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American Flavor Hardcover – October 18, 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco (October 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061963291
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061963292
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 1.3 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #740,526 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Andrew Carmellini, two-time James Beard Award winner, acclaimed author of Urban Italian, and executive chef–owner of the hit New York City restaurants Locanda Verde and The Dutch, takes readers on a wonderfully rich and diverse tour through the ingredients and cuisines that constitute American flavor

For most of his life, Andrew Carmellini has been hitting the road, tasting the best of American flavors. Whether on childhood trips escaping from the hard-bitten winters of Ohio to sunny Florida and its fresh citrus fruit, cross-country trips in pursuit of the Great American Breakfast, or five-meal-a-day swings through barbecue country, he absorbed everything he could about regional cooking, American-style, at every stop.

In American Flavor, Carmellini shares the lessons of his culinary life on the road in recipes and stories that get at the soul of how we eat today. Using the traditional regional foodways and the multicultural neighborhoods, global eateries, and ethnic groceries that dot the American landscape as his inspiration, he introduces delectable, enticing dishes that deliver maximum impact yet are surprisingly simple to make. In the book, you’ll find cheese pierogies inspired by the Polish church ladies of Carmellini’s native Cleveland right next to his take on savory-sweet barbecued beef short ribs from L.A.’s Korea Town; seriously smoky southwestern mole alongside savory lamb stew that takes its flavors from Astoria, the historically Greek neighborhood in Queens, New York. Every recipe reflects Carmellini’s laid-back style, midwestern roots, big-city palate, and dedication to great ingredients and serious flavor.

Along with the recipes are true-life tales of Carmellini’s crazy culinary travels across America, into Canada, and even to Europe. Whether he’s hunting ramps with the locals during an extern summer at a Virginia mountain resort or sampling some of the surprising off-menu specials at a hippie café in Vancouver, British Columbia, these hilarious, engaging stories tell the tale of the education of an American chef inside the kitchen—and out.

Entertaining and inspiring, American Flavor is a book that readers will turn to again and again, not only for special occasions and everyday meals, but also as a portrait of real American food in the twenty-first century: sophisticated but down-to-earth, rustic but refined, and always deeply flavored and delicious.

About the Author

Andrew Carmellini is the chef and co-owner of Locanda Verde and The Dutch restaurants in New York City, and the author of Urban Italian, named a Best Book of the Year by Publishers Weekly. He has won two James Beard awards and was named as Best New Chef by Food & Wine in 2000. He lives in New York City with his wife, the writer Gwen Hyman.

Gwen Hyman is the coauthor of Urban Italian, and the author of Making a Man: Gentlemanly Appetites in the Nineteenth-Century British Novel. She has written about food, restaurants, and chefdom for Gastronomica, the Robb Report, Food & Wine, and other publications. She teaches about literature, culture, and food at the Cooper Union, where she directs the Center for Writing. She lives in New York City with her husband, the chef Andrew Carmellini.

Customer Reviews

I bought copies to give as Christmas gifts to friends who like to cook.
Amazon customer
While a well done cook book overall, this book suffers from a lack of nutritional information.
Kevin Tipple
The recipes I've tried to date turned out perfectly -- and were greatly enjoyed by all.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By guysgottaeat on April 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I bought American Flavor pretty much sight unseen. I'd read a couple of reviews online all lauding Andrew Carmellini's follow up to Urban Italian, which I own and like. With the online accolades rolling in, previous established cookbook history and of course Chef Carmellini's chef pedigree, this one seemed like a no brainer. Was it?

If you also have Urban Italian, then the format of American Flavor should be familiar. Chef Carmellini takes you on a journey through his culinary life as told through his stories and adventures. The modern cookbook is more than a collection of recipes. It's a chance for the chef to show the reader how these dishes came to be, what a chef thinks and what makes him tick. American Flavor does this. Chef Carmellini's stories are humourous, plentiful, and provide us with a window into his personality. You almost know him without having met him.

American Flavor is a journey through the United States, through different regions and dishes that immigrants to those regions have brought. What you end up with is Chef Carmellini's spin on a hodgepodge of ethnic cuisines: European, South American, Asian, etc. While I suppose the variety is admirable, it becomes hard to make this a "go to" source for anything unless the recipes are really top notch.

And that, in fact, is where I found the book disappointing. I did give a fair number of the recipes a try, 10 in all, across all chapters save for dessert. Rather than discuss each separately, it'd be easier just to say that they all shared one quality: they were "okay".

Don't get me wrong, they aren't terrible or inedible. They're certainly "serviceable" recipes. But there's nothing in the recipes I tried that had me smacking my lips and wanting more.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Tipple VINE VOICE on October 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Built off of his experiences traveling as a child and later as an adult as well as his early jobs, Andrew Carmellini has created a cookbook that spans the county with "American Flavor." After chronicling for 33 pages of text and photographs those early days that led up to his being the chef and co-owner of two restaurants in New York City, prestigious awards, and a previous cookbook, it is time for the recipes.

The recipes open with a section on "Soups and Salads" that begins on pages 34 and 35 with a color picture and listing of what is to follow. Fittingly in a book that promotes family and tradition the opening recipe is for a "Borsht Like Mom Used To Make." Along with a color picture of the finished dish there is the recipe with clear and easy to understand directions that follow a short introduction. That same format continues throughout the section with "Chicken Pozole" (pages 48-50) or "Midwest Whitefish Chowder" (pages 55-57) among others. Usually the picture is of the finished dish but occasionally the picture is of something else that comes up in the course of the book.

The book moves on to "Seafood" starting with pages 82-83. In addition to such things as "Steamed Snapper With Spicy Peanut Sauce And Lime" (pages 84-85) and "Cortez Fish Chowder" (pages 92-93) there are tips on how to properly cook fish, shrimp, and seafood in general.

Starting on pages 108-109 is the "Poultry and Meat" section. It opens with "My Chicken Pot Pie" (pages 110-113) and closes with "Lamb Tagine With Green Olives" (pages 165-167). In between there are interesting dishes such as "Julie's Texas-Style Chili With Cheddar And Beer (pages 130-133) or "Mac-`n-Cheese Stuffed Meatloaf" (pages 142-145) among other interesting dishes.
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By siggy1410 on November 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I enjoy this book very much, my husband is from NY and we currently reside in OH so I enjoy the connection between the two places, and the using the 'everyday' items to make something different.
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10 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Val Haskell on November 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
About a year ago, I discovered Andrew Carmellini's Urban Italian cookbook, which I love. It has great prose, the recipes make sense, the food tastes good and you know what to expect from a time perspective. I was so excited about this cookbook that I immediately cooked three things from it the day after it arrived...none of them were very good. I tried again, and again, and none of the recipes have been worth it. American Flavor has nice prose, the recipes make sense, but they don't make food that merits the effort or hype. I hope that Andrew Carmellini does another cookbook and that it is as good as Urban Italian.
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