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Lately we've been doing some research into the identity of "Mrs. Bliss of Boston," author of A Practical Cook Book (1850). We hope to share more about her and other neglected New England culinary writers in a future book. For now, let us recommend one of her many superb recipes, Ginger Nuts. These are great little molasses cookies with a gingery bite. You can find them and other easy-to-make historical recipes on our blog!  



Keith Stavely and Kathleen Fitzgerald’s three books on New England and American food history have been widely acclaimed. Their latest, United Tastes: The Making of the First American Cookbook (University of Massachusetts Press, 2017), has been recognized as a key work of culinary and regional history.

“one of the best researched . . . works written about any American culinary topic”
--Andrew F. Smith
--Editor-in-Chief, Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America


“one of the best books about Connecticut history in a generation”
--Walter W. Woodward, Connecticut State Historian
"detailed and fascinating"
"an original contribution to the literature on postrevolutionary culture and society"
--Journal of American History 
"Stavely and Fitzgerald have found so many connections, have thought to ask so many of the right questions, have managed to see so much and have packed so much scholarship into this book with so light a touch"
--Petits Propos Culinaire
"readers will find themselves eagerly positing which cookbooks they want to give the United Tastes treatment to"
--New England Quarterly
"for both seasoned food historians and those unaccustomed to thinking of how politics might inform what comes onto a dinner plate, United Tastes is a refreshing and illuminating read"
--Connecticut History Review
Beyond these laudatory reviews, United Tastes is the winner of the BRUCE FRASER AWARD for 2017, from the Association for the Study of Connecticut History (ASCH).
"United Tastes is lively and erudite in equal measure, and a
particularly valuable contribution to the literature of Connecticut history"
--award citation, Connecticut History Review

An earlier book by Stavely and Fitzgerald, Northern Hospitality: Cooking by the Book in New England (University of Massachusetts Press, 2011), was called

“an excellent and original attempt to go deep into the detail of New England’s cooking heritage”
--Times Literary Supplement


“[an] unexpected gem in the ocean of works on food”
--Library Journal


“nothing less than a meditation on the evolving New England mind through the prism of its foodways”
--British Food in America

Stavely and Fitzgerald made their debut with America’s Founding Food: The Story of New England Cooking (University of North Carolina Press, 2004). This was praised as

“[a] careful, scholarly account [that] emphasizes social change and its influence on gastronomy”
--Times Literary Supplement

Another reviewer commented that

“to read this book as a sort of dictionary of New England foods is a joyful experience”

America’s Founding Food has been deemed a “classic tome” (Choice) and was awarded a 2005 Best of the Best from University Presses selection by the American Association of University Presses.

Stavely and Fitzgerald have also contributed to the Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery and The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets.

They have written for and been interviewed by many media outlets, including the Chicago Tribune, the Boston Globe, the Providence Journal, the Baltimore Sun, Slate, and Yankee Magazine. The have spoken at Plimoth Plantation, the Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island historical societies, and a great many local historical societies, libraries, museums, and interest groups throughout the Northeast.

They live in Jamestown, Rhode Island.