Oliver goes ‘Beyond Baked Beans’

Jan 16, 2013
Sandy Oliver

Camden — As part of Camden Public Library’s Food History Month, author and historian Sandy Oliver will speak Tuesday, Jan. 29, at 7 p.m. at the downtown library. Her talk is titled Beyond Baked Beans: Early American Foodways.

From her 19th-century farmhouse home on Islesboro, prize-winning food historian, contemporary food essayist and freelance writer Oliver contributes frequently to magazines; travels widely as a nationally sought-after speaker, panelist and food expert; writes books, gardens organically, cooks and lives sustainably. Her column “Taste Buds” appears each weekend in the Bangor Daily News.

Since 1971, when she developed a fireplace cooking program in an 1830s house for Mystic Seaport Museum, Oliver has established her niche as a recognized authority on American food history and the world of home cooks, particularly as they relate to an understanding of New England home cooking and its impact on American life. Down East Books recently released “Maine Home Cooking,” her fifth cookbook, a collection of recipes and anecdotes emanating from the close relationships she has developed over seven years with the readers of her weekly newspaper column.

Winner of a Julia Child Cookbook Award and the Jane Grigson Award for Distinguished Scholarship, Oliver has authored four other books: “Saltwater Foodways: New Englanders and Their Foods at Sea and Ashore in the 19th Century”; “Saltwater Foodways Companion Cookbook”; “Food in Colonial and Federal America”; and “Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving History and Recipes,” co-authored with Kathleen Curtin of Plimoth Plantation.

Oliver has contributed to the “Oxford Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink,” “The Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink” and many other regional and American encyclopedias and compendia. She is the founding editor of Food History News, a quarterly newsletter she published for 20 years. Her insightful and perceptive intelligence, charismatic sense of humor and personal connection with her interests and her audiences have seen Oliver speaking to culinary historians, symposiasts at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, the National Museum of American History, the Smithsonian, Wilson Library at the University Of North Carolina and at the Gastronomy Program at Boston University’s Metropolitan College.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115 or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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