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The United States of Arugula: The Sun Dried, Cold Pressed, Dark Roasted, Extra Virgin Story of the American Food Revolution Paperback – July 17, 2007
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“With the sweep of an epic novel, David Kamp takes us behind the scenes and into the sweaty, wacky, weird trenches of the Great American Food Revolution. His reporting is solid, his storytelling magnificent, and his good humor is seemingly inexhaustible . . . . a terrific book.” —Molly O’Neill
“Culturally aware and cleverly written, this anatomy of the French-fried versus sun-dried tension at the heart of American gastronomy is refreshingly non-snooty.”
"A page-turner filled with fascinating footnotes, a delicious dish about bold-faced names, and an in-depth look at the ways in which a series of food pioneers touched off a revolution." —USA Today
“Juicy, irreverent, and full of bite.” —Gael Greene
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
In the negative, this simplification of culinary history ignores the culinary practices in the hinterlands - growing up in rural Eastern Washington in the 1950's I was familiar with roasting your own coffee beans, salmon sold from the back of cars 3-4 hours from the river, raising my own basil from seeds from the local hardware store, ... Sushi entered my vocabulary in 1970. While Kamp correctly attributes much of the Americanazion of ingredients to James Beard, he fails to recognize that Beard's culinary education at Portland's Farmers' Market was repeated on a small scale in all the roadside fruit and vegetable stands throughout the region. History as described by David Kamp may be accurate regarding the urban fine-dining scene but is not representative of the "total American scene."
The ugly - while it is useful for Kamp to provide insight into the personalities and ideological tensions among the various key players in the evolution of American taste, knowing who slept with whom and who engaged in crude and/or psychotic behavior doesn't particularly interest me nor does it add essential information for following the historical changes.
However, with the exception of the attempt to summarize the future in the final chapter, the book is a fascinating read. It provides a useful overview in which to see one's personal culinary experiences. Recommended with reservations.
I give Kamp's book two stars, because (a) he's got a great ideal--he just didn't execute on it and (b) despite the gossip tone, it appears to be well-researched.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
David Kamp writes regularly for Vanity Fair and GQ, helped Martin Short write I Must Say: My Life ad a Humble Comedy Legend, and used to write for Spy magazine. Read morePublished 13 months ago by P. Mulloy
Kamp does a good job of cataloguing two American food revolutions - one on the east coast and one on the west. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Nemoman
If you are a foodie like me you will love this book! I have followed chefs and collected cookbooks for over 42 years. Read morePublished 21 months ago by william & Kathleen dupree
A foodie's delight of US culinary history, It was a great readPublished on June 30, 2014 by Gloria F. Green
If you have any sort of interest in the culinary history of the United States, David Kamp's book, The United States of Arugula, is quite simply a must-read title. Read morePublished on February 24, 2014 by Adam Oster
A fun and witty story about food trends in America.
Purchased this as a gift for myself and enjoyed every page.
For those who look at your local supermarket's olive bar and think, what a long way we've come! This book is perfect. Read morePublished on January 14, 2014 by Book Babe
i picked this up on a "you might also like" recommendation and was not disappointed. it made for great beach reading and was such a great history, pre-food network, of the... Read morePublished on September 16, 2013 by Brian