American Home Cooking


Nothing says American like American home cooking. From a steaming bowl of New England Clam Chowder, to Tucson Chimichangas, to Door County Sour Cherry Pie, these are the dishes that form the soul of our collective culinary heritage. And these are the recipes that bestselling, award-winning authors Cheryl and Bill Jamison serve up right here—in American Home Cooking.

In a lively and lucid style that appeals to both novice and experienced cooks,...
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Nothing says American like American home cooking. From a steaming bowl of New England Clam Chowder, to Tucson Chimichangas, to Door County Sour Cherry Pie, these are the dishes that form the soul of our collective culinary heritage. And these are the recipes that bestselling, award-winning authors Cheryl and Bill Jamison serve up right here—in American Home Cooking.

In a lively and lucid style that appeals to both novice and experienced cooks, the Jamisons invite you to sample a coast-to-coast feast of more than 300 recipes straight from the heart of America's own home cooking tradition. To the degree that we are what we eat, the dishes are us, a vibrant expression of our national spirit that's as full of robust flavor as the food of any land.

Cheryl and Bill speak with authoritative passion on the home-grown culinary tradition. They visited family cheese crafters in Wisconsin, over-nighted with Pennsylvania Dutch farmers between market days, and picked up techniques for frying catfish from the first African American catfish farmer in Mississippi. They talked with a vendor of live poultry in Providence's Little Italy over the din of squawking chickens and quacking ducks and barbecued a whole hog one night and day with a jolly and generous gang of rice farmers from Arkansas. They ate warm fig cake on Okracoke Island and chilled Dungeness crab freshly pulled from Oregon waters.

American Home Cooking features the best home cooking the Jamisons found, with outstanding recipes for classic favorites like meat loaf, scalloped potatoes, iceberg lettuce with blue cheese dressing, sticky buns, angel food cake, and lemon meringue pie. Regionaldishes with coast-to-coast appeal include Tidewater Peanut Soup, Kansas City Sugar-and-Spice Spareribs, Pennsylvania Dutch Noodles with Corn and Tomatoes, Maui Mango Bread, and Catahoula Sweet Dough Pies. You'll also relish recipes for intriguing local treasures like Louisville Benedictine, Iowa Skinny, and Miles Standish—all sandwiches.

Exquisite color photographs illustrate the dishes, and sidebars celebrate our nation's food fancies, from peanut butter to po'boys, and memorable cooks, from Lydia Marie Child to Julia Child. Destined to become a culinary classic, this sweeping collection offers delicious ideas for every meal and occasion, every day of the year. Bring the best of America's home cooking tradition into your home with American Home Cooking.

Winner of the 2000 IACP Cookbook Award.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
A Taste of American Home Cooking

Depending on where you grew up, American home cooking might mean creamy New England clam chowder to you, or it might mean northern Californian cioppino; it might call to mind Pennsylvanian chicken and dumplings or beefy Texas red chili; you might pine for bourbon-spiked New Orleans bread pudding or perfect Florida key lime pie. But no matter what part of the country it comes from, traditional American homestyle cooking means simple, delicious dishes, made with fresh ingredients, and most often served family style.

Bestselling cookbook authors Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison (Smoke & Spice; Born to Grill) take the reader on an inspired journey through authentic American regional cookery in their new book, American Home Cooking. Many of the dishes they include haven't traveled far from their origins—like Lancaster County Chicken-Corn Soup or Pueblo Lamb Stew with Green Chile and Posole—but others, such as Meat Loaf, Bread-and-Butter Pickles, Summer BLT, Iceberg Wedge with Maytag Blue Dressing, Strawberry Shortcake, and many more will resonate with just about anyone who grew up eating in an American kitchen. But American Home Cooking does not confine itself to nostalgic pleasures; modern home cooking favorites like Seared Tuna Steaks, Grilled T-Bone with Horseradish Butter, Pico de Gallo, and Pasta Primavera are included as well.

Filled with historical notes, references to classic cookbooks from this century and the last, anecdotes, and entertaining quotations, American Home Cooking is an excellent reference as well as a wonderful read. It's also a collection of irresistible recipes that will have home cooks whipping up a batch of cream biscuits or peeling apples for pandowdy in no time.

