The American Plate by Libby O’Connell (Sourcebooks, December 2014) captures the essence of American cooking throughout by highlighting dishes that were essential or popular throughout history. It is truly American history meets foodie, and I love the end result.
Beginning with the “Three Sisters” (Maize, beans, and squash), Ms O’Connell then explores the other sometimes unique tastes that made up America: venison, beaver tail, eel, oxtail stew, and oysters. Many of the dishes are not unique to America, but rather highlight a specific era in its history, such as tea and coffee, ice cream, or Civil War solider’s rations. It’s amazing to see how events impact food and food likewise impacted events throughout American history! The most recent eras include pizza, microwave popcorn, SPAM, and salsa, among others.
Interspersed with the historical highlights and tidbits and facts are dozens of recipes from the era discussed. While I cannot imagine making most of them, it was fascinating indeed to see the evolution of food, taste, and history. The American Plate is the perfect book for historian or foodie alike!
Note: I received a digital copy of this book for review consideration.