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It's All American Food


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About the Author

David Rosengarten is a food writer, cookbook author, cooking teacher, wine writer, travel writer and television journalist.


Rosengarten (Taste; The Dean & DeLuca Cookbook) turns his attention to everyday American cooking, including the humblest dishes, i.e., "what Americans really like to eat, which isn't often celebrated." He divides his book into three main sections: "Ethnic America," "Regional America," and "Classic America." Rosengarten decries "the denigration of adapted ethnic foods," and many of the recipes in Part 1 are Americanized rather than truly authentic: Brooklyn-Italian Meat Sauce, for example, or Crowded Paella, a sort of kitchen-sink version. The regions featured in Part 2 are something of a mix of locales and styles, from New England to Pennsylvania Dutch to Dixie. And "Classic America" includes recipes for what Rosengarten calls "core American food," dishes enjoyed across the country, not just in ethnic neighborhoods or individual regions. The author's task was a rather daunting one, and certain ethnic cuisines are sadly underrepresented here-just five recipes for Jewish food and only three dishes from Scandinavia. Nevertheless, this is a fascinating guide to the diverse cuisines that make up American food. For most collections. [Good Cook Book Club main selection.] Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Rosengarten may have begun his career in gourmet fashion on the Food Network, but here he revels in the recidivist pleasures of "American" food: everything from All-Purpose Bright Red Tomato Sauce to Chinese-Restaurant Spareribs and Philly Cheesesteak. This titanic homage to our nation's wildly varied culinary roots values comfort over refinement, but fortunately comforts are in plentiful supply. Rosengarten can find something to love even in an unreconstructed Shrimp Egg Foo Yung, and harkens back fondly to the 1950s, that much-maligned golden era when immigrant cooking found its way to the American palate. Flavor comes first here-garlic by the half cup; the ringing phrase: "2 pounds lard." There are deep-fry favorites (Calamari, Falafel, Scrapple), long-cooked ones (Boston Baked Beans, Flanken) and classics like Shrimp Cocktail, The Ultimate BLT and, of course, Apple Pie. Every major hyphenated-American cuisine-Italian, Chinese, Thai, Indian, Mexican-has a place, as well as several less-established ones (e.g., Argentinean, Russian). Because of his respect for all traditions, no matter how strangely altered or distanced from their roots, Rosengarten manages to avoid snobbery-both traditional and reverse-altogether. His slightly goofy prose ("Call me Ishmael, but I'm convinced that the great informing influence of New England cuisine is the sea") is a perfect match for this gut-rumbling, mouth-watering, heartfelt tribute. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

""Rosengarten's exuberance is infectious, his research thorough, and his knowledge endless. This book pays homage to our country's peculiar and deliciously diverse culinary treasures in new and encyclopedic style. If there is one book that deserves a spot on my top shelf and bedside table this year, it is this masterful tome."

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