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Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink Hardcover – December 3, 2013

4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

We are what we eat—and American food is about as diverse as you can get. From the beignets of New Orleans to the cheesecakes of New York City (to drill further, Jewish, from the Lower East Side, or Italian, from Little Italy?), Americans enjoy a wide range of cuisines, which are chronicled in this easy-to-use and eminently readable book. Most of the entries in this revised edition have not changed from the previous, though many of the longer articles have been updated and expanded, and there are new entries for a few subjects, such as Molecular cuisine. Although it has been 14 years since the last edition was published, the most important revision has been the addition of biographies of people who contributed significantly to American cuisine. These biographies include obvious choices—such as Craig Claiborne and Julia Child—as well as those who greatly influenced the way Americans eat in more subtle but no less important ways, such as Upton Sinclair and Luther Burbank. This is an encyclopedia of nouns, not verbs, so though readers won’t find definitions of cooking actions, such as tempering chocolate, they will find a detailed account of the history of chocolate use in America. Recipes as representative or as original as possible for classic dishes are included in a different typeface after appropriate entries. The instructions are pared down, as the author assumes some expertise, but they provide a fascinating look at dishes readers may have heard of but never tried. Just as interesting are the notes on the etymology of the names of ingredients, foods, and drinks as they evolved in American cuisine. Some subjects contain subheadings, for example “Flour” lists and defines 18 particular types of flour and their usage. The index is extensive. This volume is entertaining and enlightening, suitable for any food historian or home cook who is interested in having an easy guide to the foods of the U.S. and quick access to the most authentic recipes for classic dishes and drinks. --Elaine Lindstrom

About the Author

John Mariani began his career as a journalist at New York magazine in 1973. Since then, he has become one of America's premier food writers. He is a columnist for Esquire and Bloomberg News, was nominated three times for the James Beard Journalism Award, and is the author of several highly regarded books on food, including references such as Mariani's Coast-to-Coast Dining Guide, America Eats Out (winner of the IACP Julia Child Cookbook Award for reference), and most recently, How Italian Food Conquered the World. He is also the author of The Dictionary of Italian Food and Drink andeditor of Italian Cuisine: Basic Cooking Techniques, the primary Italian textbook at the Culinary Institute of America.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; Rev Upd edition (December 3, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1620401606
  • ISBN-13: 978-1620401606
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 1.3 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #872,585 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
John Mariani's comprehensive work includes many recipes, from the simplest to those involving many steps and considerable cooking experience and skill, from Colonial foods to present day dishes. I found this book fascinating, sat down and read it cover to cover, and rose up eager to try some of the recipes.

There were dozens of varieties of fish listed, including many I have never cooked or eaten. There were colorful colloquialisms, some of which would be familiar to modern readers, others from long-ago times.

A great general interest book, Mariani's work especially appeals to "foodies" ( one of the contemporary terms he defines). Readers will gain an appreciation for the bounty of the 21st century American table as well as an understanding of how our foremothers creatively improvised with basic ingredients like cornmeal and molasses.

This book is highly recommended as a page-turning overview of the surprising sophistication and palate-pleasing delights of American cuisine!
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Format: Hardcover
Comprehensive, helpful and fun to read, this book presents information on nearly any food, ingredient or beverage you might be interested in knowing about. It's a triva-lover's compendium full of facts and tidbits, that any foodie will enjoy (and yes, "foodie" is in there, too!)

There are a couple of surprise omissions, iconic Midwest dishes such as City Chicken and Jo Jo Potatoes aren't in there, nor is Creole as an entry (I went looking for the difference between Cajun and Creole). One error I noted was that the author says Chicken Cacciatore (or pollo alla cacciatora in Italian) is an Italian American specialty that doesn't exist by this name in Italy. Pollo alla Cacciatore, however, was a recipe presented by Pellegrino Artusi in his cookbook in 1891, so was already widely enough known as a dish then in Italy. (Trivial, but still easy enough to have been verified.)

Overall, it's a fun and fact-filled book for anyone interested in American food history.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is very good in many ways and is well worth having in a cookbook library. However, it is not truly complete, and Mariani's "facts" are not invariably correct. Mariani is well traveled, but his heart and soul are in New York City, and it shows. He is of Italian ancestry, and it shows. Regardless, I am happy to own the book, and do, on occasion, refer to it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Fascinating Read, with classic recipes sprinkled throughout. If you are curious about American Food and Drink, you will enjoy this reference book!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wonderful read and a great book if you are into food and drink!
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