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The husband-and-wife team of James Beard award-winning authors (The Border Cookbook; Smoke and Spice) offer 400 recipes celebrating four centuries of American home cooking. The Jamisons carefully distinguish home cooking--"simple, hearty, seasonal fare... prepared for and enjoyed by family and friends"--from convenience foods (like tuna noodle casseroles and pizzas) and elaborate haute restaurant-style preparations. Seventeen chapters explore the diversity of the American table, including breakfast fare (flapjacks, grits, hash), sandwiches, appetizers, soup, game, garden vegetables, preserves, baked goods and beverages (from mint juleps to sassafras tea). Emphasizing fresh ingredients and straightforward techniques, recipes feature an assortment of regional classics, from New England Clam Chowder and Swiss Steak to Fried Green Tomatoes and Hoppin' John, as well as local specialties like eastern Virginia's Tidewater Peanut Soup, the Florida Keys' Old Sour Seafood Salad and New Mexico's Chimay Carne Adovada, a chile-infused pork preparation. Culinary trivia (e.g., turtle soup was once a favorite among American home cooks) and technique tips lend nuance and context to America's rich culinary tapestry. The Jamisons authoritatively articulate the pastiche of multicultural influences that characterize American regional cuisine, enabling readers to rediscover national (and regional) culinary treasures. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
The Jamisons (The Border Cookbook) have written about specific regional cuisines in some of their earlier books; this time, they take on the whole country. Their "home cooking" encompasses classics like Chicken and Dumplings as well as local specialties such as Iowa Skinny (a pork loin sandwich) and New Mexico Calabacitas. Headnotes provide recipe pedigrees, and sidebars offer commentary on American home cooking from a wide variety of sources, including many early cookbooks. Recommended for most collections. Dojny, a Bon Appetit columnist and prolific cookbook author, has compiled almost as many recipes as the Jamisons while concentrating on just one part of the country, her own New England. All the traditional dishes are here, like Crispy Ipswich Clam Fritters with Tartar Sauce and Boston Baked Beans, but there are also dozens of ethnic specialties from the various immigrant groups who have helped populate New England: Oregano-Scented Greek Lamb Shanks, Portuguese Tuna Escabeche, and Garlicky Mussels, Italian-style, to name a few. The recipes come from good home cooks (including the author's extended family), chefs and diner cooks, and other local experts. Hundreds of sidebars explore culinary traditions and history and provide a good dose of nostalgia. Highly recommended. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Jennifer Wolcott
Like a film with Anthony Hopkins, it's hard to go wrong with a cookbook by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison. The couple have established quite a following with award-winners The Border Cookbook and Smoke and Spice, and their latest American Home Cooking is sure to swell the ranks. The Jamisons foraged all across America for the book's 300 down to earth recipes, visiting a cheese-crafting family in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania Dutch Farmers, African-American catfish farmers in Mississsippi, a live poultry vendor in Providence, RI's Little Italy, an more. Pithy quotes from such culinary greats as M.F.K. Fisher and James Beard entertain while evocative recipes such as Santa Fe Breakfast Burritos, South Carolina Shrimp and Grits, and Nantucket Corn Pudding offer a kitchen-table tour of America's regional riches.
Christian Science Monitor
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780767902014
  • Publisher: Random House, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/1/1999
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 470
  • Product dimensions: 8.36 (w) x 10.34 (h) x 1.55 (d)

Meet the Author

Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison are the authors of numerous travel guides and cookbooks, including the 1996 James Beard Award winner, The Border Cookbook, and the 1995 James Beard Award winner, Smoke and Spice.  Prolific journalists who write for an array of food and travel magazines, the Jamisons live near Santa Fe, New Mexico.
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Read an Excerpt

Onion and Olive Enchiladas

Jacqueline Higuera McMahan, a descendant of the original Spanish settlers in California, grew up eating these unusual enchiladas at family barbecues and breakfasts alike. She recalls them in California Rancho Cooking (1988) as "a favorite of las comidas del pais (the native foods)," and a single serving will show you why.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons fine dried bread crumbs or unbleached all-purpose flour
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons ground dried mild red chiles, such as ancho or New Mexican
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups diced onions
12 large thin flour tortillas
3/4 pound medium to sharp Cheddar cheese, grated (about 3 cups)
3/4 cup sliced pitted water-packed black olives

Prepare the sauce, first warming the oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle in the bread crumbs and brown briefly. Add the garlic, oregano, and chiles. Slowly pour in 4 cups of water, stirring to avoid lumps, and then add the vinegar and salt. Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until somewhat thickened and reduced, 20 to 25 minutes. (The sauce can be made up to several days in advance and refrigerated, covered, or frozen for up to several months. Reheat before proceeding.)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Oil a large baking dish, one that is at least as wide as your tortillas.

