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The New American Cooking Hardcover – October 25, 2005

4.4 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Surveying America's food scene, Joan Nathan, author of the much-praised Jewish Cooking in America, notes our increasing openness to exploring traditional ethnic fare as well as "new" dishes. In The New American Cooking she offers 280 recipes that reflect the growing influence of Asian, Indian, and Latin American cooking on our everyday tables, as well as providing formulas for the likes of Chicken with Barbecue Sauce and Jambalaya with Sausage and Shrimp--dishes to which we have returned, or never left behind. The menu-wide recipe range features such tantalizing fare as Turkish Cucumber Yogurt Soup, Tunisian Fish Couscous, and Grilled Thai Chicken with Lemongrass, and sweets including Wolfgang Puck's Kiwi Clafouti and Chocolate Bread Pudding with Dried Cherries and Brandied Cream Sauce. A chapter on vegetables and vegetarian dishes, with the likes of Ragout of Wild Mushrooms with Shallots and Thyme, and Sautéed Baby Artichokes with Fresh Herbs, is particularly strong. Nathan likes to tell stories, and in sidebars such as "Nova Kim, the Wild Mushroom Lady of Vermont" and "Cooking Iraqi Food in Virginia," she places the dishes within their cultural context, often introducing readers to the recipe-makers themselves, all of whom she visited. Nathan also provides information on ingredients and techniques.

Though one might question the inclusion of very familiar formulas, like the one for chocolate chip cookies, albeit in "improved" versions, the majority of recipes will be new to most readers and all are easily accomplished. With 150 color photos, the book is a delightful addition to the Nathan canon, known for blending cultural-historical investigation with recipes of superior taste. --Arthur Boehm

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. What makes a particular dish or technique uniquely American? Nathan, perhaps best known for Jewish Cooking in America, and the author of seven additional cookbooks, eschews the notion that agribusiness and fast food have commandeered the American palate. Rather, she says the influence of immigrants from diverse areas of the world has, over the past 40 years, made American food fresh, spicy and rife with flavor. Similarly, she notes that the spices and ingredients available to American home cooks are far more varied than they've ever been, as are the options on restaurant menus. In homage to the chefs, farmers, artisans and entrepreneurs who create and contribute to American food culture, Nathan traveled the country and visited the people who help ensure that "the world's food is now literally at our fingertips." The book is part cookbook, part travelogue; readers will surely be intrigued by Nathan's descriptions of a Cuban juice bar in Miami, the advent of Middle Eastern restaurants in Virginia and the Honolulu Fish Auction, where she provides fascinating food lore and a striking sense of place. Nathan covers every course, from Morning Glory Muffins for breakfast to main courses like Haitian Vegetable Stew and desserts such as Molten Chocolate Cake. She does an excellent job of balancing her own voice with that of her interview subjects, making this cookbook as readable as it is practical. 150 full-color photos.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; First Edition edition (October 25, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400040345
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400040346
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 1.3 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #503,348 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Joan Nathan is the author of ten cookbooks and a regular contributor to The New York Times and Tablet Magazine. She is the author of the much-acclaimed Jewish Cooking in America, which in 1994 won both the James Beard Award and the IACP/Julia Child Cookbook of the Year Award; as well asThe New American Cooking which also won the James Beard and IACP Awards as best American cookbook published in 2005. Her most recent book is Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France. Her other books include Foods of Israel Today, Joan Nathan's Jewish Holiday Cookbook, The Jewish Holiday Baker, The Children's Jewish Holiday Kitchen, and The Flavor of Jerusalem.

In 2004 Ms. Nathan was the Guest Curator of Food Culture USA, the 2005 Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall in Washington, DC, based on the research for her book, The New American Cooking.

Ms. Nathan's PBS television series, Jewish Cooking in America with Joan Nathan, was nominated in 2000 for the James Beard Award for Best National Television Food Show. She was also senior producer of Passover: Traditions of Freedom, an award-winning documentary sponsored by Maryland Public Television. Ms. Nathan has appeared as a guest on numerous radio and television programs including the Today show, Good Morning, America, and National Public Radio.

An inductee to the James Beard Foundation's Who's Who in American Food and Beverage, she has also received the Silver Spoon Award from Food Arts magazine. In addition, Ms. Nathan received an honorary degree from the Spertus Institute of Jewish Culture in Chicago and the Golda Award from the American Jewish Congress.

Joan Nathan was born in Providence, Rhode Island. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a master's degree in French literature and earned a master's in public administration from Harvard University. For three years she lived in Israel where she worked for Mayor Teddy Kollek of Jerusalem. In 1974, working for Mayor Abraham Beame in New York, she co-founded the Ninth Avenue Food Festival. The mother of three grown children, Ms. Nathan lives in Washington, D.C. and Martha's Vineyard with her husband, attorney Allan Gerson.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Joan Nathan has delivered a soon-to-be classic with her new cookbook, _The New American Cooking_. The cookbook is beautifully designed, with easy to read step-by-step recipes, beautiful pictures, and fun anecdotes.

