Wondering what exactly constitutes Appalachian food? Curious about what people were eating for dessert in the 1950s? (Answer: zabaglione.) Find out about nearly every American food topic you can fathom, from airplane food to Zombie cocktails, simply by consulting your handy Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, now in its second edition. The editor of this hefty tome, food historian Andrew Smith, gave us the highlights.
Here’s the encyclopedia by the numbers:
The number of entries, listed alphabetically, that can be found within the pages of the encyclopedia. This is up from 839 entries in the original edition, first published in 2004.
The total number of pages.
The weight, in pounds, of the three hardbound volumes.
Close to 300
Contributors, including food historians, other academics and culinary experts, required to write all the entries in the encyclopedia.
More than 180
Ethnic cuisines counted in New York City.
The year Dolly the sheep was cloned. “I liked the cloned food entry,” says Smith. “I thought that it was groundbreaking. The person who wrote the entry just completed her dissertation on cloned food. It turns out the beef we are eating today could have been cloned. I never knew that.”
Number of breweries operating in the United States in 1863.
Number of boxes of Nestlé Milk Food, a popular substitute for mother’s milk, sold in 1873.
Percentage of the shrimp consumed in the world that was farmed, according to the entry on aquaculture. Bluefin tuna is now ranched in places like Japan and imported into the United States.
Number of Americans who get sick each year from eating unsafe food. Of those, 325,000 are hospitalized and 5,000 die.
The year Pepsi was invented, less than a decade after Coca-Cola, sparking a flare-up in the cola wars.
Number of Cubans living in America. That’s a lot of sofrito.
The increase in the number of cities, people and edibles covered. The newly released second edition features sections devoted to more cities like Pittsburgh, Denver, Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco. “Our goal was to say American food isn’t just national, it’s local,” says Smith. “We also added a lot of biographies, including people who are still alive, which is something we didn’t do before. So, 50% of the book is new.”
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