The association of good food and fairs is traditional in America, its roots going back to the very beginnings of the country to the first live stock fairs held in agricultural communities. At these gatherings of the farming and village gentry there was a seemly display of American food on the hoof, in the raw so to speak. Fine hogs, little lambs that went baa-a, handsome cattle, proud and dignified, chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys, prize pumpkins, rosy apples, superb cabbages — shown, to be sure, not so much as prospective edibles to the admiring throng gath ered around them, but as examples of what the well-stocked farm should have as starters. Progenitors of a nation’s food supply were these displays. Incidentally some of the best things ever eaten by man were carried to these fairs in the basket lunches of the farm wives and vil lagers of the day.
From crossroads fairs we progressed to county and state fairs, and now in 1939 comes the greatest fair the land has ever known — an inter national exhibition representative of every industry and art in our broad continent and reflecting at the same time the arts and industries of nearly every country of the rest of the world.
Now since the character of our fairs has been expanded so widely there, nevertheless, is still an occasion for food to be discussed in rela tion to such an event. I doubt if there will be many basket lunches carried to the New York World’s Fair of 1939. Certainly there will be no need for such burdens, no matter how savory the contents, be cause to feed the hungry thousands who will attend there are distin guished restaurants set up, staffed and operated by foreign exhibitors, with their native dishes superbly cooked by native chefs. And of course, in addition, there will be many American restaurants on the grounds of the New York fair, not to mention the several thousands of tearooms, restaurants, hotel dining rooms and cafes of Manhattan which always function and which will be especially on their toes to appeal to the vis itors of the fair. Basket luncheons indeed!
Just the same, this occasion calls to mind those old-time baskets over flowing with the delicious simples of our early kitchens. And to those good housewives of bygone days whose arts of the kitchen were the forerunners of our modern cookery, I present my gratitude. No attempt has been made in this collection to present a uniform cook book in the pattern of the standard volumes usually prepared. This is a selection of recipes from the six geographical sections of the United States ; count less delicious dishes had to be omitted from each section, for one reason or another, but it is hoped that the most typical and characteristic dishes of each are included. Or if they are so similar to famous dishes of another state, as is often the case, then to avoid repetition they are omitted and other local favorites stressed.
Here is American cookery from coast to coast, and here, too, are some of the dishes you will eat when you visit the World of Tomorrow as it is depicted by the imagination and engineering and skill of those who planned the New York World’s Fair of 1939.
March 1, 1939.
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