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American Dish - Book Review

American Dish by Merrill Shindler

American Dish - 100 Recipes from Ten Delicious Decades

Ten decades; each with a title or topic followed by an explanation of why the title was chosen and then pages of recipes that go along with the title or topic.

I borrowed this book from the library and it intrigued me so that I wanted to share it with you all.

The first decade has recipes from 1900-1910 and the title is “How Sweet it Was” because this was a decade when American sugar consumption soared, hitting sixty-five pounds per person per year. During this time Kellogg’s had numerous breakfast food plants in Battle Creek, Michigan, and H.J. Heinz had the largest electric sign in the world announcing that his company offered “57 Good Things for the Table.”

Recipes in this decade include: Brownies, Apple Pie, Salisbury Steak and Baked Alaska, Pineapple Upside-down Cake and Deviled Eggs.

Next decade; 1910-1920, “The Melting Pot Bubbles Over”. This section is dominated by World War 1(The Great War). War posters reminded Americans not to waste food while others starved. Cellophane was first produced, and then Pyrex came along. Bread started getting baked at the bakery and Aunt Jemima came along to help Americans enjoy breakfast all day long.

Recipes in this decade include: Chicken a la King, Chop Suey, Chow Mein, Key Lime Pie and Red Flannel Hash.

Next decade: 1920-1930, “The Salad Years”. The custom of eating salads with meals was trickling down from the very rich to the middle class and now most families had a green salad before their evening meal. Many Americans were into soft drinks and ice cream and candy such as the Good Humor, Baby Ruth and Oh Henry bars.

Recipes in this decade include: Caesar Salad, Cobb Salad, Crab Louis, Icebox Cheese Pie, Lemon Chess Pie and the Reuben Sandwich.

Next decade: 1930-1940, “Crash Courses”, the stock market crashes and now we have casseroles, stew and tomato and elbow macaroni. Birdseye started to produce frozen vegetables and other frozen foods. Bisquick was introduced and then Frito corn chips and the Skippy Peanut Butter.

Recipes in this decade include: Chicken Cacciatore, Cioppino, Dagwood Sandwich, Macaroni n’ Cheese and Toll House Cookies.

Next Decade: 1940-1950, “Victory and M&Ms”

Recipes in this decade include: Marinara Sauce, Pumpkin Chiffon Pie, Spam and Beans, Loco Moco and Pepper Steak.

Next Decade: 1950-1960, “Ike and Onion Dip”

Recipes in this decade include: Grasshopper Pie, Russian Dressing, Sloppy Joe, Tuna Noodle Casserole, and Fish Sticks.

Next Decade: 1960-1970, “Cooking for Camelot and Aquarius”

Recipes in this decade include: Banana Bread, Fettuccine Alfredo, Guacamole, Hash Browns and Nachos.

Next Decade: 1970-1980, “ Mr. Wallbanger Goes to Brunch”

Recipes in this decade include: Buffalo Chicken Wings, Eggs Benedict, Carrot Cake, White Chocolate Mousse, and Quiche.

Next Decade: 1980-1990, “The Bonfire of the Eateries”

Recipes in this decade include: Cajun Popcorn, Fajitas, Crème Brulee, Sushi, Ranch Dressing and Crab Cakes.

Next Decade: 1990-2000, “Guilty Pleasures and Lean Cuisine”

Recipes in this decade include: Rice Pudding, Turkey Burger, Garbanzo Bean Veggie Burger, Chinese Chicken Salad and Tiramisu.

It is a fun book with interesting tidbits and history of many foods in America.

Note: I used a library copy of this book for this review.

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