[David Kamp] ☆ The United States of Arugula: How We Became a Gourmet Nation [words PDF] Ebook Epub Download Ö This was a very well written book and very concise in its coverage of the way our country has moved towards gourmet food, fine dining and fresh ingredients Kamp tells the story through the lives of James Beard, Craig Claiborne, Julia Child and Alice Waters and he does a good job of it But the focus on the chefs is why I didn t find the book as enjoyable as I would have if it had been written from the perspective of the nation as a whole I didn t really find the details of their lives very interesting I often skipped over pages that went in depth into their personal lives and would go straight to the commentary on the American diet and various food movements If you re looking for a book that doesn t really read like a text book, this is the one for you.
This book started off incredibly slowly and dryly talking about Julia Child and James Beard should be entertaining, and rollicking and crazy, but it wasn t It picked up a LOT when the next generation started to come into the picture maybe because the folks at Chez Panisse were in fact completely crazy in the first days Regardless, it really was fascinating how fast we went from Julia Child hoping to sell a few books to McDonalds selling mesclun salads is almost incomprehensible It s still not clear what caused things to tip in that direction, nor is it clear if it s A sustainable B happening outside of the coasts.
But the fact remains that you now can buy a bagel in Peoria, IL, and you couldn t 20 years ago.
I really wanted to read this book, I wanted to finish this book, but it felt like work It is relentless in its insistence on mentioning the name of anyone ever connected to the culinary scene in America I m relatively familiar with most of the people mentioned, but I can t say I was made to care There were gems of information in the book that made it worth the slogging, I was fascinated by Jacques Pepin s association with Howard Johnson s, and the shipping of mushrooms from Oregon to Germany for canning and then being returned to the US where they couldn t get fresh mushrooms, but it just wasn t worth it I shouldn t dread sitting down to read, it shouldn t be homework, and it felt like it was I recommend it only for the most dedicated foodies or people with a strong knowledge of the American culinary scene who want to follow all the name dropping.
I was mildly entertained by this book, which traces the change in the American food landscape over the past 50 years James Beard, Julia Child, Craig Claiborne, Alice Waters, Mollie Katzen all of those are people I ve heard of, whereas a lot of the names he talks about French chefs, people who started buzz restaurants in New York and California are entirely unfamiliar to me The book spends a LOT of time on Alice Waters s restaurants, but spent just a little time on Dean Deluca, which had a massive impact on the way I ate when I lived in NYC, before I had ever heard of Alice Waters And he skimmed right past the advent of Whole Foods I hoped the book would take a break from dishing on the personal foibles of various food celebrities, and get back to addressing how the interest in fresh ingredients and good cooking got to the point that the Food Channel could actually sustain itself, but it didn t really We ll see One thing I can say is that the book has made me want to be eating good but not fussy food Hasn t made me actually want to spend the time to make that kind of food, though.
Essentially a history of the pop culture of cuisine, specifically gourmet cuisine, over the past hundred years, tracing quickly through the various movements and rising and falling stars within this world the chefs, the restaurants, the celebrities, the cookbooks, and the food trends themselves I found the stories of the advent of particular gourmet, now taken for granted, foodstuffs like balsamic vinegar and sushi to be fascinating than the careers of even the most storied chefs, interesting though they were The perspective here is refreshingly different he talks about the so called evils of the modern American diet only in passing, and mostly in reference to how particular activists or chefs were responding to it Mostly, this book made me want to a eat in a lot of expensive restaurants, particularly famous expensive restaurants that have now mostly closed, and b watch Top Chef again now that I might have some idea who some of the chef guest judges actually are Overall, it was an interesting read, but one that was a bit of a chore.
A good reference on historical time line and the key players that emerged during the American Food Revolution.
