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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
True American regional cuisine is as diverse as the country itself, and it's well celebrated here in this collection from the Art Institutes, with more than 250 authentic recipes, from Carolina Pulled Pork and New England Chowder to San Francisco Cioppino.
Produced by the Culinary Arts programs at the Art Institutes, American Regional Cuisine highlights the history, culture, and recipes of 11 separate regions, from New England and the Mid-Atlantic to "Floribbean" to California and Hawaii. Each section leads off with a historical overview, followed by a section of typical regional ingredients and dishes. This sounds a bit academic, but it turned out to be one of my favorite features, for the authors go far beyond the predictable. For New England, for example, the list of indigenous ingredients ranges from apples (first apple orchard, 1625) to the Fig Newton (created in 1891, named after the town of Newton, Massachusetts) to Necco Wafers (first appearance, 1849), and Vermont Cheddar Cheese. In the section on California and Hawaii, you can learn the origin of the French Dip (the house specialty of Philippe's, a Los Angeles restaurant dating back to 1908) or the Smoothie (invented during the health craze in California in the 1950s). Who knew?
This book is best suited for adventurous home cooks with good skills or for restaurant professionals looking to expand the menu. (The recipe for Green Chile Corn Bread, for example, tells you to add one ounce of chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded, and finely diced, but assumes you need no instruction to wear rubber gloves.) Each recipe also includes pointers for food-handling safety, with basic critical control points for the cooling, reheating, holding, and storing of food. (Ginger Curwen)