New Books On Food: “American Cuisine” By Paul Freedman – 200 Years Of “Regionalism And Variety”

From a Yale News online review:

American Cuisine Paul FreedmanOne way to understand American cuisine is through its regions — and the regional traditions that underlie the history of American cuisine. New England, the South, and New Orleans Creole are the regional cuisines of America. Examples of New England cuisine are “Yankee Pot Roast,” the lobster roll, and clam chowder. Southern favorites include grits, collard greens, okra, fried tomatoes, and sweet potato pie. Louisiana’s signature creole dishes are jambalaya, gumbo, and étouffée.

The compensation for that standardization — or at least what the food companies and the food and restaurant industry have offered — is variety. In my opinion, variety is what the food companies offer you in lieu of quality. At least in certain aspects, quality is impossible in an industrial food system.

In his new book, “American Cuisine: And How It Got This Way,” Yale historian Paul Freedman gives readers a window into understanding American history through cuisine spanning more than 200 years, debunking the myth that American cuisine does not, in fact, exist.

Freedman, the Chester D. Tripp Professor of History, approaches his study of American cuisine not by identifying a list of specific national or regional dishes, but rather by looking at the interactions among regionalism, standardization, and variety.

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