Do this three times a day: Read and eat about it

Published 9:07 am Tuesday, January 15, 2013

“The Food of a Younger Land,” by Mark Kurlansky.

A portrait of American food – before the national highway system, before chain restaurants and before frozen food, when the nation’s food was seasonal, regional and traditional – from the lost WPA files.  In the throes of the Great Depression, a make-work initiative for authors called “America Eats” was created to chronicle the eating habits, traditions and struggles of Americans. “The Food of a Younger Land” unearths this forgotten literary and historical treasure of the Works Progress Administration and brings it to exuberant life.  Featuring authentic recipes, anecdotes and photographs, this book evokes a bygone era when Americans had never heard of fast food, and the grocery superstore was unimaginable.  From New York automats to Georgia Coca-Cola parties, from Arkansas possum-eating clubs to Puget Sound salmon feasts, from Choctaw funerals to South Carolina barbecues, the WPA writers found Americans in their regional niches eating an enormous diversity of meals.  From Mississippi chitlins to Indiana persimmon puddings, Maine lobsters to Montana beaver tails, they recorded the curiosities, commonalities and communities of American food.

“Farm Fresh North Carolina,” by Diane Daniel.

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The go-to guide to great farmers’ markets, farm stands, farms, apple orchards, u-picks, kids’ activities, lodging, dining, choose-and-cut Christmas Trees, vineyards and wineries and more.  It also features fresh local ingredients.  The first statewide guidebook of its kind, Farm Fresh North Carolina takes food lovers, families, locals and travelers on a lively tour of more than 425 farms and farm-related attractions including six in Polk County.  All are open to the public and personally vetted by travel writer Diane Daniel.  Locate the perfect places to choose and cut a Christmas tree, pick a peck of apples, take an autumn hay ride, taste wine from locally harvested grapes, spend the night on a working farm, and much more.