The Lost Southern Chefs: A History of Commercial Dining in the Nineteenth-Century South

The Lost Southern Chefs fills in important gaps in the history of Southern food by telling for the first time the full story of commercial dining in the 19-century South. The book punctures long-accepted notions that dining outside the home was universally poor, arguing that what we would today call “fine dining” flourished throughout the region as its towns and cities grew. It describes the economic forces and technological advances that revolutionized public dining, reshaped commercial pantries, and gave southerners who loved to eat a wealth of restaurants, hotel dining rooms, oyster houses, confectionery stores, and saloons. Most important, the book tells the forgotten stories of the people who drove this culinary revolution, men and women who fully embodied the title “chef” and ended up being all but erased from history.

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