Ten Restaurants That Changed America

Ten Restaurants That Changed America

by Paul Freedman, Danny Meyer
     
 

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From Delmonico’s to Sylvia’s to Chez Panisse, a daring and original history of dining out in America as told through ten legendary restaurants.
Combining a historian’s rigor with a foodie ’s palate, Ten Restaurants That Changed America reveals how the history of our restaurants reflects nothing less than the history of America itself.

Overview

From Delmonico’s to Sylvia’s to Chez Panisse, a daring and original history of dining out in America as told through ten legendary restaurants.
Combining a historian’s rigor with a foodie ’s palate, Ten Restaurants That Changed America reveals how the history of our restaurants reflects nothing less than the history of America itself. Whether charting the rise of our love affair with Chinese food through San Francisco’s fabled The Mandarin, evoking the richness of Italian food through Mamma Leone’s, or chronicling the rise and fall of French haute cuisine through Henri Soulé’s Le Pavillon, food historian Paul Freedman uses each restaurant to tell a wider story of race and class, immigration and assimilation. Freedman also treats us to a scintillating history of the then-revolutionary Schrafft’s, a chain of convivial lunch spots that catered to women, and that bygone favorite, Howard Johnson’s, which pioneered midcentury, on-the-road dining, only to be swept aside by McDonald's. Lavishly designed with more than 100 photographs and images, including original menus, Ten Restaurants That Changed America is a significant and highly entertaining social history.

Editorial Reviews

Molly O'Neill
“The most important and entertaining book on the subject of food that I’ve read in years! Paul Freedman paints a portrait of a culture whose cuisine is only beginning to emerge. Witty, sensitive, surprisingly sensuous—more, please!”
Frederick Kaufman
“Paul Freedman, one of the world’s most learned food writers, has focused his extraordinary scholarship on a deconstruction of American dining from the corner deli to Chez Panisse. If you enjoy a brown paper bag of fried clams as much as a fourteen-course tasting menu, and ever wondered how it all came to be a part of daily American life, this is the book for you. Ten Restaurants That Changed America is the most enlightening kind of history, as Freedman takes a fresh look at what we take for granted and reveals the extraordinary matrix of cultural and culinary currents that have made it all possible.”
Joyce E. Chaplin
“Pleasure without snobbery: Paul Freedman’s book is itself exactly what the very best American food has always been.”
Fabio Parasecoli
“Spanning over 100 years, Paul Freedman’s engrossing and well-researched exploration of the restaurant as an American institution presents us with a gallery of unforgettable characters, iconic dishes, and unique places. Immigrants, entrepreneurs, chefs, and impresarios all loom large in a narrative that accurately tracks the historical changes in how we eat in public.”
Library Journal
08/01/2016
This eminently readable food history charts the course of U.S. culture through familiar restaurants such as Chez Panisse in Berkeley, CA; Delmonico's and the Four Seasons in New York; Harlem, NY, staple Sylvia's; Antoine's in New Orleans; former candy chain Schrafft's; San Francisco's the Mandarin; and fast food chain Howard Johnson. According to Freedman (history, Yale Univ.; Out of the East), these eateries defined how we dine today. The author devotes a chapter to each of the restaurants, describing how they came to be popular and how that success translated into a larger societal impact. Packed with photos and menus, the book further includes an appendix with recipes. VERDICT In a narrative that is intellectually delicious, Freedman presents a new way of thinking about "you are what you eat." This will appeal widely, engaging readers with both a casual or scholarly interest in food history and its influence on American culture in the late 19th and 20th centuries.—Courtney McDonald, Indiana Univ. Libs., Bloomington
Kirkus Reviews
2016-07-19
A robust historical trek through America’s restaurant cuisine over three centuries.Rather than a mere listing of the 10 best restaurants in the country, Freedman (History/Yale Univ.; Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination, 2008, etc.) establishes these 10 as significant representatives of specific times, places, and trends in American culture. Delightfully illustrated with menus, photos, and other visual accompaniments, the narrative delves into each of the 10 restaurants’ unique stories, beginning with America’s first restaurant, Delmonico’s, which “would offer impeccable French cuisine worthy of Paris.” Opened in 1827 in New York City, “it set a pattern for what fine dining meant for the nineteenth century and had many worthy and successful imitators.” The author also recounts the story of Antoine’s in New Orleans; how the many branches of Schrafft’s courted women customers while expanding middle-class restaurant options; and why the rise of automobile travel created the need for consistent meals at reasonable prices and how Howard Johnson successfully filled this need and led to the concept of franchising. Freedman tracks the demise of the reverence for French food and the rise of the power lunch, and he shows how the mass migration of African-Americans from the South led to the hunger for what became known as “soul food.” The author concludes with a chapter detailing the still-reverberating changes in the food world wrought by Alice Waters and Chez Panisse, where “the combination of uniquely delicious food and barely controlled chaos would remain a constant for decades.” For those intrepid readers wanting more tasty tidbits, Freedman includes a selected bibliography, dozens of notes, and an appendix containing such classic recipes as Sylvia’s Boiled String Beans with Ham or Chez Panisse’s Curly Endive, Radicchio, and Fuyu Persimmon Salad. Culinary historians, those besotted with food culture, and curious general readers will all find something of value in this well-researched, entertaining social and cultural history.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780871406804
Publisher:
Liveright Publishing Corporation
Publication date:
09/20/2016
Pages:
560
Sales rank:
25,833
Product dimensions:
7.50(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.80(d)

Meet the Author

Paul Freedmanis a history professor at Yale University. The editor of the ICP Award–winning Food: The
History of Taste and the author of Out of the East: Spices and the
Medieval Imagination, he lives in Pelham, New York.

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