William Woys Weaver

William Woys Weaver

Food historian, author, gardener, epicure

https://williamwoysweaver.com/
WILLIAM WOYS WEAVER is an internationally known food historian and author of eighteen books including A Quaker Woman’s Cookbook (1982, new edition 2004)—a study of a 19th century domestic book by Elizabeth Ellicott Lea, America Eats (Harper & Row 1989), and The Christmas Cook (Harper-Collins 1990), a 300-year history of the American Christmas. Weaver has been featured on such national programs as “Good Morning America” (with Julia Child) and NPR’s “Fresh Air,” and has appeared in many special food documentaries, including “Terrapin,” which won an Emmy in 1993, and more recently, “Open Sesame: The Story of Seeds.” Dr. Weaver has been the subject of special articles in Americana, Food and Wine, Food Arts, The Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, Country Living, and Garden Design. He has served as Visiting Professor of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences of the University of Pennsylvania, as well as a consultant for a wide variety of culinary projects, from 17th century foodways at Pennsbury Manor, to guest curator for “The Larder Invaded: Three Centuries of Philadelphia Cuisine” (1986-1987) and “America Eats” (1989) at the Museum of American Folk Art in New York. He is also founding President of the Historic Foodways Society of the Delaware Valley and served as Associate Editor and Art Editor of The Encyclopedia of Food and Culture (Charles Scribners 2003). This encyclopedia received the Dartmouth Medal from the American Library Association, the highest award in the reference book industry. Pennsylvania Dutch Country Cooking (Abbeville Press 1993) received the Jane Grigson Award (an IACP Cookbook Award) and was also nominated for a James Beard Award. Weaver’s American edition of Food and Drink in Medieval Poland (University of Pennsylvania Press 1999 – originally published in Poland) was funded in part by a grant from the IACP Foundation. His highly acclaimed garden book, Heirloom Vegetable Gardening (Henry Holt 1997, Paperback 1999) was chosen as a main selection for the Rodale/Organic Gardening book club as well as a main selection for the Garden Book Club. It received a Julia Child Cookbook Award (for food reference) as well as the Jane Grigson Award for scholarly excellence. This acknowledged classic has been republished in 2018 with new photos and new material by Sojourn Books of Minneapolis, a division of Quarto, a British publishing house. William Weaver did all of the new photography for this edition. His most recent title The Roughwood Book of Pickling (Rizzoli International) was published in September 2019. Weaver’s other books include Sauer’s Herbal Cures (Routledge 2001), America’s first herbal (1762-1777), and 100 Vegetables and Where They Came From (Algonquin Press 2000, now in Paperback as Print on Demand). Country Scrapple: An American Tradition (Stackpole Books 2003) forms a trilogy with new revised editions of A Quaker Woman’s Cookbook and Sauerkraut Yankees. The Royal Garden of Pefkou (Moufflon Publications, 2006 Nicosia, Cyprus) initiated Dr. Weaver’s long-standing research on the foods of medieval Cyprus. This was followed in 2010 by Culinary Ephemera: An Illustrated History (University of California Press), which won an IACP Cookbook Award for Culinary History. More recently the University of Pennsylvania Press published As American As Shoofly Pie (2013, Paperback 2018), an analysis of Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine followed by Dutch Treats (St. Lynn’s Press, Pittsburgh 2016), a collection of rare festive baking recipes from the 25-county “Dutch Country” of Pennsylvania. Weaver also did the photography for this book. Weaver was the 1996 Scholar in Residence for the national IACP conference in Philadelphia, where he has also been involved for many years with “Book and the Cook.” He lives in the 1805 Lamb Tavern, a National Register property in Devon, Pennsylvania. On the grounds of the tavern, Weaver maintains a jardin potager in the style of the 1830s featuring over 5,000 varieties of heirloom vegetables, flowers, and herbs. He is an organic gardener, a life member of Seed Savers Exchange and a member of Arche Noah in Schiltern, Austria. For 8 years Dr. Weaver served as a Contributing Editor to Gourmet and is now a Contributing Editor to Mother Earth News and The Heirloom Gardener. From 2002 to 2010, he lectured as Adjunct Professor of Food Studies at Drexel University and is presently lecturing on regional American cuisine in connection with a non-profit academic research institute organized under the name The Roughwood Table (www.roughwoodtable.org). Dr. Weaver is also a board member the Experimental Farm Network, a grass-roots organization devoted to alternative methods of seed production. Weaver received his doctorate in food ethnography at University College Dublin, Ireland, the first doctorate awarded by the University in that field of study.

