Featuring a new chapter on ten restaurants changing America today, a “fascinating . . . sweep through centuries of food culture” (Washington Post). Combining an historian’s rigor with a food enthusiast’s palate, Paul Freedman’s seminal and highly entertaining Ten Restaurants That Changed America reveals how the history of our restaurants reflects nothing less than the history of America itself. Whether charting the rise of our love affair with Chinese food through San Francisco’s fabled Mandarin; evoking the poignant nostalgia of Howard Johnson’s, the beloved roadside chain that foreshadowed the pandemic of McDonald’s; or chronicling the convivial lunchtime crowd at Schrafft’s, the first dining establishment to cater to women’s tastes, Freedman uses each restaurant to reveal a wider story of race and class, immigration and assimilation. “As much about the contradictions and contrasts in this country as it is about its places to eat” (The New Yorker), Ten Restaurants That Changed America is a “must-read” (Eater) that proves “essential for anyone who cares about where they go to dinner” (Wall Street Journal Magazine).
Combining an historian's rigor with a food enthusiast's palate, Paul Freedman's seminal and highly entertaining Ten Restaurants That Changed America reveals how the history of our restaurants reflects nothing less than the history of America itself. Whether charting the rise of our love affair with Chinese food through San Francisco's fabled Mandarin; evoking the poignant nostalgia of Howard Johnson's, the beloved roadside chain that foreshadowed the pandemic of McDonald's; or chronicling the convivial lunchtime crowd at Schrafft's, the first dining establishment to cater to women's tastes, Freedman uses each restaurant to reveal a wider story of race and class, immigration and assimilation. "As much about the contradictions and contrasts in this country as it is about its places to eat" (The New Yorker), Ten Restaurants That Changed America is a "must-read" (Eater) that proves "essential for anyone who cares about where they go to dinner" (Wall Street Journal Magazine).
This richly illustrated book applies the discoveries of the new generation of food historians to the pleasures of dining and the culinary accomplishments of diverse civilizations, past and present. Freedman gathers essays by French, German, Belgian, American, and British historians to present a comprehensive, chronological history of taste.
With an ambitious sweep over two hundred years, Paul Freedman’s lavishly illustrated history shows that there actually is an American cuisine. 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. As the industrial revolution produced rapid changes in every sphere of life, the American palate dramatically shifted from local to processed. A new urban class clamored for convenient, modern meals and the freshness of regional cuisine disappeared, replaced by packaged and standardized products—such as canned peas, baloney, sliced white bread, and jarred baby food. By the early twentieth century, the era of homogenized American food was in full swing. Bolstered by nutrition “experts,” marketing consultants, and advertising executives, food companies convinced consumers that industrial food tasted fine and, more importantly, was convenient and nutritious. No group was more susceptible to the blandishments of advertisers than women, who were made feel that their husbands might stray if not satisfied with the meals provided at home. On the other hand, men wanted women to be svelte, sporty companions, not kitchen drudges. The solution companies offered was time-saving recipes using modern processed helpers. Men supposedly liked hearty food, while women were portrayed as fond of fussy, “dainty,” colorful, but tasteless dishes—tuna salad sandwiches, multicolored Jell-O, or artificial crab toppings. The 1970s saw the zenith of processed-food hegemony, but also the beginning of a food revolution in California. What became known as New American cuisine rejected the blandness of standardized food in favor of the actual taste and pleasure that seasonal, locally grown products provided. The result was a farm-to-table trend that continues to dominate. “A book to be savored” (Stephen Aron), American Cuisine is also a repository of anecdotes that will delight food lovers: how dry cereal was created by William Kellogg for people with digestive and low-energy problems; that chicken Parmesan, the beloved Italian favorite, is actually an American invention; and that Florida Key lime pie goes back only to the 1940s and was based on a recipe developed by Borden’s condensed milk. More emphatically, Freedman shows that American cuisine would be nowhere without the constant influx of immigrants, who have popularized everything from tacos to sushi rolls. “Impeccably researched, intellectually satisfying, and hugely readable” (Simon Majumdar), American Cuisine is a landmark work that sheds astonishing light on a history most of us thought we never had.
The remarkable story of a restaurant on top of the world—built by a legend, destroyed in tragedy—and an era in New York City it helped to frame In the 1970s, New York City was plagued by crime, filth, and an ineffective government. The city was falling apart, and even the newly constructed World Trade Center threatened to be a fiasco. But in April 1976, a quarter-mile up on the 107th floor of the North Tower, a new restaurant called Windows on the World opened its doors—a glittering sign that New York wasn’t done just yet. In The Most Spectacular Restaurant in the World, journalist Tom Roston tells the complete history of this incredible restaurant, from its stunning $14-million opening to 9/11 and its tragic end. There are stories of the people behind it, such as Joe Baum, the celebrated restaurateur, who was said to be the only man who could outspend an unlimited budget; the well-tipped waiters; and the cavalcade of famous guests, as well as everyday people celebrating the key moments in their lives. Roston also charts the changes in American food, from baroque and theatrical to locally sourced and organic. Built on nearly 150 original interviews, The Most Spectacular Restaurant in the World is the story of New York City’s restaurant culture and the quintessential American drive to succeed.
