For centuries, skeptical foreigners―and even millions of Americans―have believed there was no such thing as American cuisine. In recent decades, hamburgers, hot dogs, and pizza have been thought to define the nation’s palate. Not so, says food historian Paul Freedman, who demonstrates that there is an exuberant and diverse, if not always coherent, American cuisine that reflects the history of the nation itself.
Combining historical rigor and culinary passion, Freedman underscores three recurrent themes―regionality, standardization, and variety―that shape a completely novel history of the United States.
From the colonial period until after the Civil War, there was a patchwork of regional cooking styles that produced local standouts, such as gumbo from southern Louisiana, or clam chowder from New England. Later, this kind of regional identity was manipulated for historical effect, as in Southern cookbooks that mythologized gracious “plantation hospitality,” rendering invisible the African Americans who originated much of the region’s food.
- 85 color photographs
- 528 pages
- 7.3 x 1.3 x 9.5 inches
- by Paul Freedman