A Thousand Years Over a Hot Stove is a history of American women told through food, recipes and remembrances. I had actually never flipped through the book to see the layout and writing style before bringing it home to read. That is the only gamble when ordering with Amazon, really- sometimes there is the Click to See Inside feature which thrills me. But, I did not do that with this title and I wish I had.
In my mind I had built up a book that read as a diary. In which women left behind recipes and snippets of stories of how they endured the Civil War or the Great Depression with ration cards. I imagined "grocery lists" from different times. Lists of what the women going west would have considered essential to have to cook for their hungry men and children.
I wanted an easy read in a conversational tone that made history come alive.
There is a smattering of these things in this book. There are numerous photographs and historical prints. There are recipes and well researched facts.
However, I never found myself drawn into the world of these women whose stories are chronicled here. I wanted to, very much. I found myself skimming the book looking for snip-its that drew me in.
I did enjoy sections about the pioneer women and their long and difficult day on the journey westward. I wish there had been real diary entries here. I enjoyed portions about women during WWII and the Great Depression and how they helped turn the tide. There is a long quote by Eleanor Roosevelt that I loved.
Here is the last line of it: "And I hold it equally true that in this present crisis it is going to be the women who will tip the scales and bring us safely out of it."
A Thousand Years Over a Hot Stove is a well written book. I neither loved it nor disliked it. The book was not what I had in mind when I saw the title and added it to my annual book list. But I would recommend it to someone doing a report on the kitchen and its role in history.