A global history of restaurants beyond white tablecloths and maître d’s, Dining Out presents restaurants both as businesses and as venues for a range of human experiences. From banquets in twelfth-century China to the medicinal roots of French restaurants, the origins of restaurants are not singular—nor is the history this book tells. Katie Rawson and Elliott Shore highlight stories across time and place, including how chifa restaurants emerged from the migration of Chinese workers and their marriage to Peruvian businesswomen in nineteenth-century Peru; how Alexander Soyer transformed kitchen chemistry by popularizing the gas stove, pre-dating the pyrotechnics of molecular gastronomy by a century; and how Harvey Girls dispelled the ill repute of waiting tables, making rich lives for themselves across the American West. From restaurant architecture to technological developments, staffing and organization, tipping and waiting table, ethnic cuisines, and slow and fast foods, this delectably illustrated and profoundly informed and entertaining history takes us from the world’s first restaurants in Kaifeng, China, to the latest high-end dining experiences.
Explores the evolution of gourmet restaurant style in recent decades, which has led to an increasing informality in restaurant design, and examines what these changes say about current attitudes toward taste.
This unique culinary history of America offers a fascinating look at our past and uses long-forgotten recipes to explain how eight flavors changed how we eat. Eight Flavors introduces the explorers, merchants, botanists, farmers, writers, and chefs whose choices came to define the American palate. Lohman takes you on a journey through the past to tell us something about our present, and our future. We meet John Crowninshield a New England merchant who traveled to Sumatra in the 1790s in search of black pepper. And Edmond Albius, a twelve-year-old slave who lived on an island off the coast of Madagascar, who discovered the technique still used to pollinate vanilla orchids today. Weaving together original research, historical recipes, gorgeous illustrations and Lohman's own adventures both in the kitchen and in the field, Eight Flavors is a delicious treat--ready to be devoured.--Adapted from book jacket.
"Inspiring"—Danny Meyer, CEO, Union Square Hospitality Group; Founder, Shake Shack; and author, Setting the Table James Beard Award-winning food journalist Kevin Alexander traces an exhilarating golden age in American dining Over the past decade, Kevin Alexander saw American dining turned on its head. Starting in 2006, the food world underwent a transformation as the established gatekeepers of American culinary creativity in New York City and the Bay Area were forced to contend with Portland, Oregon. Its new, no-holds-barred, casual fine-dining style became a template for other cities, and a culinary revolution swept across America. Traditional ramen shops opened in Oklahoma City. Craft cocktail speakeasies appeared in Boise. Poke bowls sprung up in Omaha. Entire neighborhoods, like Williamsburg in Brooklyn, and cities like Austin, were suddenly unrecognizable to long-term residents, their names becoming shorthand for the so-called hipster movement. At the same time, new media companies such as Eater and Serious Eats launched to chronicle and cater to this developing scene, transforming nascent star chefs into proper celebrities. Emerging culinary television hosts like Anthony Bourdain inspired a generation to use food as the lens for different cultures. It seemed, for a moment, like a glorious belle epoque of eating and drinking in America. And then it was over. To tell this story, Alexander journeys through the travails and triumphs of a number of key chefs, bartenders, and activists, as well as restaurants and neighborhoods whose fortunes were made during this veritable gold rush--including Gabriel Rucker, an originator of the 2006 Portland restaurant scene; Tom Colicchio of Gramercy Tavern and Top Chef fame; as well as hugely influential figures, such as André Prince Jeffries of Prince's Hot Chicken Shack in Nashville; and Carolina barbecue pitmaster Rodney Scott. He writes with rare energy, telling a distinctly American story, at once timeless and cutting-edge, about unbridled creativity and ravenous ambition. To "burn the ice" means to melt down whatever remains in a kitchen's ice machine at the end of the night. Or, at the bar, to melt the ice if someone has broken a glass in the well. It is both an end and a beginning. It is the firsthand story of a revolution in how Americans eat and drink.
In this authoritative and immensely readable insider’s account, celebrated cookbook author and former chef Joyce Goldstein traces the development of California cuisine from its formative years in the 1970s to 2000, when farm-to-table, foraging, and fusion cooking had become part of the national vocabulary. Interviews with almost two hundred chefs, purveyors, artisans, winemakers, and food writers bring to life an approach to cooking grounded in passion, bold innovation, and a dedication to "flavor first." Goldstein explains how the counterculture movement in the West gave rise to a restaurant culture characterized by open kitchens, women in leadership positions, and a surprising number of chefs and artisanal food producers who lacked formal training. The new cuisine challenged the conventional kitchen hierarchy and French dominance in fine dining, leading to a more egalitarian and informal food scene. In weaving Goldstein’s views on California food culture with profiles of those who played a part in its development—from Alice Waters to Bill Niman to Wolfgang Puck—Inside the California Food Revolution demonstrates that, while fresh produce and locally sourced ingredients are iconic in California, what transforms these elements into a unique cuisine is a distinctly Western culture of openness, creativity, and collaboration. Engagingly written and full of captivating anecdotes, this book shows how the inspirations that emerged in California went on to transform the experience of eating throughout the United States and the world.