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Beignets, Po’ Boys, gumbo, jambalaya, Antoine’s. New Orleans’ celebrated status derives in large measure from its incredibly rich food culture, based mainly on Creole and Cajun traditions. At last, this world-class destination has its own food biography. Elizabeth M. Williams, a New Orleans native and founder of the Southern Food and Beverage Museum there, takes readers through the history of the city, showing how the natural environment and people have shaped the cooking we all love. The narrative starts with the indigenous population, resources and environment, then reveals the contributions of the immigrant populations, major industries, marketing networks, and retail and major food industries and finally discusses famous restaurants and signature dishes. This must-have book will inform and delight food aficionados and fans of the Big Easy itself.
More than just food carts and microbrews, Portland has a story to tell. Its culinary history sings the song of the salmon-people, the pioneers and immigrants, each struggling to make this strange but inviting land between the Pacific and the Cascades feel like home. Portland: A Food Biography chronicles the Rose City’s rise from a Wild West outpost — a diminutive extension of San Francisco — to the critical darling of the national food scene.
Chicago began as a frontier town on the edge of white settlement and as the product of removal of culturally rich and diverse indigenous populations. The town grew into a place of speculation with the planned building of the Illinois and Michigan canal, a boomtown, and finally a mature city of immigrants from both overseas and elsewhere in the US. In this environment, cultures mixed, first at the taverns around Wolf Point, where the forks of the Chicago River join, and later at the jazz and other clubs along the “Stroll” in the black belt, and in the storefront ethnic restaurants of today. Chicago was the place where the transcontinental railroads from the West and the “trunk” roads from the East met. Many downtown restaurants catered specifically to passengers transferring from train to train between one of the five major downtown railroad stations. This also led to “destination” restaurants, where Hollywood stars and their onlookers would dine during overnight layovers between trains. At the same time, Chicago became the candy capital of the US and a leading city for national conventions, catering to the many participants looking for a great steak and atmosphere. Beyond hosting conventions and commerce, Chicagoans also simply needed to eat—safely and relatively cheaply. Chicago grew amazingly fast, becoming the second largest city in the US in 1890. Chicago itself and its immediate surrounding area was also the site of agriculture, both producing food for the city and for shipment elsewhere. Within the city, industrial food manufacturers prospered, highlighted by the meat processors at the Chicago stockyards, but also including candy makers such as Brach’s and Curtiss, and companies such as Kraft Foods. At the same time, large markets for local consumption emerged. The food biography of Chicago is a story of not just culture, economics, and innovation, but also a history of regulation and regulators, as they protected Chicago’s food supply and built Chicago into a city where people not only come to eat, but where locals rely on the availability of safe food and water. With vivid details and stories of local restaurants and food, Block and Rosing reveal Chicago to be one of the foremost eating destinations in the country.
New Orleans' celebrated status derives in large measure from its incredibly rich food culture, based mainly on Creole and Cajun traditions. At last, this world-class destination has its own food biography.
San Francisco is a relatively young city with a well-deserved reputation as a food destination, situated near lush farmland and a busy port. San Francisco's famous restaurant scene has been the subject of books but the full complexity of the city's culinary history is revealed here for the first time. This food biography presents the story of how food traveled from farms to markets, from markets to kitchens, and from kitchens to tables, focusing on how people experienced the bounty of the City by the Bay.
New York City’s first food biography showcases all the vibrancy, innovation, diversity, influence, and taste of this most-celebrated American metropolis. Its cuisine has developed as a lively potluck supper, where discrete culinary traditions have survived, thrived, and interacted. For almost 400 years New York’s culinary influence has been felt in other cities and communities worldwide. New York’s restaurants, such as Delmonico’s, created and sustained haute cuisine in this country. Grocery stores and supermarkets that were launched here became models for national food distribution. More cookbooks have been published in New York than in all other American cities combined. Foreign and “fancy” foods, including hamburgers, pizza, hot dogs, Waldorf salad, and baked Alaska, were introduced to Americans through New York’s colorful street vendors, cooks, and restaurateurs. As Smith shows here, the city’s ever-changing culinary life continues to fascinate and satiate both natives and visitors alike.
In the last four centuries of its history, the inhabitants of Rio de Janeiro created a lifestyle that is unique and has been much admired since the very first travelers published their impressions in the sixteenth century. Indeed, this international hot spot welcomes approximately 1.8 million tourists every year who come to the city to visit, to work, to study, and to eat. It was and it is a place of cultural and artistic creativity, and it has largely kept concealed one of its most interesting cultural traits: its food. Rio de Janeiro: A Food Biography unveils the high quality and variety of Rio’s fresh produce, the special dishes served in parties or at home, and the very traditional ones inherited from the immigrants who made the culture of the city as varied as its food. Starting with a history of the city and its native plants and animals, Marcia Zoladz offers a rich and sumptuous tour of the culture, the people, and the foods they cook, dine on, love, and enjoy. From fish soup to caipirinha, the culinary traditions come alive through an exploration of the festivals, the people, the places, and the hot-spots that continue to draw people from around the world to this world-class destination.
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