By Ben Bowers
on 11.1.10

Cookbooks may not be the first thing you’re looking to whip out your wallet for, but having few around is certainly something we’d recommend. Especially if you hope to pull off a home-cooked meal at some point to prove your not completely worthless. Luckily, New York Times food columnist Amanda Hesser has put together a modern-day compendium of the evolution of American Cuisine. Curious to understand what Tomato soup tasted liked back in 1877? Find the recipe inside. Soup not your thing? Then how does Eisenhower’s steak in the fire sound? Yeah, we knew that’d get your attention. Filled with 1,400 recipes — most with their original NYT publication date and cooking notes to boot — it’s bound to be an excellent source of inspiration should cooking duty call.

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