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It's All American Food: The Best Recipes for More than 400 New American Classics

It's All American Food: The Best Recipes for More than 400 New American Classics

by David Rosengarten

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Rosengarten may have begun his career in gourmet fashion on the Food Network, but here he revels in the recidivist pleasures of "American" food: everything from All-Purpose Bright Red Tomato Sauce to Chinese-Restaurant Spareribs and Philly Cheesesteak. This titanic homage to our nation's wildly varied culinary roots values comfort over refinement, but fortunately comforts are in plentiful supply. Rosengarten can find something to love even in an unreconstructed Shrimp Egg Foo Yung, and harkens back fondly to the 1950s, that much-maligned golden era when immigrant cooking found its way to the American palate. Flavor comes first here-garlic by the half cup; the ringing phrase: "2 pounds lard." There are deep-fry favorites (Calamari, Falafel, Scrapple), long-cooked ones (Boston Baked Beans, Flanken) and classics like Shrimp Cocktail, The Ultimate BLT and, of course, Apple Pie. Every major hyphenated-American cuisine-Italian, Chinese, Thai, Indian, Mexican-has a place, as well as several less-established ones (e.g., Argentinean, Russian). Because of his respect for all traditions, no matter how strangely altered or distanced from their roots, Rosengarten manages to avoid snobbery-both traditional and reverse-altogether. His slightly goofy prose ("Call me Ishmael, but I'm convinced that the great informing influence of New England cuisine is the sea") is a perfect match for this gut-rumbling, mouth-watering, heartfelt tribute. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Rosengarten (Taste; The Dean & DeLuca Cookbook) turns his attention to everyday American cooking, including the humblest dishes, i.e., "what Americans really like to eat, which isn't often celebrated." He divides his book into three main sections: "Ethnic America," "Regional America," and "Classic America." Rosengarten decries "the denigration of adapted ethnic foods," and many of the recipes in Part 1 are Americanized rather than truly authentic: Brooklyn-Italian Meat Sauce, for example, or Crowded Paella, a sort of kitchen-sink version. The regions featured in Part 2 are something of a mix of locales and styles, from New England to Pennsylvania Dutch to Dixie. And "Classic America" includes recipes for what Rosengarten calls "core American food," dishes enjoyed across the country, not just in ethnic neighborhoods or individual regions. The author's task was a rather daunting one, and certain ethnic cuisines are sadly underrepresented here-just five recipes for Jewish food and only three dishes from Scandinavia. Nevertheless, this is a fascinating guide to the diverse cuisines that make up American food. For most collections. [Good Cook Book Club main selection.] Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
7.50(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.04(d)

Read an Excerpt

It's All American Food

By David Rosengarten

Little, Brown

Copyright © 2003 David Rosengarten
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-316-05315-5

Chapter One


There's nothing all-purpose about this sauce: you serve it on pasta when you want a few ladlefuls of liquid meat! It is exactly what I grew up with in Brooklyn, when the choice at most Italian restaurants for spaghetti sauce was tomato sauce or meat sauce. Later we all learned that this meat sauce has its roots in the renowned Bolognese ragu. But you'd never mistake one for the other. The ancestor from Bologna has a mix of meats in it (sometimes including chicken liver), and much less meat. This Brooklyn-Italian meat sauce has tons of ground beef alone-and, after an hour or so of cooking, a surprising amount of wonderful, hearty flavor.

Yield: About 3 quarts

2 tablespoons olive oil 1/2 cup finely minced garlic 1/2 pound onions, peeled and finely minced 1 carrot, peeled and finely minced 1 stalk celery, finely minced 3 pounds ground beef Salt 2 (28-ounce) cans of tomatoes in juice 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste 1 teaspoon sugar 2 tablespoons dried oregano

1. Place the olive oil in a large, heavy Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and onions and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the carrot and celery and sauté, stirring occasionally, for another 5 minutes.

2. Push vegetables to one side of the pot and add about one-third of the ground beef Salt the beef to taste. Cook until starting to brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir the beef occasionally, breaking it up as you do. Push it to the side (or over the vegetables) and repeat with the second third of the beef After that starts to brown, push it aside and repeat with the remainder of the beef When all the beef is done, mix the beef and vegetables together.

3. Add the tomatoes with their juice to the pot. Add the tomato paste, sugar, and oregano. Mix well. Simmer for 1-1/2 hours, stirring occasionally, breaking up the tomatoes against the side of the pot as you do.

4. When the sauce is done cooking, season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, or freeze


One of the handiest things to have in your dessert repertoire is a fast, easy, reliable, delicious chocolate cake-and that's exactly what the following recipe gives you. You can serve it just as it is-or you can embellish it with your favorite frosting. You can make two of these cakes and put a layer of buttercream between them. You can serve the cake with ice cream, with whipped cream, with mascarpone, with fruit. You can also freeze it, and serve it next month. One of the secrets to its good nature is the inclusion of mayonnaise-yes, Hellmann's(r), or another good brand! The great news is that mayo, though undetectable as mayo in the finished product, adds a lovely mouth feel to any chocolate cake. The following recipe uses a little butter, milk, egg-and mayo-to devastatingly delicious effect.

Yield: 8 servings

1 tablespoon unsalted butter 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour 1 cup sugar l cup good-quality mayonnaise, such as Hellmann's(r) 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 2 cups cake flour 1/2 cup cocoa powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 3 large eggs 1 cup whole milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 by 8 by 2-inch baking dish with the butter. Sprinkle evenly with the all-purpose flour. Set aside.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, beat the sugar, mayonnaise, and vanilla with a whisk until blended.

3. In another bowl, sift together the cake flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.

4. In another bowl, beat the eggs lightly, then add the milk, whisking to blend.

5. Whisking slowly, add one-third of the flour mixture to the mayonnaise mixture. Add half of the egg-milk mixture, whisking, then another third of the flour mixture. Keep whisking, then finish with the remaining half of the egg mixture, and the last third of the flour mixture.

6. Pour into the prepared baking dish and bake for about 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool on a rack.


When a Cajun friend mentioned this wonderful but little-known dish to me, I had the wrong idea-for this is not a "bread" at all. It's more like a gratin, or a soufflé. It's really most like a killer casserole that's crispy on top, soft and warm and sweet within. It's an amazing side dish in a Louisiana meal, particularly with fish, chicken, and sausage dishes.

Yield: 8-12 side-dish servings

1 cup yellow cornmeal 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 2 extra-large eggs, beaten 1/2 cup vegetable oil 1/2 pound cheddar cheese, grated 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped 2 to 3 jalapeno peppers (depending on taste), seeded and finely chopped 1 (8-ounce) can of corn niblets, drained 1 (8-ounce) can of cream-style corn 1 pound cooked and peeled crawfish tails or substitute 1 pound small shrimp, peeled and boiled 1 cup whole milk

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Mix all ingredients well in a large bowl. Pour mixture into a 9 by 13-inch glass dish, making sure it's spread out evenly. Bake in oven until the top is brown and puffy, about 45 minutes. Cut into squares and serve hot.


Excerpted from It's All American Food by David Rosengarten Copyright ©2003 by David Rosengarten. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are Saying About This

Jacques Pépin
David gives us the best possible versions of regional, classic, and ethnic specialties...
PBS-TV personality, cookbook author, and cooking teacher
Daniel Boulud
David Rosengarten has done this job exceedingly well...fascinating, well researched, and full of delicious recipes is an added plus.
author of Letters to a Young Chef

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