Storytelling in The Taxidermist’s Daughter

Connie Gifford finds herself among storytellers. Her suitor, Mr. Woolston, asks her questions about her father and a mysterious figure, Cassie, in a critical scene.
Connie says of her father, “He was a wonderful teacher. Although I called him a taxidermist, he himself would use the old terminology. A stuffer of birds is how he would introduce himself. He thought ‘taxidermist’ was too fancy…it took away from what he was doing…[t]elling stories.”

Mr. Woolston identifies with this, since he, too, is an artist and storyteller.

Harry tells Connie, “When I’m working on a portrait, I’m always thinking about everything that made my sitter the person they are, not just what’s visible on the canvas.”

“That’s it,” Connie replied. “It’s the sense that if the bird–jackdaw, magpie, rook…could talk, it would tell you its life story.”

That’s exactly why Connie Gifford desperately needs to know her own story, one that is clouded over with “vanished days.”

Defining American Food in ‘The Saturday Evening Post All-American Cookbook’

Emily Contois

What is American food and what is American food culture? What is American food and what is American food culture?

If you ever want to strike up a passionate food debate, just toss out the the question, “What is American food?” While you’ll hear the unenlightened decree with disdain that the United States has no food culture, the answer is far more nuanced.

Like jazz and blues music, some argue that barbecue is a unique American cultural food product, one that loudly communicates a multiethnic history and both local and regional identity. Others will insist that the food traditions of New England form the culinary roots of American cuisine.[1] Others will point to McDonalds and other fast food joints known for selling burgers and fries as quintessentially American in taste, presentation, and capitalistic expansionism.[2] Still others will argue that the continually simmering melting pot[3] of American citizens ensures that all food served within U.S. borders in…

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