I was just going through all my stuff, making sure that I had done everything I was supposed to do before Christmas and I came across this lovely book that I had been sent several months ago to review. I felt so bad that I had forgotten to do it and jumped right online to do it now. Entitled, The Taste of America, it is a beautifully illustrated compendium of American food compiled and written by Colman Andrews, illustrated by Joël Penkman, and published by Phaidon. If you have ever been curious about and wondered how American Foods taste, then this is the book for you.
It contains eleven lovely chapters from snacks to drinks and everything in between, each chapter being laid out alphabetically. The Taste of America celebrates the very best food produced in America.
Food writer and critic Colman Andrews has reviewed over 200 traditional American products, from fine pimento cheese to cowpeas and stonecrabs. Half of the entries are illustrated by Joël Penkman who created 125 individual paintings, all beautifully rendered in . . . get this . . . egg tempura. (I know, how cool is that? )
Ever wanted to know about American Hot Dogs? The origins and where they came from? What they're made of? What they taste like? This book solves the riddle of what an actual hot dog is. (I remember when I first came over here and saw a hot dog cart down in London. I was so disappointed when I ordered one and discovered it was simply . . . a pork sausage. And not a very nice one at that!)
Americans love their Salt Water Taffy! (No surpise there as I have had it and it's really good!) This book tells you all about it in great detail. Each item has awonderfully entertaining and informative text of no less than 300 words describing the product’s features, history, origins and applications in great detail. Two American missionairies happened to be in the house when it arrived and a wonderful discussion ensued about their favorites and the things they missed from home. They really enjoyed perusing it, as did I.
It truly it a great book and a wonderful source for those cooks here in the UK who want to cook American recipes but are unsure of what exactly certain ingredients are and if there are any substitutes they might be able to come up with for the more unsual ones. I think it would make a great gift for the foodie on your Christmas List.
The Taste of America
by Colman Andrews
Published by Phaidon
Available from phaidon.com
Also available from Amazon
Many thanks to Phaidon for sending me this review copy. We have really enjoyed it. It's made for some great conversations with friends and with the Toddster! Now, I can SHOW people what I am talking about!