Nathan visited forty-six states in the preparation of this cookbook, and presents recipes from American cuisines old and new - from Appalachian Griddle Corn bread (which includes mayonnaise in the recipe for moistness) to fusion recipes such as Union Square Cafe's Tuna Burger with Ginger-Wasabi Mayonnaise. Her recipes come from chefs, farmers, restaraunteers and locals.

I love Nathan's approach. In researching this book she spent time with immigrant communities old and new - she includes recipes from the descendants of Croatian immigrants who came to Minnesota at the turn of the nineteenth century to work in the Iron Mines [The Potica - Iron Range Walnut Coffee Cake looks delicious, though I haven't had the chance to make it yet.] to Cambodian Chicken Soup from Hmong immigrants who came to the states in the 1970's. These recipes make available the diverse cuisines of the U.S. today. She also includes recipes from White House chefs and celebrity chefs like Alice Waters of Chez Panisse and Jean-Georges Vongrichten (whose Molten Chocolate cake recipe, given in the desserts section, is DEE-LICIOUS.)

The cookbook givess eleven chapters of recipes, listed here:

Breakfast and Brunch [Try the Baked French Toast with Caramelized Fruit - I made it for a holiday brunch and it was amazing.]

Bread (Includes Pizzas, Foccacia, Dosas, Crepes, sandwiches and tacos as well, and some spreads and chutneys to serve with - 26 recipes total.)

Starters and Small Plates - Dips and Spreads and finger food.
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Format: Hardcover
I received this cookbook for Christmas and I love it. First of all, the concept is great. I enjoy the food of all different cultures and it is fun to have them in one cookbook. The recipes are easy and for the more unusual ingredients, there is often a substitute written which I find helpful. Finally and most importantly, everything I have made from this cookbook has been delicious and I have tried many recipes.

I own many cookbooks and this book has become one of the first ones I look in when trying to find a new recipe. I have found myself frequently telling people about this book because I have enjoyed it so much.

I would highly recommend this cookbook to anyone who enjoys food and cooking.
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Format: Hardcover
If you want a snapshot of contemporary American food (in all its tasty, healthy, multiethnic glory) go out and buy this book. From hoisin roast chicken, to potica, and grilled pizza The New American Cooking literally has it all. It's a cookbook that reads like a novel and every dish I have tried has come out perfectly.
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Format: Hardcover
`The New American Cooking' by Jewish / American cookbook specialist, Joan Nathan is a very nice sized cookbook based on two big ironies. The first, unashamedly proclaimed by the subtitle on the cover, is that many of these 280 `new American' recipes are imported from influences all around the world. The second is that one of the most important directions of `new American' cooking is to revert to the kind of ingredients available to our local forefathers, before the industrialization of our food supply as documented by Eric Schlosser in `Fast Food Nation' and more recently by Michael Pollen in `The Omnivore's Dilemma' Piling irony on irony is the fact that this second movement can be traced, as Ms. Nathan does, directly to the alternate culture movement started in the 1960's. My overall reaction to this development is to stand up and shout `The Whole Earth Catalogue Lives!!!'

What this means for people who may wish to purchase this book is that it comes off as a world food greatest hits, as selected by American foodies. While I am certain that the popularity of the Food Network and the great increase in published cookbooks means that a lot more Americans are taking cooking seriously, I don't think it means a movement anywhere close to the popularity of some recent cultural interests such as the Internet, cellular phones, iPods, or NASCAR.

So what is it about this book which may peek the interest of foodies and less fanatic people who simply like to cook. This probably depends a lot on how many cookbooks you already have, and what they are. If your entire culinary library consists of `The Joy of Cooking' and the `Good Housekeeping' loose leafed binder, then this is the book for you.
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Format: Hardcover
Nathan's THE NEW AMERICAN COOKING, is the third of what I personally consider the ultimate in gastro-documentation. She has the uncanny knack of pulling history, cultural and personal narratives, and neo-traditional recipes into what can only be called family albums of food. What she did for Jewish cooking in America and Israel, she has done for American cooking's newest food revolution. Her subjects are always living cookbooks themselves, whose palatable and lovingly familiar recipes and traditions draw you in and make you want to become part of the hundreds of edible worlds she introduces you to. The recipes have been well tested, well written and make for enthusiastic eating. No kitchen or cookbook library can afford to miss out on what I consider to be a historic and insightful snapshot of our contemporary global-yet-local tastebuds. Joan Nathan has set the table for a national banquet.
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