Beard on Food: The Best Recipes and Kitchen Wisdom from the Dean of American Cooking

Bloomsbury Publishing USA
2
Free sample

In Beard on Food, one of America's great culinary thinkers and teachers collects his best essays, ranging from the perfect hamburger to the pleasures of oxtails, from salad dressing to Sauce Diable. The result is not just a compendium of fabulous recipes and delicious bites of writing. It's a philosophy of food-unfussy, wide-ranging, erudite, and propelled by Beard's exuberance and sense of fun.
In a series of short, charming essays, with recipes printed in a contrasting color (as they were in the beloved original edition), Beard follows his many enthusiasms, demonstrating how to make everyday foods into delicious meals. Covering meats, vegetables, fish, herbs, and kitchen tools, Beard on Food is both an invaluable reference for cooks and a delightful read for armchair enthusiasts.
(For more information, visit the James Beard Foundation at www.jamesbeard.org.)
Praise for James Beard:

"In matters of the palate James Beard is absolutely to be trusted...He is always on target."-Chicago Tribune

"James Beard has done more than anybody else to popularize good food in America."-New York Times

"Beard was an innovator, an experimenter, a missionary in bringing the gospel of good cooking to the home table."-Craig Claiborne

"Too much of James Beard can never be enough for me."-Gael Greene
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About the author

Often referred to as the dean of American cookery, James Beard authored dozens of books on cooking and food before his death in 1985. Today, his Greenwich Village town house is home to the James Beard Foundation, the country's preeminent performance space and center for the culinary arts.

Mark Bittman is a food columnist for the New York Times and the author of the bestselling cookbooks How to Cook Anything and The Best Recipes in the World.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Bloomsbury Publishing USA
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Published on
Dec 10, 2008
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Pages
352
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ISBN
9781596917156
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Culinary
Cooking / Essays & Narratives
Cooking / General
Cooking / Methods / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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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.

This facsimile of the first American-written cookbook published in the United States is not only a first in cookbook literature, but a historic document. It reveals the rich variety of food Colonial Americans enjoyed, their tastes, cooking and eating habits, even their colorful language.
Author Amelia Simmons worked as a domestic in Colonial America and gathered her cookery expertise from firsthand experience. Her book points out the best ways of judging the quality of meats, poultry, fish, vegetables, etc., and presents the best methods of preparing and cooking them. In choosing fish, poultry, and other meats, the author wisely advises, "their smell denotes their goodness." Her sound suggestions for choosing the freshest and most tender onions, potatoes, parsnips, carrots, asparagus, lettuce, cabbage, beans, and other vegetables are as timely today as they were nearly 200 years ago.
Here are the first uniquely American recipes using corn meal — Indian pudding, "Johnny cake," and Indian slapjacks — as well as the first recipes for pumpkin pudding, winter squash pudding, and for brewing spruce beer. The words "cookie" and "slaw" made their first published appearance in this book. You'll also find the first recommended use of pearlash (the forerunner of baking powder) to lighten dough, as well as recommendations for seasoning stuffing and roasting beef, mutton, veal, and lamb — even how to dress a turtle.
Along with authentic recipes for colonial favorites, a Glossary includes definitions of antiquated cooking terms: pannikin, wallop, frumenty, emptins, and more. And Mary Tolford Wilson's informative Introductory Essay provides the culinary historical background needed to appreciate this important book fully.
Anyone who uses and collects cookbooks will want to have The First American Cookbook. Cultural historians, Americana buffs, and gourmets will find this rare edition filled with interesting recipes and rich in early American flavor.

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