Sunday, December 20, 2009
I’m not rejecting this book out of hand; as the curate said of the egg, parts of it are excellent. Unfortunately the author is a journalist and not a scholar, and a pretty superficial writer to boot. Throughout the book she repeats all of the conventional wisdoms on traditional women’s roles without exploring the history on which said conventional wisdoms are based. Prepare to be annoyed by frequent sweeping generalizations and woolly thinking.
At the beginning of the book Schenone gets a bit too Earth-Mother-Corn-Goddess for me, although I recognize there are those who like that sort of thing (and if you don’t like that sort of thing, skip most of the Introduction). In fairness to the writer, the book is lively and wide-ranging, with interesting recipes and some intriguing bits of American food-folklore…but… this information is tainted (at least for me) by the many, many errors I found.
This is my chief problem with the book. Could her publishers not afford the services of a competent copy editor who might have (among other things), pointed out to Schenone that the word pilgrim is commonly used to refer to 15th century emigrants to New England rather than Virginia, and Martha Stewart is a media icon and not a scion?
When I see silly mistakes like these it makes me wonder what else she got wrong.