productive this year? You could try to emulate the great authors of our time by adopting their snacking habits (... or not).

Some of us will do our best to seize the day! Maybe we could even look to the sea for some adventure - eat like pirate, or drink from a shipwreck's long lost treasures?

Most of all, we'll all try to remember to take life one step at a time; by one decade; or one bite.

Happy New Year from everyone at The Historical Cooking Project! Bonne année à tous!