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The Taste of America (The Food Series) Paperback – March 20, 2000


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Product Details

  • Series: The Food Series
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press; 1 edition (March 20, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0252068750
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252068751
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,345,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A passionate and sweeping philippic ... a spectacular collection of faults found, chances missed." -- New York Times Book Review "A peppery, zestful jeremiad about the rape of our taste buds by industrial civilization." -- Village Voice "An entertaining diatribe on the diet of the tribe. It should be read and pondered." -- Bookletter "The Hesses' zest for debate has not waned in the 25 years since the book was first published -- wow! Julia Child and Ruth Reichl (and, of course, The New York Times) are hammered flatter than baking foil... Great stuff." -- Petits Propos Culinaires

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By C. McGowan on August 19, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After reading this book for the first time in the early 1980s, it changed the way I thought about both choosing what to feast upon and how to prepare it. I always wondered why I hated vegetables as a child. Having read the book, I realized that my mother--loving though she may have been--had cooked vegetables to death by boiling everything until it was soft, tasteless and unappetizing. When I began learning to cook for myself, the beauty of this text came through for me. Now I appreciate vegetables because I prepare them simply and let the flavor come through. I recommend this book to anyone who is a "picky" eater (and even to those who are not). Once you know why you don't like a variety of foods, you may discover that it's not the food you learned detest, but the way Mama cooked it for you!
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19 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Max W. Hauser on November 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
What a delight to find this amazing classic back in print, in a reprint
edition with new comments by the authors. This will spare thousands
of food enthusiasts the perennial burden of scouring the used-book
market for copies of it. (I ordered several copies of the reprint at once
for gifts and to have on hand.) People who were following food
writing at the time will recall the stir created by the Hesses' book when
it first appeared in the late 1970s. The book is iconoclastic, even
subversive, in the same sense as Prometheus's gift of fire to mankind.
In this case the gift is not fire but perspective, or a sense of history.
Co-author John Hess was himself a senior and very experienced
food writer and editor, but he has a scholar's dislike of pretentious
misinformation being quoted around until it becomes conventional
wisdom. Karen Hess is a food historian noted elsewhere for her
work on the mysterious "Martha Washington" cookbook.
Their book addresses questions like: How did things like iceberg
lettuce and phony "gourmet" products displace centuries of fine
immigrant and indigenous cooking wisdom in the US? Who helped
to "sell" such changes, only to be celebrated later (Orwellian-style)
for contributions to US cooking? Moreover, it is remarkable to see
how many "innovations" in US cooking since about the time this book
was written consist actually of rediscovery of principles widely known
100 or 200 years ago, as the book documents in detail.
The casual reader should be forgiven for not having heard of all
of this in the general media.
Read more ›
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 14, 1998
Format: Paperback
An impassioned, lively, fascinating look at the American table. The Hess' are knowledgeable, erudite and highly opinionated. Many disagree with their negative view of American eating habits, but it is hard to argue with them on the facts. Read it and think!
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By sheilabrog on July 13, 2014
Format: Paperback
The best thanksgiving recipes ever
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 10, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Cooking and America, not a better subject to be found. Well written and a keeper.
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