Eating Up Route 66
Foodways on America’s Mother Road
Published by: University of Oklahoma Press
Imprint: University of Oklahoma Press
432 Pages | 7 x 10 | 50 b&w illus., 1 map
Author T. Lindsay Baker, a glutton for authenticity, drove the historic route—or at least the 85 percent that remains intact—in a four-cylinder 1930 Ford station wagon. Sparing us the dust and bumps, he takes us for a spin along Route 66, stopping to sample the fare at diners, supper clubs, and roadside stands and to describe how such venues came and went—even offering kitchen-tested recipes from historic eateries en route. Start-ups that became such American fast-food icons as McDonald’s, Dairy Queen, Steak ’n Shake, and Taco Bell feature alongside mom-and-pop diners with flocks of chickens out back and sit-down restaurants with heirloom menus. Food-and-drink establishments from speakeasies to drive-ins share the right-of-way with other attractions, accommodations, and challenges, from the Whoopee Auto Coaster in Lyons, Illinois, to the piles of “chat” (mining waste) in the Tri-State District of Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma, to the perils of driving old automobiles over the Jericho Gap in the Texas Panhandle or Sitgreaves Pass in western Arizona. Describing options for the wealthy and the not-so-well-heeled, from hotel dining rooms to ice cream stands, Baker also notes the particular travails African Americans faced at every turn, traveling Route 66 across the decades of segregation, legal and illegal.
So grab your hat and your wallet (you’ll probably need cash) and come along for an enlightening trip down America’s memory lane—a westward tour through the nation’s heartland and history, with all the trimmings, via Route 66.
“Drawing upon his admirable skills as a researcher and a raconteur, T. Lindsay Baker has fashioned a thoughtful and engaging examination of the culinary character of America’s celebrated Route 66.”—Peter Blodgett, author of Motoring West, Volume 1: Automobile Pioneers, 1900–1909
“The best parts of any road trip are the memories the traveler brings home. With Eating Up Route 66, author T. Lindsay Baker offers Route 66 fans a chance to savor recipes from the Mother Road and experience (or re-experience) the flavor and texture of the road itself—from the topography and climate as it winds through the southwestern and midwestern United States to the often-eccentric people who spent their lives and earned their livings at the highway’s edge.”—Susan Croce Kelly, author of Route 66: The Highway and Its People and Father of Route 66: The Story of Cy Avery
“T. Lindsay Baker takes readers on a unique trip down America’s favorite highway with a focus on one of the best ways to experience it—through the food. This is a must-read for American history lovers and foodies alike.”—Matt Pinnell, Seventeenth Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma