Marie’s Reading: “Country Fare: Reminiscences & Recipes from a Maine Childhood” by Esther Wood

51qX5Ku8rDL.SR160,240_BG243,243,243This is a collection of essays all about a childhood in Maine, and the food that went with it, back at the turn of the 20th century.

Esther Wood was born in Blue Hill, Maine in 1905, and grew up at Friend’s Corner with lots of family nearby.  She wrote these pieces mostly in the 1950’s and 1960’s, looking back at her youth in rural Maine.

This is a charming, affectionate look at Wood’s family, centered around the cooking they did and the food they enjoyed.  It’s also quite instructive when it comes to the culinary and social history of Maine.  Wood was an historian and teacher herself, and she had an eye for fascinating historical detail.

Wood’s family comes alive in these anecdotes–her Aunt Fan, who always introduced something new and different to the holiday table; her grandfather, who loved strawberries and took her berrying in the summer; her mother and father, who often bickered (affectionately?) back and forth about everything from how to wash the stove to what to put in mincemeat.

If you enjoy memoirs about rural living, food, and Maine in particular, give Wood’s work a look!  You can access some of her newspaper articles online, like this one from the Lewiston Evening Journal in 1963: “‘After School’ Was Exciting, Happy Time.

–Marie

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