In his latest book, Holiday Jubilee, Charles Phoenix, the Ambassador of Americana, celebrates the holidays in all of their mid-century glory, arguing that the “holidays are so retro!” And, you know what? I think he’s right! While holidays have been around for thousands of years, it was in the mid-20th century that they came into their own and became, as Phoenix puts it, “pillars of pop-consumerism culture.” I mean, think about it, from cutesy Valentines handed out in class to Peeps to Christmas lights, all of which were ushered in during the mid-20th century.
Part history book, part recipe book, Holiday Jubilee is a delightful source of inspiration and learning! I learned a lot about the variety of holiday staples, such as Paas for dying Easter eggs, Ben Cooper costumes, Hallmark cards, and more!
Phoenix devotes a chapter to New Years, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Independence Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Within each he features slides from his extensive Kodachrome slide collection and images of artifacts from the holidays, each an icon of their respective holiday. The images are accompanied by quick bits of history on the various staples of the holidays, and info on the characters within the slides, and every so often Phoenix shares a personal antidote here and there. Since there are so many fun pictures, it makes Holiday Jubilee a quick, but absolutely delightful read.
Combined with the history and photos are several themed recipes from Phoenix’s “Test Kitchen.” Over the years Phoenix has been inspired by the photographs from his collection and brand staples from the grocery store, and has worked to create outrageous and hilarious edible works of art. With his colorful language and dishes, he encourages you to give his recipes a whirl yourself, and to even put your own spin on them because it’s all about fun and whimsey.
Holiday Jubilee is the perfect book to have out for any holiday, and makes for the perfect gift too! You can purchase Holiday Jubilee on Phoenix’s website or attend one of his many events and purchase it there.
Disclaimer: I was not approached by the author or publishers to do a review Holiday Jubilee. I wrote this review of my own accord.