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THE UNITED STATES OF ARUGULA; How We Became A Gourmet Nation

by David Kamp
Copyright: © 2006
196 Pages
Broadway Books
New York
ISBN: 9780767915793

At a dinner party recently, several of my friends began a lively discussion about celebrity chefs; and one made several allusions to the term, ‘U.S.Arugula’. Later on in the evening, I discovered that he was referencing the book, The United States of Arugula; How We Became A Gourmet Nation by David Kamp. Naturally, I had to know more.

The United States of Arugula is a must-read for serious foodies. The United States of Arugula explores the evolution of high and refined American cuisine from the French influences of Henry Soulé, Antonin Carêne and Auguste Escoffier; to the TV ‘cheflebrities’ we are familiar with today like Emeril Lagasse, Giada DiLaurentiis and Bobby Flay.

Between these bookends, Mr. Kamp extends sassy wit and solid wisdom to highlight the characters, entrees and locations of the American gourmet evolution; such as – James Beard, Julia Child and Craig Claiborne(the critic); through Daniel Boulud andWolfgang Puck; to Alice Waters and the Chez Panisse movement – which sprang from the roots of radical Berkeley and planted ‘California Cuisine’ into American digestive lexicon.

I was enraptured with the rich history and saucy tales of gastric yore. Plainly speaking, The United States of Arugula is an epic, literary tribute to the pioneers and principals who have shaped and upgraded our national, collective palate.

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