The United States of Arugula: The Sun Dried, Cold Pressed, Dark Roasted, Extra Virgin Story of the American Food Revolution

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Crown, Dec 16, 2009 - Cooking - 416 pages
3 Reviews
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The wickedly entertaining, hunger-inducing, behind-the-scenes story of the revolution in American food that has made exotic ingredients, celebrity chefs, rarefied cooking tools, and destination restaurants familiar aspects of our everyday lives.

Amazingly enough, just twenty years ago eating sushi was a daring novelty and many Americans had never even heard of salsa. Today, we don't bat an eye at a construction worker dipping a croissant into robust specialty coffee, city dwellers buying just-picked farmstand produce, or suburbanites stocking up on artisanal cheeses and extra virgin oils at supermarkets. The United States of Arugula is a rollicking, revealing stew of culinary innovation, food politics, and kitchen confidences chronicling how gourmet eating in America went from obscure to pervasive—and became the cultural success story of our era.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - kgodey - LibraryThing

In the last 40 years, the predominant food culture in America has become "gourmet". Salsa and sushi have gone from unknown to ubiquitous, and local ingredients, specialty cooking tools and celebrity ... Read full review

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I have to admit I felt more than a little erudite today when NPR was discussing the confirmation Escoffier's of 5th taste and I slightly ahead of the reporter's explanation of who Escoffier was thanks to reading this book. I am not a foodie - I actually hate following recipes because I am not very conscientious or organized, and find cookbooks just lose their appeal after they become covered in ingredients that notably contributed to failed attempts at the results the books are seeking to achieve. I probably only read Everyday Food from cover to cover, and only follow the most uncomplicated recipes in them. I also have to admit I am stubbornly pedestrian in my taste and convinced that the more elaborate the cuisine, the more insecure the chef or the consumer. So why did I read this book? To understand why lots of folks follow food the way they do, what kind of person writes cookbooks, and perhaps what I'm missing. The writing was engaging - sometimes downright racy - and the research was solid. The subject matter was not slobbering idolatry or snarky critique, and did move in slighlty wider circles than just a book about cookbooks. I very much enjoyed reading about 4/5ths of the book and found it entertaining, informative, and perhaps opinion-changing. The last 5th (contemporary food culture) was not so enjoyable, but I'm not sure if it was the author or the subject matter. Like I said, I only follow Everyday Food - Rachel Ray annoys me no end, and unless you have a television in your kitchen, devotedly following the food network escapes me. 

Contents

A World Without Celebrity Chefs
3
Americas Dysfunctional Relationship
11
CHAPTER
24
The Food Establishment Part I
53
CHAPTER FIVE
121
CHAPTER
166
CHAPTER EIGHT
230
CHAPTER NINE
267
CHAPTER
296
CHAPTER ELEVEN
319
CHAPTER TWELVE
351
Toward a McSustainab1e Future
365
INDEX
381
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

David Kamp has been a writer and editor for Vanity Fair and GQ for more than a decade. He lives in New York.

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