Time Travel Through the Gilded Age of Food

Gilded Age

Recipes from The Gilded Age Cookbook featured in Healthy Aging Magazine. (Clockwise from left to right) Waldorf Salad, Cream Puffs, Simply Scallops. Photo: Heather Raub of Frontroom Images

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If you love food and time travel, Becky Libourel Diamond’s The Gilded Age Cookbook, Recipes and Stories From America’s Golden Era is not to be missed. We especially love the recipes like Waldorf Salad, Cream Puffs and Simply Scallops.

When Was The Gilded Age?

The Gilded Age in America took place roughly between 1868 and 1900. The term “Gilded Age” was coined by Mark Twain, who wrote a satirical book named The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today. Although the book satirized the greed and opulence of the era and was not one of his most famous books, the descriptive “Gilded Age” defining the times lives on in perpetuity.

The Gilded Age Cookbook, Recipes and Stories From America’s Golden Erais a beautifully photographed and researched cookbook. According to Diamond, her book “reconstructs this era of lavish banquet tables set with snowy white linen tablecloths, delicate china, and sparkly crystal glasses… details are melded with historic menus, and recipes updated for contemporary kitchens …”

Diamond, a food writer, librarian, and research historian who has been writing about food since 2008, painstakingly shares significant food and historical moments of the period.

She transports you through the highlights of this privileged time, from simple gastronomic inventions like the rotary eggbeater patented in 1856, lavish banquet events hosted by the likes of the Astors and Vandebilts, luxurious rail travel in dining cars introduced by George Pullman, summer entertaining in Newport, Rhode Island and Saratoga Springs, New York and beach resorts like Long Branch and Cape May, New Jersey.

“The style and excessiveness of this period,” Diamond said, “continue to be a source of wonder and fascination for us today.”

Diamond artfully weaves the historic recipes updated for modern cooks with stories of famous people, events, and happenings of the day, such as the 1893 World’s Fair, cooking classes, oyster roasts and clambakes, social clubs, balls, holiday fare, and more.

To continue reading this article, click here: Time Travel Through the Gilded Age

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