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American food writer Betty Fussell joins Linda Pelaccio this week on "A Taste of the Past" for a conversation on culinary history, cultural identity and food literature. Betty is an award-winning writer and is the author of eleven books, ranging from biography to cookbooks, food history and memoir. Learn how she discovered food through travel and writing and became an "accidental" food historian. Listen as Betty describes the American cuisine she discovered throughout her life and elaborates on everything from corn fields to Mexican markets. Find out why Betty fell in love with New York City as she reads one of her literary passages live on-air! This program was sponsored by S. Wallace Edwards & Sons.

"The food of my family was absolutely terrible - the land of the bland! It was Midwestern bible belt food in California. The discovery of the drama of what food could be was enormous!" [07:08]

"Corn created settlements, it's the basis of our agriculture in the Western world. It's totally different from the plow culture of Europe." [12:15]

"I have two romances - one is the California landscape I grew up in, two is New York City. The wonder of New York City has never left me, it's the last of the great cities of the last two centuries." [21:20]

--Betty Fussell on A Taste of the Past


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This week on A Taste of the Past, Linda Pelaccio explores the roots of the Christmas celebration. She brings in guest Alice Ross, a distinguished culinary historian who recreated the recipes for a modern version of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Dinner". Alice brings us through history, explaining where countless Christmas food traditions come from. This program has been sponsored by Heritage Foods USA. Music provided by Pamela Royal.

Image from AliceRoss.com

"Even though we think of turkey as an American bird, it was brought over to Europe and propagated there." [20:15]

-- Alice Ross on A Taste of the Past


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This week A Taste of The Past investigates the rise in popularity and power of TV cooking shows. Host Linda Pelaccio looks into the origins that have resulted in today's obsession with food TV, with hundreds of shows on a multitude of dedicated food and cooking networks, they find the catalyst in the impossibly original and witty Julia Child. With the help of NYU Cinema Studies professor Dana Polan, who has written a book about the subject, discover how Julia transformed America's views of home cooking and made us enamored of French cuisine. From her refusal to use any product placement to harnessing the power of PBS, learn about this food icon and the food media empire she help give birth to. This episode is sponsored by Whole Foods Market.


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