During the Great Depression, the Federal Writer’s Project assigned many unemployed writers (unemployment being a chronic condition among writers no matter the economic climate is, trust me) to collect information for a work that was to be called “America Eats”.
Pearl Harbor halted work on the project, but Pat Willard found the materials and fashioned them into America Eats!: On the Road with the WPA – the Fish Fries, Box Supper Socials, and Chitlin’ Feasts That Define Real American Food (2008).
This chronicle of America’s regional cuisine focused on events–church suppers, harvest festivals, state fairs, political rallies, lodge suppers–where food was a primary element.
Eudora Welty threw in a julep recipe, and Ralph Ellison chronicled the chant of the Harlem “sweet pertater man.” Recipes for such staples as pickles, breads, stews, and barbecue abound.
This baste is from Pinky Langley, a white man from Jackson. He instructs readers to mix the ingredients, cook for 30 minutes, and to turn and baste the meat frequently.
3 lemons sliced
1 pint vinegar
3 heaping tablespoons sugar
1 heaping tablespoon prepared mustard
3/4 pound melted oleo (margarine)
1 small bottle tomato catsup
1 small bottle Lea & Perrins Sauce
3 chopped onions
enough water to make 3/4 gallons
salt, black and red pepper to taste