How many of us still believe that the potato originated in Ireland? That the Mediterranean, and particularly Italy, is the ancestral hearth of the tomato and its tradition of savory sauces? That the fiery chile pepper is an ancient and enduring part of the cuisines of India and Southeast Asia? That the pineapple is as native to Hawaii as chocolate is to Vienna?
We believe such things for the good reason that these foods have become very heavily identified with certain cuisines and certain areas of the world. But before the fateful day in 1492, these foods, and many more, were not known and could not have been known to any but the inhabitants of the New World, for it was here that they originated and here that they were utilized exclusively. They include corn, tomatoes, potatoes, the capsicum peppers, many kinds of beans, squashes, and pumpkins, turkey, pineapple, chocolate and vanilla, peanuts and pecans. As European explorers returned, they took these new and exotic products with them to every corner of the Old World, and it was not long before New World foods were changed and adapted to fit into traditional cuisines, adding original and valuable dimensions, to the nutritional and gastronomic experience.
But that was only the beginning of the story, for these new foods, venturing forth to unknown lands, were transformed and refashioned along the way. Then they came back to their native shores, brought by the many immigrants who settled America, dressed up in new seasonings, prepared with a variety of new techniques, remodeled and reworked through the traditions of their adopted cuisines. And once they had returned to their original homeland, they were transformed yet again, to fit into the shifting patterns of an emergent American cuisine.
Imagine, Elisabeth Rozin asks, what Italian cooking would be without tomatoes, Irish food without potatoes, Indian curry without the fiery capsicum pepper or Hungarian fare without paprika, and French or Viennese cuisine without chocolate and vanilla? Yet it's been only five hundred years since these foods were found in the New World and brought back to the Old.
Each food has a story: how it was discovered, how it was greeted in its adopted countries then integrated into the Old World cuisine, how it returned here in dishes that immigrants brought with them, and how it has become a part of mainstream American cooking. And Elisabeth Rozin's 175 recipes -- interlaced with her intriguing sidebars -- tell the story. To wit:
Corn dishes: From Grits Milanese and Chinese Crab & Corn Soup to Blue Corn & Pepper Frittata and Maple-Corn Coffee Cake
Potato dishes: From Potato Chowder with Roasted Garlic and Deluxe Scalloped Potatoes to Potato Latkes and Sweet Potato Pone
Pepper dishes: From Island Pepper Pot and Southwest Lamb Chili to Chicken Paprika and Sweet Pepper Focaccia
Tomato dishes: From Gazpacho and Tomato Chutney to Creole Spaghetti Sauce and Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto
Bean and Squash dishes: From Curried Lima Chowder and West Indian Pumpkin Soup to Dill-Pickled Green Beans and Black Bean Quiche
Turkey dishes: From Turkey Gumbo and Mexican Turkey Mole to South African Turkey Bobotie and Cincinnati Hot Shots
Chocolate and Vanilla: From Chocolate Chili and Mississippi Mud Cake to Black & White Chocolate Roll and Vanilla Fruit Puree
Peanuts, Pecans, Maple, and Sunflowers: From Country Ham & Peanut Soup and Pecan Pie Squares to Maple Mustard Sauce and Sunflower Seed Cocktail Biscuits
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Elisabeth Rozin gives us an entertaining and informative look at the foods that we can truly call American, and she offers a wonderful, surprising cornucopia of recipes that demonstrate the role these foods play in American cooking today. Elisabeth Rozin grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and has a bachelor's degree from Hunter College and a master's degree from Brandeis University. Early travel and a love of eating led to her first work, The Flavor Principle 'Cookbook, which described the characteristic combinations of flavoring ingredients used by a variety of ethnic cuisines. Her second cookbook, Ethnic Cuisine, was an extension and elaboration of the work on ethnic flavoring traditions. She teaches and lectures widely on comparative and historic cuisine, contributes to both scholarly and popular journals, and is a consultant to the food and restaurant industry. Elisabeth Rozin lives in Havertown, Pennsylvania. She has four children and two well-fed dogs.From Kirkus Reviews:
Though polls continue to remind us that many Americans can't name their senators or date the Civil War, it's hard to imagine getting through 1992 without widespread awareness that Columbus and those who followed him across the ocean discovered corn, potatoes, squash, tomatoes, peppers, chilies, chocolate, many beans, and turkeys, among other foods. Raymond Sokolov's Why We Eat What We Eat (1991) traced the culinary fruit of that 1492 encounter in interesting and ingenious detail. Rozin's sometimes blurby accounts of each food's adoption is far less enlightening; but what she mainly offers are recipes, and what's ingenious here is the cross- cultural mix within the dishes--especially in the section on chocolate, which also gets the most informative introduction. Like Rozin's The Flavor Principle Cookbook (1973), this is a bit gimmicky in concept: She simply latches onto the theme of the Columbus quincentennial with no attempt at historical or cultural authenticity or consistency. But also like the earlier book, it's a decent collection with an appeal both homey and sophisticated, the recipes reasonably undemanding and making knowing--if free--use of Old World, New World, crossover, and familiar American traditions. (Sixty-five photographs--not seen.) -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description Knopf, 1992. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0394583086
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Book Description Knopf, 1992. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110394583086