Most popular

William's favorite cookbooks

Indian Pickles and Chutneys

Indian Pickles and Chutneys

Most honest and authentic collections of regional recipes available in English. I am eternally turning to these recipes for inspiration because the flavors are real.

El Sabor de Colombia

El Sabor de Colombia

Beautifully illustrated ingredient-by-ingredient guide to the classic cuisine of Colombia. A model cookbook for treating cuisines in other cultures, but also a “deep immersion” experience in a major South American cuisine.

La Cuisine de France

La Cuisine de France

Written by an elegant old lady with large hat, gloves, and powdered face who autographed my copy of her book at a New York book signing and predicted I would “cook well.” She was my teenage goddess. I read her food columns (in French) in Realités. She made me realize I possessed a gift and for that reason, I owe her a bouquet of roses when we meet in Paradise. Merci Mapie!! I use your recipes all the time, or reinvent them my own way.

The Four Seasons Cookbook

The Four Seasons Cookbook

As Patrick Kuh pointed out in The Last Days of Haute Cuisine, the Four Seasons launched a revolution in American cuisine which turned the direction of our national cookery away from France with a new focus on an American style of cooking. That revolution is still playing out today, so this cookbook must assume its place as a turning point, at least in terms of American culinary history.

Coming to ckbk soon
Acetaria

Acetaria

One of the most unusual cookbooks written in the seventeenth century, it has stood the test of time and has given inspiration to both gardeners and cooks, especially with the rise of vegetarianism. It is a literary bijou to which I turn for recipes and fresh ideas every time I start a new book. The late Jane Grigson was also an admirer of Evelyn and we often traded notes and insights inspired by this book.

Coming to ckbk soon
Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management

Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management

By Isabella Beeton

Any edition of Mrs. Beeton will do because her book became a metaphor for the cuisine of the British Empire and was perhaps the first truly international cookbook in the English-speaking world. I do not cook from Mrs. Beeton yet I am eternally amazed by the way in which her book grew by accretion into an imperial guide for a way of life now forgotten. She is iconic for the food of the Victorian Era.

Available on ckbk now
Le Guide Culinaire

Le Guide Culinaire

By Auguste Escoffier

While his sun has set, in his heyday Escoffier became a guiding light in the expression of haute cuisine as practiced on an international scale. He canonized traditional French cookery thus his influence is undeniable, yet it was also his highly structuralized and fussy mode of cooking that spawned a reaction first with Nouvelle Cuisine and now with farm-to-table, “natural” cuisine, and a new search for authenticity. I do not cook from Escoffier, but I have a first edition (in English) of his cookbook just in case I want to look up the old French way of making a dish. Otherwise his food is too much smothered in sauces.

Apicius

Apicius

I cite here the edited Latin edition by Mary Ella Milham mostly because it is the original text thus avoiding the controversies of other edited or translated editions. While the cookery book attributed to Apicius is in fact a compilation of several hands from several periods with no one particular author responsible for the total work, this is the most important cookbook surviving from Antiquity and thus it remains a source of study for insights into the cuisine of the ancient Greeks and Romans. It had a profound influence on the Renaissance and remains one of the great culinary classics of world culture.

Ma Gastronomie

Ma Gastronomie

By Fernand Point

Any of Point’s works would belong here. For me he is an inspiration not only as a great chef, but also as a philosophical cook with unique flair and intellect. He represents a branch of culinary literature where cuisine as art and food as thought meld into one overarching philosophy. I think the world hungers for more writing like his.