The Dried Out, Cold, Dark, Oversexed story of American Foodie Name Dropping would have been a much apt title for this disappointing book Although there were glimpses of enjoyable writing Julia Child, the start of the Goat Cheese craze overall turning page after page of Kamp s elitist gushing drivel was agony As a foodie, gardener, willing to try any food once, reader this book should have been delightful Instead it was so full of itself that it had no room for anything else The title in and of itself is misleading So much of the history of food and the creation of an American cuisine or other ethnic influences is overlooked or casually tossed in like a last minute garnish There for looks only with no substance Instead we are forced to bounce back and forth between New York and California s food scenes beginning with the French invasion and ending with the nouvelle cuisine with short stops at hippie franchising in between Some of the passages regarding the French influence were in fact almost unreadable as they mainly consisted of names, places, dishes many in Frenchoh the author was so very proud to be able to finally put his two semesters of French to work with a few transitional words thrown in It is never a good sign to see so many capitalized words on one page The effect was as if I had picked up the longest, most tedious, navel gazing Wikipedia article in history And the sex.
interspersing sensational personal details of many of the chef s carnal appetites added absolutely nothing to the storyline except a lurid, cheap, tawdry aspect appropriate to a trashy magazine Strangely, it is Kamp s lack of interest in food that is the most dissatisfying of all All of the famous dish name dropping in the world cannot disguise the fact that at no point do you sense that he loves food, eating or is even remotely interested in the preparation of anything besides a famous chef s next cookbook No bon appetit One Day We Woke Up And Realized That Our Macaroni Had Become Pasta, That Our Wonder Bread Had Been Replaced By Organic Whole Wheat, That Sushi Was Fast Food, And That Our Tomatoes Were Heirlooms How Did All This Happen, And Who Made It Happen The United States Of Arugula Is The Rollicking, Revealing Chronicle Of How Gourmet Eating In America Went From Obscure To Pervasive, Thanks To The Contributions Of Some Outsized, Opinionated Iconoclasts Who Couldn T Abide The Status Quo Vanity Fair Writer David Kamp Chronicles This Amazing Transformation, From The Overcooked Vegetables And Scary Gelatin Salads Of Yore To Our Current Heyday Of Free Range Chickens, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Iron Chef, Whole Foods, Starbucks, And That Breed Of Human Known As The Foodie In Deft Fashion, Kamp Conjures Up Vivid Images Of The Big Three, The Lodestars Who Led Us Out Of This Culinary Wilderness James Beard, The Hulking, Bald, Flamboyant Oregonian Who Made The Case For American Cookery Julia Child, The Towering, Warbling Giantess Who Demystified French Cuisine For Americans And Craig Claiborne, The Melancholy, Sexually Confused Mississippian Who All But Invented Food Journalism At The New York Times The Story Continues Onward With Candid, Provocative Commentary From The Food Figures Who Prospered In The Big Three S Wake Alice Waters And Jeremiah Tower Of Berkeley S Chez Panisse, Wolfgang Puck And His LA Acolytes, The Visionary Chefs We Know By One Name Emeril, Daniel, Mario, Jean Georges , The Williams In Williams Sonoma, The Niman In Niman Ranch, Both Dean And DeLuca, And Many Others A Rich, Frequently Uproarious Stew Of Culinary Innovation, Flavor Revelations, Balsamic Pretensions, Taste Making Luminaries, Food Politics, And Kitchen Confidences, The United States Of Arugula Is The Remarkable History Of The Cultural Success Story Of Our Era David Kamp s The United States of Arugula is the cheery, optimistic companion to the reflective, worried Omnivore s Dilemma Michael Pollan s book focuses on the American food supply today, while Kamp explores how the US went from a country that made Dr Pepper based olive jello molds, to one with dozens of pastas and cheeses in a non specialty store.
Kamp identifies the beginnings of taste in American cuisine with the rise of the Big Three, James Beard, Julia Child and Craig Claiborne Claiborne created the serious food section and restaurant reviews at the New York Times, and may be less known that the others These people built the world of food writing, which hadn t existed before in the United States.
The next sections deal with the rise of specifically American high end restaurants Much of this section is devoted to the story of Chez Pannise, which emerged as a post hippie idea that local ingredients were best While the writers and the high end restaurants certainly motivated the elites, the related rise of the celebrity chef spread the foodie culture to a broader slice of society.
This is an upbeat book that views American cuisine and food culture at a high point and climbing He points to the introduction of options at fast food restaurants as a sign that tastes are changing at all levels of society While Kamp may be a bit too optimistic, this is a fun read with amusing gossip and great stories about the world of food.