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Buttermilk Graffiti: A Chef's Journey to Discover America's New Melting-Pot Cuisine

Buttermilk Graffiti: A Chef's Journey to Discover America's New Melting-Pot Cuisine

by Edward Lee


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Winner, 2019 James Beard Award for Best Book of the Year in Writing

Finalist, 2019 IACP Award, Literary Food Writing

Named a Best Food Book of the Year by the Boston Globe, Smithsonian, BookRiot, and more
Semifinalist, Goodreads Choice Awards

“Thoughtful, well researched, and truly moving. Shines a light on what it means to cook and eat American food, in all its infinitely nuanced and ever-evolving glory.”
—Anthony Bourdain

American food is the story of mash-ups. Immigrants arrive, cultures collide, and out of the push-pull come exciting new dishes and flavors. But for Edward Lee, who, like Anthony Bourdain or Gabrielle Hamilton, is as much a writer as he is a chef, that first surprising bite is just the beginning. What about the people behind the food? What about the traditions, the innovations, the memories?

A natural-born storyteller, Lee decided to hit the road and spent two years uncovering fascinating narratives from every corner of the country. There’s a Cambodian couple in Lowell, Massachusetts, and their efforts to re-create the flavors of their lost country. A Uyghur café in New York’s Brighton Beach serves a noodle soup that seems so very familiar and yet so very exotic—one unexpected ingredient opens a window onto an entirely unique culture. A beignet from Café du Monde in New Orleans, as potent as Proust’s madeleine, inspires a narrative that tunnels through time, back to the first Creole cooks, then forward to a Korean rice-flour hoedduck and a beignet dusted with matcha.

Sixteen adventures, sixteen vibrant new chapters in the great evolving story of American cuisine. And forty recipes, created by Lee, that bring these new dishes into our own kitchens.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781579659004
Publisher: Artisan
Publication date: 03/05/2019
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 225,670
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Edward Lee is the author of Smoke & Pickles; chef/owner of 610 Magnolia, MilkWood, and Whiskey Dry in Louisville, Kentucky; and culinary director of Succotash in National Harbor, Maryland, and Penn Quarter, Washington, DC. He appears frequently in print and on television, including earning an Emmy nomination for his role in the Emmy Award–winning series The Mind of a Chef. Most recently, he wrote and hosted the feature documentary Fermented. He lives in Louisville and Washington, DC, and you can find him on Instagram and Twitter @chefedwardlee.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 Pilgrimage for a Beignet 11

Chapter 2 The Pugilist and the Cook 27

Chapter 3 The Unfamiliar Noodle 46

Chapter 4 The Accidental Fast 65

Chapter 5 Exile and Cigars 85

Chapter 6 Slaw Dogs and Pepperoni Rolls 102

Chapter 7 A Kibbeh in Clarksdale 121

Chapter 8 Matriarchs of Montgomery 140

Chapter 9 A Lesson in Smen 157

Chapter 10 Death and Aquavit 175

Chapter 11 Trawling for Shrimp 193

Chapter 12 The Immortality of Paterson 212

Chapter 13 Nigerina Hustle 230

Chapter 14 German Mustard 250

Chapter 15 The Palace of Pastrami 271

Chapter 16 A Tale of Two Cornbreads 293

Epilogue 309

Acknowledgments 311

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