Real Beer and Good Eats: The Rebirth of America's Beer and Food Traditionsby Bruce Aidells, Denis Kelly
A cookbook for beer lovers and much, much more. In Real Beer & Good Eats, Bruce Aidells and Denis Kelly take you on an exhilarating beer and food odyssey into the heart of America, tasting the rich new full-bodied beers and ales that are being produced by small breweries today and sampling delicious foods that go with good suds. Along the way, they tell you the story of American beer, from the founding fathers (who refused to tax what they called "liquid bread") and Washington and Jefferson (who both brewed their own) to the heyday of beer gardens and neighborhood saloons.
The renaissance of good beer-making that is sweeping the country brings with it a new interest in foods that go well with beer. The 175 recipes that Aidells and Kelly bring together here reflect the great American regional dishes and traditional saloon fare, as well as the cooking of brewpub chefs who are creating a new beer cuisine.
Typical of brewing days in early America Pickled Oysters, Smoked Trout Pate, Chestnut-Stuffed Quail with Sweet Stout Gravy
A sampling of the pub grub of old-time saloons Edy's Soft Pretzels, Beer and Onion Soup, Deviled Oxtail
From the Northwest, an ale lover's paradise Bainbridge Island Smoked Fish Chowder, Cornish Hens in Stout, a Chocolate Porter Cake
From California, with its Steam Beer and new Dark Ale Duck and Roasted Walnut Salad, Beef Brisket with Lemon and Spices
From the Midwest, to go with its new, richer lagers Wisconsin Cheese and Beer Soup, Pork Shoulder Braised in Bock, Hungarian Lecso
From the Northeast, to go with, perhaps, a Samuel Adams or a Vermont Catamount a Friday-night fish fry, Lobster Rolls, Cotechino Sausage with White Beans
From the Deep South, where they're producing a Blackened Voodoo Lager Shrimp Boiled in Beer and Spices, a Fried Eggplant Muffuletta
From the Southwest Adobo Chicken Wings, tamales, quesadillas
With every dish, the authors recommend specific good local beers and ales, both for imbibing and for cooking, describing the character of each and its affinity for a particular food. At the back of the book you'll find an explanation of exactly how beer is made, definitions and examples of beer styles the world over, and instructions for brewing beer at home.
Beer is the beverage of celebration in America from picnics and block parties to baseball games and clambakes. And it is always tied to food, as Aidells and Kelly make abundantly clear in this delightful book.
Beer is the beverage of celebration, of the shared harvest and communal prosperity. It's what we drink at town festivals and picnics in the park, beach parties and block parties, family reunions and friendly get-togethers. From the Goddess of Beer to Spuds McKenzie, on Oktoberfest or the Fourth of July, at Sunday afternoon baseball or Alderman Riley's reelection, beer is the drink of parties and holidays, the ritual substance that unites us all.
And beer in America is always tied to food. A hot dog at the stadium or clambake on Cape Cod, a barbecue with the neighbors or the Sheboygan bratwurst festival: all are incomplete without foaming mugs of beer to accompany the feast.
Beer itself is, after all, a form of food. When asked about taxing beer, one of our founding fathers objected, "Sirrah, it is liquid bread!" And indeed it is: the first food purity laws date from the Babylonian lawgiver Hammurabi's time and condemn brewers who make bad beer to be thrown into the river. The Bavarian Rheinheitsgebot (Purity Law) of 1516 is still in effect and ensures that only grain, yeast, hops, and pure water be used to brew beer.
Beer is basically fermented grain and is nourishing in and of itself. Early sailors carried it aboard ship to drink in place of foul water and to prevent scurvy. It is said that beer, bread, and onions built Egypt's pyramids. The Vikings brewed a special Portage Ale to give them strength for the great portage around Kiev. Beer was an essential part of the diet of the European peasant from time immemorial. And it was, especially in northern Europe, England, and early America, the beverage of choice at the table.
In colonial America beer was drunk at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and a ration of beer was part of the everyday wages of the agricultural laborer. Beer accompanied everything from the plowman's simple lunch of bread and cheese to the most elaborate banquet menus in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia.
Meet the Author
Bruce Aidells and Denis Kelly are the authors of Hot Links & Country Flavors, the first book in the Knopf Cooks American series. Aidells is the chef-owner of the Aidells Sausage Company, and both authors, who live in the San Francisco Bay Area, have traveled widely in the United States to explore American food and drink.
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