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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • Cari
    Mar 30, 2017

    Fun, quick read. If you are a foodie, you will enjoy this book. Interesting take on the origins of popular tastes in our American pantry. No spoilers, but to give you a "taste," early settlers used ro...

  • Melyssa
    Apr 05, 2017

    Great idea, interesting topic, but mediocre execution. I wasn't a big fan of the author's writing style, the stories seemed at times disorganized or lacking in depth, and there was too much "i went he...

  • Tony Wesley
    Mar 12, 2017

    Terrific!! A combination of research, anecdotes and recipes. She explores 8 flavors that she believes are essential to American cooking. For each flavor she gives you the science/horticulture behind i...

  • 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...