I read the introduction to Steven Gdula’s book and was quite intrigued. I got into the first chapter and lost my desire to read the book. It. was. boring. But I forged on and ended up enjoying this history of the American Kitchen very much.


Steven breaks down his chronology of the changes in the room we all take for granted by decades. Beginning in 1900 he takes us decade by decade through WWI, the years of the Great Depression, WWII, The Reagan Years, and into the last decade of the 20th Century.

While I have lived through 6 of the decades he described, I was so unaware of how diffferent NATIONAL events influenced the kitchen- three decades of deprivation because of two wars and a depression. A time when the American wife/mother/cook did everything she had to to put food on the table that was nourishing AND tasty. The sixties saw a back to the earth movement where fresh was everything. The eighties were again a time of deprivation for many. Now, out of choice, we are going back to some of those habits – growing gardens, canning foods, eating fresh. We thought they were new ideas in the nineties, but now we know, our grandmothers and moms were way ahead of us.


The Internet brought about a ‘new’ kind of recipe swapping. Our moms/grannys swapped recipes all the time – we just do it differently beginning in the 90s.

    “The proliferation of cooking and food-related Web sites made the contents of countless cookbooks readily available. Recipe-swapping among friends – and even strangers — was made quicker by e-mail, lending an added warmth to the exchange.”

Recipe swapping is now Blogging .

I have to tell you I ended up enjoying this book, 99% of it (some of the technical stuff was a little dry {interesting, but dry} like gene splicing explanations,etc.

If you get a chance, read this one. I won’t take the things I do in the kitchen for granted any more.

Please visit the other members of The Kitchen Reader and see their review of Gdula’s book.