The Remarkable People and Incredible Stories
Behind America’s Favorite Dishes
Author: David Page
Wednesday, May 11, 6:00 PM
What is American cuisine? What national menu do we share? What dishes have we chosen, how did they become “American,” and how are they likely to evolve from here? Food Americana, answers all these questions and more.
From David Page, two-time Emmy-winning television producer and creator of the ground-breaking Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Food Americana, is a highly entertaining mix of food culture, pop culture, nostalgia, incredible personalities, and everything new on the American plate.
Food Americana is the inside story of how Americans have formed a national cuisine from a world of flavors—from lox and bagels to sushi, tacos to pizza, and on and on—and how that process continues today. Each chapter concludes with a classic recipe. It’s a riveting ride into every aspect of what we eat and why, filled with eye-opening information, revealing anecdotes, and a healthy serving of humor.
Food Americana includes conversations with some of the most significant people in food, including multi-Michelin-starred chef Daniel Boulud, farm to table legend Chef Alice Waters, pizza pioneer Chris Bianco, co-founder of Lender’s Bagels Marvin Lender, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s Jerry Greenfield, Five Guys founder Jerry Murrell, food journalism legend Ruth Reichl, celebrity butcher Pat LaFrieda, and Chinese food pioneer Cecilia Chiang, shortly before she passed away at 100. And he’s not famous for food, but Hollywood legend Mel Brooks adds his thoughts on lox.
Each chapter introduces remarkable and colorful characters, from the woman running a sushi bar in an Oklahoma gas station, to the transplanted New Englander introducing Utah to lobster rolls, to the mad scientist ice cream maker whose creativity is limited only by the number of hands he can fit around the ice cream freezer to add more ingredients (so far, the record is thirteen), to the chef re-inventing traditional Chinese food—at five hundred dollars per person, to the Popeyes executive who gives a minute by minute timeline of the day he launched the Chicken Sandwich War of 2019 with one snarky tweet.
Food Americana gives readers a taste of everywhere, from pizza school in San Francisco, to a lobstering boat off the coast of Maine, to the national Buffalo Chicken Wing Festival, to the Memphis in May barbecue competition, to the Brooklyn smokehouse making more smoked salmon than anyone else to help fuel America’s obsession with bagels (Dunkin’ Donuts sells the most).
And it explores the latest trends in American food including artisanal pizza; handmade ice cream; regional foods of China and Mexico; Nashville Hot Chicken; the upscaling of barbecue, burgers, and bagels; sushi as comfort food; even the resurgence of American caviar (once so abundant it was given away free to encourage drinking at bars).
ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos sums up Food Americana this way: “Terrific food journalism. Page uncovers the untold backstories of American food. A great read.”
The Alexander Joseph Kaufman Author Series is dedicated by Sherryl and Michael Kaufman in memory of Michael’s younger brother, Alexander.