*Disclaimer – Photo of Anthony Bourdain is from Google Images*
I was saddened to hear about the death of food writer Anthony Bourdain. I enjoyed watching his television show, Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. He traveled to places many didn’t go and he took his television viewers along on the trip. Bourdain visited with the locals and ate local food.
This is the same thing Clementine Paddleford did, except she never had a television show.
Both Bourdain and Paddleford traveled where they wanted to go, talked to whomever they wanted to talk to, and tasted the food they wanted to eat, then they shared the stories with viewers and readers.
Anthony Bourdain attended the Culinary Institute of American, became a chef, and a food writer. Clementine Paddleford had a degree in journalism. She never attended a culinary school, was never a chef, but she was a well-known food writer.
Sadly, Anthony Bourdain committed suicide and it was rumored that Clementine Paddleford tried, but failed. Let me say, there is no proof that Paddleford tried to commit suicide and family members said it was strictly a rumor.
What made Bourdain and Paddleford well-known?
They chronicled how people ate.
While I am pretty sure that someone is already thinking about or in the process of writing Anthony Bourdain’s biography, a biography of Clementine Paddleford has been written. It is titled Hometown Appetites: The Story of Clementine Paddleford, the Forgotten Food Writer Who Chronicled How America Ate (NY: Gotham), 2008.
Excerpt: From Chapter 2
“In the late summer of 1921, Warren G. Harding was in the White House, Allied forces occupied the Rhineland, the U. S. Congress had just passed a quota on immigration, and Adolf Hitler became head of the Nazi Party. On the heels of World War I, isolationism was in and multiculturalism wasn’t even on the horizon. For Clementine Paddleford, newly arrived in New York City and the proud renter of a room in a boarding house at 520 West 122nd Street, on Morningside Heights north of Columbia University, this meant facing one of Manhattan’s challenges and figuring out how to conquer it: the subway.
“There she was, in homemade outfits Jennie had lovingly stitched from patterns Paddleford had picked, summer-weight wool suits, blouses with big bows at the neck, a tote bag at her side loaded with pencils and pads, the picture of a career gal of the day, and a greenhorn at that. At her first act of independence in the city, Paddleford enrolled in graduate-level-journalism courses at New York University, despite her proximity to Columbia. These met three evenings a week and required a long subway trip.”
Both How America Eats and Hometown Appetites are filled with recipes. One of my favorite summer beverages is from these books: Plumade.
6 small black plums, washed, pitted, and quartered
9 cups water
1/4 cup sugar
2, 2-inch cinnamon sticks
1 lemon rind, grated
3 lemons, juiced
3 oranges, juiced
In a large stockpot over medium-low heat, stew plums in water until very soft and the liquid is a deep rose color, about 15 minutes. Strain juice, return to pot and add to it the sugar and cinnamon. Heat gently until sugar is dissolved, two to three minutes. Add grated lemon rind and cook three more minutes. Strain again. Stir in lemon and orange juice and serve in tall glasses with chipped ice.
Yields: 10 to 12 servings.