Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Double Cheeseburgers, Quiche, and Vegetarian Burritos: American Cooking from the

Double Cheeseburgers, Quiche, and Vegetarian Burritos: American Cooking from the

Loretta Frances Ichord
Illustrator:  Jan Davey Ellis 
For ages 9 to 12
Lerner, 2007   ISBN: 0822559692

Without a doubt “the most dramatic changes in the way Americans cook and eat occurred in the twentieth century.” The last hundred years or so have seen so many changes in cuisine and eating habits, and this book tells the story of these changes.

The author begins by looking at American cooking and eating from 1920 to 1959. In the 1920’s, many urban homes had electric and gas lines, and home cooks were able to use modern appliances such as gas or electric stoves, fridges, toasters, and other gadgets. Housewives could buy sliced bread and boxed cereals. They could also keep a supply of frozen vegetables in their freezer. Thanks to these innovations and with Fannie Farmer’s new cookbook in hand, women were able to rustle up meals quickly during the Roaring Twenties, instead of having to spend hours in the kitchen every day.

Then the bottom dropped out of the stock market on October 29, 1929. Suddenly, people had to learn how to make their food supplies go further and they became more creative when it came to finding food to put on the table.

The hardships of the Great Depression eased up in the late 1930’s only to be followed by wartime rationing which lasted from 1941 to 1945. With their men away at war, women not only had to cook, plant victory gardens, and can homegrown foods. They also had to work in offices and factories.

The make-do cooking of the 30’s and 40’s was followed by a diverse progression of food movements. Thanks to increased prosperity, Americans began to explore new culinary avenues that would shape how and what people ate to the present day.

This well written and carefully researched book tells the story of American food and cooking in an engaging way, using humor and interesting facts and figures to capture the interest of young readers. Throughout the book there are period recipes to try that will help young cooks get a sense of what it was like to eat foods that were popular in the past.

This is one in a series of books about the history of American food and cooking.