Eating Up Route 66: Foodways on America’s Mother Road
U.S. History / Cookbook by T. Lindsay Baker
The University of Oklahoma Press, October 2022
From its designation in 1926 to the rise of the interstates nearly sixty years later, Route 66 was, in John Steinbeck’s words, America’s Mother Road, carrying countless travelers the 2,400 miles between Chicago and Los Angeles. Whoever they were—adventurous motorists or Dustbowl migrants, troops on military transports or passengers on buses, vacationing families or a new breed of tourists—these travelers had to eat. The story of where they stopped and what they found, and of how these roadside offerings changed over time, reveals twentieth-century America on the move, transforming the nation’s cuisine, culture, and landscape along the way. 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. T. Lindsay Baker, who holds the W. K. Gordon Chair in Industrial History at Tarleton State University, Stephenville, Texas, is Director of the W. K. Gordon Center for Industrial History, Thurber, Texas, and editor of the Windmiller’s Gazette.