Ruth Reichl on American Food

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The Puritans got modern American cuisine off to a bad start. But the food writer and critic says subsequent immigrants have helped create a culture where food is appreciated

Three of the books you’ve chosen are heavily focused on, and influenced by, France. One is by an Italian immigrant. Isn’t our topic American food?

I do think of these very much as American food books. American food is the food of immigrants. You go back a couple of hundred years and we were all immigrants, unless we’re going to talk about Native American cuisine. And for much of the early part of the 20th century, Americans were slavishly following French cooking. So it’s not an accident that Alice B Toklas and AJ Liebling were focused on France.

Why did people slavishly follow French cuisine?


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