Cookbook Review: All-American Eats

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Fast Review: A culinary tour de force of the USA with some awesome stories too.

Famously quoted as saying “I don’t like gourmet cooking or ‘this’ cooking or ‘that’ cooking. I like good cooking.”, James Beard was quite the character. All American Eats captures that clear-cut mentality and leaves no corner of America behind. Flavors, aromas, places, and memories are captured in this love letter to our country’s longest running kitchens.  From Joe’s Stone Crabs fresh off the shore of vibrant Miami to fried tomatoes at Nashville’s Arnold’s, these dishes are nothing less than legendary. We believe food with a story tastes better, pick up a copy and find out for yourself!

Who’s Kitchen Would You Find It In: James Beard Foundation fans, well-traveled diners, down-to-earth home cooks

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Nuts and Bolts:

Every restaurant in All American Eats has timeless appeal yet perfectly embodies the regional cuisine of its hometown. For this accomplishment, they were awarded a James Beard Foundation America’s Classics designation. This book divides its five sections by geographic region, beginning with “Southeast”.

To kick off the chapter, owners of favorites like Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack and Willie Mae’s Scotch House tell their origin stories. A common thread among these hard-working cooks is an incredible amount of humility. After reading their miniature memoirs, it’s on to the recipes! This part of the chapter reveals the secret ingredients and methods to five varieties of fried chicken. It also shares insider tips to making the perfect pot of Charleston Red Rice.  In the final pages, each chapter lists all of the award winners in that area of the country. Photographs of historic postcards, hole in the wall kitchens, and grand steakhouse dining rooms feature in the nostalgic collection.

Next up is our stomping-ground, the great Northeast! DC icon Ben’s Chili Bowl is given a spotlight feature, along with Waterman’s Beach Lobster. In this chapter, stories of sustainably harvested seafood and tales of the American dream warm your heart and whet your appetite. Diving into the dishes, you find chicken soup with matzoh balls from New York’s 2nd Avenue Deli and Buffalo wings from Anchor Bar (their watering-hole birthplace). ‘Midwest’ holds gems like Al’s Breakfast and Three Brother’s Restaurant. Of course, the meals contain lots of meat and potatoes, and always end with a slice of pie!

As the book dives into Southwestern food, Louie Mueller Barbecue and Cafe Pasqual’s make appearances. In this chapter you master the art of BBQ and serve a mean mango beet salad alongside it. “West” represents the final frontier, featuring a true melting pot of cuisines. This section holds Hawaiian, Asian, and Mexican favorites. Including LA’s Guelaguetza Oaxaca kitchen and Seattle’s Maneki sushi. Its pages feature all types of sandwiches and a variety of preparations for salmon. Finally, All-American Eats wraps up and divulges a strategy for eating Prince’s Hot Chicken (Hint: it involves stashing a roll of toilet paper in your freezer). 

What to Make:

To turn up the heat: Green tabasco chicken (p. 36), the original buffalo wings (p. 76), Cincinnati chili (p. 134), chiles rellenos (p. 180), red chile enchiladas (p. 184), ogiginal #19 hot pastrami sandwich (p. 225)

When you are feeling exotic: Rabo encendido (p.42), oyster pan roast (p. 82), scones with wine (p. 148), wiener schnitzel (p. 132), green chile hominy (p. 189), shanghai dumplings (p. 236)

For Sunday supper: Greek-style snapper (p. 40), Italian wedding soup (p. 68), maple sugar cookies (p. 98), potato pierogi (p. 128), Texas-style oven brisket (p. 186), cedar plank salmon (p.230)

James Beard’s All-American Eats  is by the James Beard Foundation. Shop all of our cookbooks here!