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on November 8, 1999
With its focus on the cuisine of a grand restaurant in Revolutionary-era Philadelphia (George Washington dined there!),this is a great book in which to find inspiration for Thankgsiving dinner. You MUST try the pepper-pot soup! It is spicy and sexy, and does not contain tripe as many old recipes for this dish do. I learned from the City Tavern Cookbook about the influence of Caribbean spices and flavors in 18th-century America--that's what makes this soup so good. I am a cookbook aficionado and keep current on all the top chefs, restaurants, and food trends.This is one I'll really use. The text has lots of interesting tidbits about the history of food in early America to make it worth reading, but it's also very lively. Most important, the recipes are wonderful, and they call for ingredients you can buy at the supermarket.
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on September 30, 2000
I am a local resident of Philadelphia and had friends visiting from out of town. It's ashame that I have never been to City Tavern before, because it is a grand place. You forget all the history you have in your own city until you have people visit you and you take them on a tour. I thought City Tavern would be a perfect ending! The food was so good I had to buy the cookbook. The recipes are very well written, easy to understand and you purchase all the ingredients at your local grocery store! I reccommend this cookbook highly and it would make a great gift to anyone that enjoys something different!!
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on February 11, 2010
I am a big history buff, so I love all of the facts that are written along with the recipes. I am not a master cook and figured the recipes would be difficult. That is not the case. I have made 4 so far and they have turned out great!
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on December 14, 1999
Tis the season for a cookbook of this calibur. I have purchased a copy for myself, enjoyed it so much that I am giving copies to my entire family. The recipes are clear and concise. The instructions and recommendations are focused on a remarkable final product. The only thing to do now is visit Philadelphia and go to the City Tavern restaurant and see if thier versions are as good as mine. The historical theme is a welcomed element. Now I feel like I'm tasting history in my own home.
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on January 9, 2006
I bought this book and read it cover to cover. Great history of the restaurant. I loved the fact that Chef Staiub has used dishes that are historically documented. I gave a dinner party for Twelfth Night this year and used recipes from City Tavern for all but the dessert. Everything tasted great but the portion sizes were more than a little off. Recipes that were stated to serve "6 to 8" would go for 12 easily. The Sweet and Sour Cabbage was delicious but if you follow the recipe and use 2 1/2 to 3 pounds of cabbage you can serve 20! The Pork Roast with Madeira Sauce was fantastic. I only made half; four pounds of boneless pork roast served 12. The portions at City Tavern must be gargantuan!! We had the Wassail and it was perfect. The Smoked Pheasant en Croute starter filling will fill THREE sheets of pre-prepared puff pastry, not just one as the recipe states. I'll continue to use the book but being mindful that I'll need to use my biggest pots and plan to feed a crowd.
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on July 21, 2014
Love the simple recipes, getting back to basics. Cooking the way our ancestors cooked. Simple fare. Easy to do. Getting out the cast iron cookware our great grandmas used. Our family is getting away from boxed microwaveable processed "food" (if you can call it food. I call it chemical experimenting on you body). We purchase farm vegetables and fruits, meats from various stores and simply cook on our open fire put on our deck, duplicating Chef Staib's open hearth cooking.The flavor is fantastic and it is fun , like a picnic. We also use our indoor oven and range. We can eat much healthier and physically we feel alot better, more energetic too. We enjoy the food cooked this way and it really doesn't take that much more time to prepare. We spend alot more time on the deck enjoying the great sunshine ! Thank you Walter Staib, we love you and your tv show !!
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on July 18, 2009
THE CITY TAVERN COOKBOOK: RECIPES FROM THE BIRTHPLACE OF AMERICAN CUISINE discusses both the food and the social and political atmosphere of 18th century Philadelphia, gathering and presenting recipes for over 300 dishes from roasted duckling with chutney to a chocolate mousse cake made by Martha Washington. Color photos pepper a fine presentation for any collection strong in American cuisine.
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on November 22, 2010
I love the recipes in this book. They are sophisticated in flavors but simple in technique and aimed at the family cook and family table. I highly recommend the accompanied DVD series "A Taste of History" that's available on the City Tavern website.
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on March 24, 2010
It is somewhat ironic that one of the best books on traditional American cuisine is written by a German chef... but what a pleasant irony. Chef Staib has clearly established himself more than just a great chef and restauranteur, but a great historian.

Chef Staib effectively tells the story of American colonial life with an emphasis on the various influences on their cuisine. This story is colorfully depicted in The City Tavern Cookbook, together with an extraordinary collection of recipes that are extremely well written and easily executed by a home cook.

The City Tavern Cookbook allows anyone to experience the wealth and breadth of colonial American foods in their own home. Chef Staib's brilliant resurrection of City Tavern allows all of us to a unique experience of re-living a special aspect of early American life in a realistic setting, should we be forunate enough to venture to Philadelphia.

Although not from Philadelphia, I was born and baptized in the spirit of New England colonial America. Only now do I understand where some of the dishes cooked and served by my grandmother and mother came from. To me it was just good food that was familiar and comforting. Now I know that some of these recipes that I enjoyed have a deep heritage coming from our forefather's homelands and other influences of colonial trading.

I highly recommend this as the "go-to" book for true American cuisine.
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on August 27, 2014
I enjoy Chef Staib's show A Taste of History. He almost makes cooking at a hearth look easy. Thankfully, the book contains modern adaptations of those recipes. There are other recipes I haven't seen on the show. I haven't tried any of the recipes, yet. A lot of them use wine, which I love, but my husband doesn't, and there are several German recipes, which I will be trying. My favorite part of the book is that each recipe is preceded by a short history of the recipe, often mentioning a colonial cookbook author. This is just as much a history book as it is a cookbook. If you are from the Philadelphia area, you will probably know many of the places Chef Staib mentions.
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