Warm the olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions and sauté for 30 minutes, stirringoccasionally. The onions should become translucent and very soft, but not brown. Reduce the heat if needed.

Dip a tortilla into the chile sauce and place it on a plate. Sprinkle about 3 tablespoons of the cheese and 2 tablespoons of the onions down the center of the tortilla. Scatter a couple of teaspoons of olive slices over the onions. Instead of rolling up the tortilla, just fold the tortilla in half. With a spatula, transfer the enchiladas to the baking dish. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and filling ingredients, placing each enchilada so that it overlaps the previous one. Spoon the remaining sauce over the top of the enchiladas. Sprinkle with any remaining cheese or olives.

Bake the enchiladas for 20 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly. (Some tortillas may balloon up a bit as they cook.) Serve immediately.
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Recipes from American Home Cooking

Tomato Soup
Serves 6

Like many Americans today, we grew up on canned tomato soup, never aware that a better version is hardly more complicated than popping the top from the tin container. We still use the old can opener for this rendition, but only on the tomatoes, to make a soup we can enjoy any time of year. We like to sip it on a chilly winter day, between bites of a Golden Grilled Cheese sandwich.

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup minced onion
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
Pinch of baking soda
1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
Two 15-ounce cans crushed tomatoes (preferably a variety labeled "with extra purée"), undrained
1 bay leaf
3 cups half-and-half
Pinch of sugar, optional

Warm the butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in the onion, cover the pan, and sweat the mixture for about 5 minutes, until the onion is quite limp. Stir in the flour and baking soda, and continue cooking uncovered for another minute. Add the stock, tomatoes, bay leaf, and simmer for about 10 minutes longer. (If you wish, the mixture can be puréed in a blender at this point for a silky smooth texture. We've found, though, that we enjoy it with the little nubbins of tomato still intact.) Stir in the half-and-half and salt to taste. Add just the slightest bit of sugar, if you feel the tomato flavor needs to be brightened, and heat through. Remove the bay leaf and serve steaming in mugs or bowls.

Charleston Benne Chicken
Serves 4

Still known in the South Carolina lowcountry by the African name of benne, sesame seeds make a tasty, nutty coating for a variety of foods. Charleston cooks put the ground seeds on catfish, oysters, and chicken, including this style of orange-scented breasts. It's easily the most memorable quick chicken sauté we've ever eaten.

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
Minced zest and juice of 1 large orange
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper plus more for garnish
Pinch of freshly milled black pepper
4 boneless, skinless individual chicken breasts, pounded evenly to no more than 1/2-inch thickness
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3/4 cup chicken stock
1-1/2 tablespoons whipping cream
Orange slices

Blend 1/4 cup of the sesame seeds with the flour in a blender just until a coarse meal forms. Pour the mixture onto a plate and stir into the orange zest, salt, cayenne, and pepper. Set aside 2 tablespoons of the sesame-flour mixture, then pat the chicken breasts with the rest.

Warm the butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the chicken breasts for 4 to 6 minutes per side, until golden brown and just cooked through. Remove the chicken breasts and place them on a platter. Sprinkle the reserved sesame-flour mixture into the pan drippings, stirring to avoid lumps. Whisk in the stock slowly and bring the sauce to a boil. When lightly thickened, pour in the orange juice and cream and heat through.

Spoon the sauce over the chicken breasts. Sprinkle the remaining sesame seeds over the chicken and dust lightly with cayenne. Garnish with orange slices and serve warm.

Apple Crisp
Serves 6 to 8

Irma Rombauer [the original Joy of Cooking author] called this "the best dessert imaginable when made with good cooking apples." It's a stalwart midwestern favorite featuring a German-inspired streusel topping. Few after-dinner treats are both so quick and so memorable.

3 pounds tart apples, such as Jonathan or Granny Smith
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small chunks, well chilled

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter an 8-inch baking dish.

Peel, core, and slice the apples into small chunks. Pile them into the prepared dish. Mix about 2 teaspoons of the flour with the apples.

Combine the remaining flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a food processor, and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture becomes a crumbly meal. Spoon it over the apples evenly, packing it down lightly. Bake the crisp for about 30 minutes, until the topping is crunchy and the apples tender. Serve warm.

Recipes copyright © 1999 by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison. All rights reserved.

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