United Tastes of America

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9780345419811: United Tastes of America

America's status as the cultural melting pot of the world is nowhere more apparent than at the dining room table. As we eat more exotically, the desire for a deeper appreciation of the rich traditions behind these cuisines is growing along with our appetites. And no one is better qualified to guide us on an American culinary odyssey than renowned chef and food anthropologist Dorinda Hafner.

Devoting her life to collecting recipes from around the world--and revealing the rich stories behind them--Dorinda now focuses her passion for food onto our great American landscape. In her upcoming PBS series United Tastes of America, viewers can witness Dorinda at work, roaming the colorful culinary sites of the United States. In this delightful volume that is equal parts cookbook and cultural anecdote, she presents her delicious findings culled from the unique patchwork of American cuisine.

Journey with Dorinda to a festive Cajun celebration and learn the culinary secret behind exotic Alligator Piquante. Discover the succulence of One Pot Pork, inspired by the African American slaves. Visit the teeming streets of San Francisco's Chinatown and take home your very own recipe for savory Potstickers. Spend a day in a Jewish granny's cozy kitchen as she bakes a heavenly Maple Syrup Chiffon Cake. Do all of this and more without ever leaving the pages of this delightful book--for Dorinda leaves no food untasted, no story untold.

Filled with authentic, scrumptious recipes, United Tastes of America brings all the flavors of the country to every kitchen--and enriches each meal with age-old tales of origin and tradition.

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Review:

United Tastes of America supports Dorinda Hafner's television series about eight ethnic groups in the U.S. and their food. She lives in Australia. The chapters in this book, each of which correspond to one episode of Hafner's show, provide much useful information: we learn about the history, culture, and food of Native Americans living in the northern United States; Cajuns living in Louisiana; and Italian, Chinese, and Jewish Americans, among others.

Be aware that this portrait of the melting pot is peppered with oversimplifications and inaccuracies. "America's taste for sweet pastries, cakes and puddings" does not stem solely from German and Dutch influences, for example. Nor was Italian food "a huge success ... since the first Italian stepped onto American soil." In fact, it was mostly viewed with suspicion and disapproval until after World War II. To say that "Jewish food is not truly Jewish unless it is kosher" is also false. And "a sentimental attachment to home cooking, and to those dishes cooked by the immigrant mother" is hardly exclusive to Jewish people. However, recipes are representative of what each ethnic group cooks, although a few ingredients are atypical, such as basil in Potato Kugel, a savory pudding, or creamed corn in Chinese Corn Soup. Ingredients such as castor sugar and corn flour may stump U.S. cooks but are familiar to many others, as are the metric measures accompanying U.S. ingredient quantities.

From the Publisher:

Dorinda is without a doubt the most interesting, exuberant, larger-than-life author I've ever had the pleasure to work with. After going over our edits with her for two hours, she gave me the most incredible hug and got tears in her eyes when she had to leave. She has a soul of pure gold. I think this really comes through in her television series and her book--she is magic with people, and has such a deep appreciation for the cultural roots of food. And the recipes are delicious, particularly the crawfish boil--what a great idea for a summer party.
A. Scheibe

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Hafner, Dorinda.
Published by Ballantine Books, NY (1998)
ISBN 10: 0345419812 ISBN 13: 9780345419811
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Book Description Ballantine Books, NY, 1998. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. First American Edition.. 137 pages. Hardcover with dustjacket. New Copy. COOKBOOKS. A collection of recipes that delves into the cultural origins of your favorite dishes. In a delightful volume that is equal parts cookbook and cultural anecdote, the author presents her delicious findings culled from a unique patchwork of American cuisine. Includes an Index. (Key Words: Cookbooks, Recipes, American Cuisine, Food, Americana, Seafood, Fish, Corn, Dorinda Hafner). book. Bookseller Inventory # 39986X1

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Book Description Ballantine Books, 1998. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 1st American ed. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0345419812

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