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moosnsqrl

The United States of Arugula

14 posts in this topic

I just finished reading an excerpt from this book in the October Vanity Fair.

It looks like something that might be of interest to our tribe.


Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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I just finished reading an excerpt from this book in the October Vanity Fair.

It looks like something that might be of interest to our tribe.

I'm about halfway through. It's largely a stitching-together of all those biographies and memoirs that are probably on your shelf unread. Careme, Pepin, Beard, Child, etc. It's well-written, and I'm enjoying it.


Derrick Schneider

My blog: http://www.obsessionwithfood.com

You have to eat. You might as well enjoy it!

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I suspected as much. I've not popped for the full tome, and the excerpt was a fun read but there has been SO much flack exchanged between Alice and Jeremiah (especially in his tell-all bio a few years back) that I wasn't sure if I wanted more or not.

Sounds like a trip to the library, not-so-much a buy. Still . . . :wink:


Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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I've heard great things about the book. That it will be "explosive" (in a good way). I'm meeting David next month and I'm buying a copy of the book then.


I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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Just finished it and thoroughly enjoyed it. While it wasn't all new information to me, Kamp synthesized it in a very digestible, interesting way. He covers quite a bit of ground. Highly recommend it.

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i was expecting very little because of the title and because he's not a "member of the tribe", but boy, he really reported the heck out of that book and it's well-written, too. in the end, i think he comes up short when he stretches for the "zeitgeist" tie-it-all-together chapter, but there are some nice profiles and deeply sourced gossip.

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I almost didn't read it because of the title.

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I was also put off by the title, but some people seem to love it.

I just don't understand the title. Are we united as a nation by arugula?

Not that the title is that important. Having seen friends publish books, I know that sometimes the marketing department passionately embraces a bad title and there is no way to get rid of it.


Edited by TAPrice (log)

Todd A. Price aka "TAPrice"

Homepage and writings; A Frolic of My Own (personal blog)

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There was a great article on it in the New York Times a few weeks ago on the cover of the book review section. Also, today in the Boston Globe food section there was an interview with him. It looks like it should be good, I'll read it eventually. For anyone who has already read it, is it more factual or analytical of the food scene in America.

I think that because America is still developing a "cuisine" (or that maybe it never will), books like these are really interesting....

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I met him, read some of the book so far. He's a very good speaker and an engaging writer. I think he brings together different aspects of what turned America into a more food conscious, food loving country in a really interesting way. I like the way he portrays the people he writes about as full characters.


I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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I was also put off by the title, but some people seem to love it.

I just don't understand the title. Are we united as a nation by arugula?

...

Here is full title of the book: The United States of Arugula: How We Became a Gourmet Nation

(Still a quirky title, but a little more informative.)

The link that moosnsgrl provides in her first post has a pretty good summary.

One day we woke up and realized that our “macaroni” had become “pasta,” that our Wonder Bread had been replaced by organic whole wheat, that sushi was fast food, and that our tomatoes were heirlooms. How did all this happen, and who made it happen? The United States of Arugula is the rollicking, revealing chronicle of how gourmet eating in America went from obscure to pervasive, thanks to the contributions of some outsized, opinionated iconoclasts who couldn’t abide the status quo.

The excerpt is a very fun and interesting read. I've read many descriptions of the early and developing days of Chez Panisse but this account is very engaging and added a lot more detail. Even in this short excerpt the characterizations of the different Chez Panisse players are vivid as chefzadi mentions above.

I'm looking forward to reading this book. Thank you for bringing it to my attention and for providing the Vanity Fair link!


Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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I am halfway through with The United States of Arugula and am thoroughly enjoying it. As someone who has heard about many of the legends that Kamp discusses, it is finally nice to have the background behind them all, not only that, but all in one source.

Further, I think Kamp smartly ties together different movements within gourmet food. Whether its the emergence of French fine dining to Alice Waters or to goat cheese - very clever, in my opinion.

Also, I really enjoy the storyline that he puts together using the lives of Franey, Claiborne, Waters, and others..


Paul Goodman

Seattle Eats Out

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this was a great read. a little bit of knocking folks off their pedastals, but all it made them more human.

Reading it made me wish I could go back in time.

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