Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
clayrae

The United States of Arugula: How We Became a Gourmet Nation

Recommended Posts

The United States of Arugula: How We Became a Gourmet Nation

I managed to snag a pre-print version of this book a few months ago. It is essentially the history of foodies and foodie-ism in the United States.

It goes through history pointing out the major players (Beard, Child, and Claiborne), movements, and talks about the rise of the restaurant. The book is very name and date-y, it’s sometimes hard to keep track of who is who (my what an incestuous industry..) but lays out the interesting timeline of how we got to where we are now.

(Where we are now being here, on DR.com, obsessing about food.)

I am ordering another copy, as the preprint version did not have an index (with the list of “important” restaurants) or the bibliography (I fear my next project will be trying collect all of the “important” cookbooks mentioned!)

ETA: I noticed this morning the book is on the cover of the Oct 1 New York Times Book Review...I'll post the link when it is available.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

During lunch yesterday at Poste, I overheard the two couples in the booth behind me ordering. Now, I'm not into chemistry, or mountaineering, or coin collecting, but I think I'd probably know some of the basic terms associated with these activities if I heard them. I wouldn't necessarily know anything more than the simple things, but I'd probably be able to take a good guess.

I was very surprised with the folks at the other table were asking the waiter, "what is arugula?" and "what is manchego?" I'd have thought that these particular ingredients would have moved a bit closer to a novice lexicon, and not just foodie words. Maybe not Foodstuffs 101, mind you, but probably 102. And maybe not in all parts of the country. Hell, Rachael Ray uses the stuff. Isn't that indication of movement to mainstream? Apparently not.

Now, does anyone know where I can gets me some of that mescaline mix? :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had a similar experience on a first date at 2 Amys recently. My date kept asking what kind of meat was on a given pizza. I went through all the meat options, and he insisted I hadn’t answered his question. We went back and forth in confusion for a few minutes till he put the menu down on the table and pointed to the word. It was “arugula.”

He was an otherwise educated, worldly kinda guy, but had no clue what arugula was.

I was sorta shocked. It is interesting how we become blinded by our own “expertise.”

(Of course, I’d probably suffer the same fate if someone asked me something about sports…)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The United States of Arugula: How We Became a Gourmet Nation

I managed to snag a pre-print version of this book a few months ago. It is essentially the history of foodies and foodie-ism in the United States.

---stuff snipped

ETA: I noticed this morning the book is on the cover of the Oct 1 New York Times Book Review...I'll post the link when it is available.

I noticed a guy carrying this on the bus today. Has anyone else read this book? What's the verdict?

(BTW: Love the quote from Booklist)

Then along came, in close succession, an imperious French chef, a couple of gay men, and a remarkably tall, surprisingly telegenic woman.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What's the verdict?
I found it to be well written but hardly revelatory. For those that aren't quite as obsessed as myself with the history of food (and the attendant personalities) in the U.S. over the past few decades, though, it would be a good primer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We went back and forth in confusion for a few minutes till he put the menu down on the table and pointed to the word. It was “arugula.”

At some point in the 80's, there was a wonderful New Yorker cartoon that I had up on my refrigerator for a long time.

Two rabbits are looking out at a garden. One is saying to the other:

"I don't know about you, but I've HAD it with arugula."

This became a standing joke, whenever Jonathan encountered arugula in his "mescaline" mix. After growing it in the garden once or twice, it took up residence as a volunteer in our compost pile, and we never had to plant it on purpose again. We ate a lot of it, and now he can't stand it. I still like it, but I stopped buying "mescaline" mix because I'm tired of picking the arugula out of his portion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...