|New American Table|
|Publisher: James Wiley & Sons, Country: US|
|ISBN: 9780470281888, Year: 2009|
|Link to publisher’s page or site|
|BUY ONLINE (click on flag)
|This review is the personal opinion of the reviewer.|
Imagine trying to describe American cuisine to a friend over a cocktail. It’s a fool’s errand since American cuisine is as diverse as a New York borough. Nonetheless, this is what Marcus Samuelsson successfully does in New American Table.
Samuelsson has firmly planted himself in the cadre of great American chefs, albeit from a circuitous route via Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, and France. His life travels mean he developed a strong network of chef-friends, resulting in a repertoire of international foods. Despite that, this is definitely a book about American cuisine.
With the onslaught of the Food Network, blogs, and internationally inspired cookbooks, there are few foods that haven’t found their way into the American cuisine. And just as chicken tikka has become a Brit classic, so too have dishes like pizza and tacos become classics on American tables.
Samuelsson is chef and co-owner of Aquavit. The youngest chef ever to receive two three-star ratings from the New York Times, he is the author of The Soul of a New Cuisine and Aquavit and the New Scandinavian Cuisine.
New American Table is very well executed, with enjoyable backstory, vibrant photos, and accurate and usable recipes. But those features aren’t what excite me about this book. The more I read Samuelsson, the more I realized that his progression of traditional dishes from across the globe offers a greatest hits of so many cookbooks on my shelves – but without the obscure ingredients only found in late night Moroccan souks. You can make these dishes and feel the belly dancer’s tassles swirling around your table right in your own home.
Samuelsson‘s uninhibited use of spices also allowed me to look at my over-reliance on salt. He makes no claims to a low-sodium diet, but with his emphasis on the great spices of the world, you can give your mouth a break from salt and enjoy the myriad of flavors available at your local market.
At just over 350 pages with over 300 recipes, New American Table includes recipes such as Hot shrimp noodles with poached eggs, Caramelized scallop salad, Caraway pretzels, Fried yellowtail poke, and My cod udon. As I tested recipes I focused in on the “My” recipes which also include My chile condiment, My veggie soup, and My mother’s spaghetti with peas. I assumed that if they were good enough for him, they would be good enough for me, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Samuelsson’s book is perfect for the aspiring foodie with its vast array of cuisines. Although you’ll find nothing ground-breaking or especially innovative, adventurous cooks will enjoy the challenge of cooking across the globe and, ultimately, a modern definition of American Cuisine will appear right on their own dinner table.
|: 4 stars. Recommended
: Quite nice
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