Bernard Clayton's Cooking Across America

Bernard Clayton's Cooking Across America

by Bernard Clayton
     
 

On the day Bernard Clayton and his wife, Marje, decided to take to the road in search of North America's best cooks, he posted this brief note on the wall above his typewriter:

This will be more than a book or recipes. I am as interested in the cook as a person as I am in the thorough step-by-step presentation of the recipe. I believe these together have been

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Overview

On the day Bernard Clayton and his wife, Marje, decided to take to the road in search of North America's best cooks, he posted this brief note on the wall above his typewriter:

This will be more than a book or recipes. I am as interested in the cook as a person as I am in the thorough step-by-step presentation of the recipe. I believe these together have been the principal reasons readers have found pleasure in reading and cooking with my books.

For three years, this sentiment defined their days. Driving a GMC van, they set out on the odyssey of a lifetime--what Clayton, a veteran news reporter and foreign correspondent author, often called a "dream assignment." In the beginning, Clayton thought the search would be difficult, but he found that every community is as proud of its good cooks as it is of the town band or the high school basketball team. They met a Louisiana counter cook, a many-starred chef in Santa Fe, and a Miss Indian America in Butte; a Jackson Hole dude-ranch cook, a cooking-school teacher in San Francisco, and the mistress of a bed-and-breakfast in the California desert; a baker in upstate New York, a Pillsbury Bake-Off finalist in Salt Lake City, and a Mississippi steamboat chef. And food was just as diverse as the personalities: Pueblo Chili Fritters, Dewberry Cobbler, and Chicken Jerusalem; Shrimp and Feta Greek-style Pizza, Spoon Bread Souffle, and Ice Cream Muffins; Apple-Walnut Pancakes, Mushroom Strudel, and Semolina and Ale Bread.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Author Clayton ( The Complete Book of Breads ) spent three years criss-crossing America and parts of Canada, meeting with cooks, bakers, restaurateurs and caterers and getting them to part with their favorite recipes. Their fame is local, spread by devoted customers or friends, but they have two things in common: an infectious enthusiasm about food and a devotion to good cooking, whether it is caramel cake made for a family reunion or country salmon pie offered by a Northwest restaurant. Clayton provides a sketch of every gastronome he encountered and notes his or her drift in food and cooking. Most favor hearty home cooking, from the breads to the meatballs. As Clayton comments, there is no one theme to American cooking; rather, it is a patchwork, reflecting regional, ethnic and sentimental influences. One could even say that his collection is in itself a melting pot. Those looking for the quick and easy had best steer clear of it, though--there are few short-cuts. Still, anyone who wants to learn to make good food from scratch would do well to start here. Better Homes & Gardens Book Club main selection; BOMC Homestyle Book Club alternate. (Apr.)
Library Journal - Library Journal
Clayton, author of numerous cookbooks including Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads (S. & S., 1987), crisscrossed the United States (and ventured into Canada) seeking out the ``best'' cooks--sometimes restaurant chefs but more often talented home cooks discovered by local word of mouth. The author was accompanied by his wife (and their dog), and the narration has a folksy, homespun feel that is accentuated by black-and-white snapshots of the people they encountered. A family reunion yielded recipes for Happy Chicken and Caramel Cake; the Swedish community of Lindsbord, Kansas, provided Cardamom Braid and Meatballs. Pierre Franey's Cooking in America ( LJ 4/15/92) is a more sophisticated account of a similar odyssey , but Clayton's just-folks version is sure to be widely popular. Better Homes & Garden main selection; Homestyle Books alternate
Barbara Jacobs
This compendium of 250 recipes, gathered from travels across North America (British Columbia and Saskatchewan, along with the U.S.), is offered with a great deal of admiration and respect for unsung kitchen chefs. Clayton captures the 101 personalities behind the recipes and imparts the flavor of such towns as Gulf Shores, Alabama, and Lusby, Maryland. Regional favorites (e.g., crab cakes, barbecue, and key lime pie) are, of course, integral to the collection, as are such gastronomic surprises as Hungarian nokkedli (tiny egg dumplings) in Crown Point, Indiana; caramel cinnamon flan from a Basque-born Boise, Idaho, ranch cook; and kolackes in Wilson, Kansas.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780671672904
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
03/02/1993
Pages:
588

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