Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine
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Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine


This unique culinary history of America offers a fascinating look at our past and uses long-forgotten recipes to explain how eight flavors changed how we eat.

The United States boasts a culturally and ethnically diverse population which makes for a continually changing culinary landscape. But a young historical gastronomist named Sarah Lohman discovered that American food is united by eight flavors: black pepper, vanilla, curry powder, chili powder, soy sauce, garlic, MSG, and Sriracha. In Eight Flavors, Lohman sets out to explore how these influential ingredients made their way to the American table.

She begins in the archives, searching through economic, scientific, political, religious, and culinary records. She pores over cookbooks and manuscripts, dating back to the eighteenth century, through modern standards like How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. Lohman discovers when each of these eight flavors first appear in American kitchens—then she asks why.

Eight Flavors introduces the explorers, merchants, botanists, farmers, writers, and chefs whose choices came to define the American palate. Lohman takes you on a journey through the past to tell us something about our present, and our future. We meet John Crowninshield, a New England merchant who traveled to Sumatra in the 1790s in search of black pepper. And Edmond Albius, a twelve-year-old slave who lived on an island off the coast of Madagascar, who discovered the technique still used to pollinate vanilla orchids today. Weaving together original research, historical recipes, gorgeous illustrations and Lohman’s own adventures both in the kitchen and in the field, Eight Flavors is a delicious treat—ready to be devoured.

Title:Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:288 pages

    Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine Reviews

  • Navidad Thelamour
    Oct 04, 2016

    Sarah Lohman’s Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine offers an eclectic and thought-provoking survey into American culinary culture and palettes. She traces our culinary roots and, thr...

  • John
    Apr 27, 2017

    Every time the author mentioned some of her friends, I grew more envious that I am not one of them. I think she has to be one of the most interesting writers I've run across. In addition to writing, s...

  • Patty
    Jul 27, 2016

    A nonfiction book about the history of American cooking. Lohman organizes the book around eight popular flavors, arranged chronologically as to their appearance in mainstream American food: black pepp...

  • Ariela
    Feb 12, 2017

    Enjoyed this unique take on history, food and the immigrant story. Not sure the author's thesis that these flavors were any more important than others really holds up, but the stories of each of the f...

  • Jennifer Stringer
    May 09, 2017

    I actually really enjoyed this book, despite my husband's teasing about its "riveting" subject matter. In this book the author walks us through the introduction of certain flavors in US cuisine. Begin...

  • Geoff
    Mar 15, 2017

    An eye opening look (we have Martha Washington's cookbook ! It has a recipe for pepper molasses cookies! Ketchup was a replacement for hard to get soy sauce!) at how different flavors have been incorp...

  • Allen Adams
    Jan 08, 2017

    http://www.themaineedge.com/style/eig...In a lot of circumstances, eight isn’t a particularly high number. But according to a new book, the foundation of American cuisine through the centuries can b...

  • Aliza Cotton
    May 05, 2017

    Very well researched, combined historical facts with good recipes...

  • Whitney
    Jan 26, 2017

    I found the history of the foods mentioned in this book interesting, but what I loved was the cultural diversity throughout the book. That really is what makes America so great and has been in our DNA...

  • Robin
    May 31, 2017

    Read this after hearing the author speak at a very unique event in Providence, RI. Providence Public Library, Lippitt House and the RI Historical Society all teamed up to offer events around the theme...