Twain’s Feast: Searching for America’s Lost Foods in the Footsteps of Samuel Clemens
by Andrew Beahrs
In the winter of 1879, Mark Twain paused during a tour of Europe to compose a fantasy menu of the American dishes he missed the most. He was desperately sick of European hotel cooking, and his menu, made up of some eighty regional specialties, was a true love letter to American food: Lake Trout, from Tahoe. Hot biscuits, Southern style. Black-bass, from the Mississippi. Food writer Andrew Beahrs weaving together passages from Twain’s famous works and Beahrs’s own adventures to take us on a journey into America’s past, to a time when foods taken fresh from grasslands, woods, and waters were at the heart of American cooking. In Twain’s Feast, he reminds us what we’ve lost as these wild foods have disappeared from our tables, and what we stand to gain from their return.