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Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine
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Published:
Simon & Schuster 2016
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Checked Out
Description
"Very cool...a breezy American culinary history that you didn't know you wanted" (Bon Appetit) reveals 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 that 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 "a unique and surprising view of American history...richly researched, intriguing, and elegantly written" (The Atlantic), 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.

"A fresh, original perspective to American culinary history" (The Christian Science Monitor), Eight Flavors 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—which "may make you hungry" (Bustle).
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
12/06/2016
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781476753980
ASIN:
B01CO34L8M
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Sarah Lohman. (2016). Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine. Simon & Schuster.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Sarah Lohman. 2016. Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine. Simon & Schuster.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Sarah Lohman, Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine. Simon & Schuster, 2016.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Sarah Lohman. Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine. Simon & Schuster, 2016.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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      • role: Author
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      • bioText: Sarah Lohman is originally from Cleveland, Ohio, where she began working in a museum at the age of sixteen, cooking historic food over a wood-burning stove. Lohman moved to New York in 2006 to work for New York magazine's food blog, Grub Street, and now works with museums and galleries around the city to create public programs focused on food. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and NPR, and appeared in the Cooking Channel's Food: Fact or Fiction. The author of the blog Four Pounds Flavor, Eight Flavors is her first book.
      • name: Sarah Lohman
publishDate
2016-12-06T00:00:00-05:00
isOwnedByCollections
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title
Eight Flavors
fullDescription
"Very cool...a breezy American culinary history that you didn't know you wanted" (Bon Appetit) reveals 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 that 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 "a unique and surprising view of American history...richly researched, intriguing, and elegantly written" (The Atlantic), 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.

"A fresh, original perspective to American culinary history" (The Christian Science Monitor), Eight Flavors 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—which "may make you hungry" (Bustle).
reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from October 31, 2016
        Food writer Lohman uses eight key flavors to launch an entertaining tour through the tastes that have made American food the “most complex and diverse cuisine on the planet.” The story of America’s embrace of black pepper, vanilla, curry powder, chili powder, soy sauce, garlic, MSG (monosodium glutamate) and sriracha demonstrates how travel, immigration, science, and technology continue to influence what Americans eat. From her opening story of John Crowninshield of Massachusetts, who returned to the U.S. from Sumatra with commercial quantities of black pepper in the early 19th century, to her rousing defense of MSG, Lohman’s thoughtful, conversational style and infectious curiosity make the book wholly delightful. As a bonus for enthusiastic amateurs, Lohman includes well-researched historic recipes, such as Thomas Jefferson’s vanilla ice cream. This Founding Father was responsible for introducing the noble dairy treat to the country, via the French chef he brought home with him in the 1780s. A more modern but equally heroic tale is that of sriracha, invented in California by an immigrant, David Tran. Tran named his company, Huy Fong Foods, after the refugee ship he and his family fled Vietnam on—a Panamanian freighter called the Huey Fong. Lohman’s book gives fascinating new insight into what we eat.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        October 15, 2016
        A tasty historical study of flavorful mainstays of American cuisine.Serving as a culinary archaeologist of sorts, this self-described food historian and blogger raided spice cabinets and pantries across the U.S. to produce this fascinating overview of what she believes to be the eight major flavors of the land: black pepper, vanilla, chili powder, curry powder, garlic, soy sauce, monosodium glutamate, and Sriracha (the only questionable inclusion, but Lohman makes a convincing case). In her ambitious attempt to characterize American cuisine, the author found it essential to identify commonalities among the disparate regions and ethnicities that have flourished here. She accomplished this by combing old cookbooks and researching past and present consumption patterns in the U.S. She admits that there are really 10 dominant flavors in the U.S., but "so much" has been written about chocolate and coffee as to warrant their exclusion here. The author's decision to isolate popular flavors, as opposed to assessing common dishes or particular cooking techniques, allowed her to focus on the history and growth of their influence on the American palate, making this account often as much about the men and women responsible for introducing each flavor. Thus readers will find a treasure trove of spicy trivia, ranging from staggering statistics on the amount of black pepper sold in the U.S. each year--158 million pounds--or how much garlic is consumed--annually, two pounds per person--alongside entrepreneurial tales like that of the Chili Queens of San Antonio, whose namesake dish sold daily on Alamo Plaza inspired German immigrant William Gebhardt to try to emulate it and led to his invention of a dry chili powder patented in 1897. Lohman also tells the moving back story of how the modern cultivation of vanilla derives from a pollination technique developed by Edmond Albius, a slave, and exposes and attempts to debunk how MSG, the defining savory taste of umami isolated by 20th-century biochemist Kikunae Ikeda, came by its bad rap. A tantalizing look at flavors of the American table that foodies will absolutely devour.

        COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        November 15, 2016
        Every culture across the globe is uniquely characterized by its cuisine. The food of American culture is distinct in that it has been notably influenced by the myriad ethnicities residing throughout the country. Lohman, a historical gastronomist, presents the eight flavorsblack pepper, vanilla, chili powder, curry powder, soy sauce, garlic, monosodium glutamate, and srirachathat are utilized most often in American cookbooks from 1796 to 2000. Each chapter focuses on one flavor and gives a well-researched historical context, along with a dash of Lohman's own personal experiences with the flavor, from teaching a black-pepper tasting class to helping work a chili food truck to attending a multicourse garlic degustation. Historical and interestingly updated recipes that feature each flavorsuch as Thomas Jefferson's French Vanilla Ice Cream, Soy Sauce Chocolate Mousse with Fruit Compote, and the Rosemary House Garlic Carrot Cakeare sprinkled throughout the text. This delicious history of these now-ubiquitous ingredients will have readers savoring each page and licking their lips for a taste for more.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2016, American Library Association.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        October 15, 2016

        Have you ever wondered about that rooster on your handy bottle of Sriracha, or why vanilla beans are so expensive, (and are they worth it)? This new work by a noted food writer and blogger looks at eight key ingredients or "flavors" that spice up our meals, including black pepper, vanilla, chili powder, curry powder, soy sauce, garlic, monosodium glutamate (MSG), and Sriracha. Often it is a highly personal tour, as Lohman goes on site investigating the backstory of these key recipe components. This informative work is part natural history and part memoir, with a few recipes thrown in as a bonus. It is also spiked with some seriously useful tidbits; the trick about when to use artificial vanilla could be worth the price alone. Knowing more about these everyday kitchen items can help us become both better cooks and consumers, plus readers will be able to astound friends and family with newfound knowledge of soy sauce brewing. VERDICT A lively compendium of facts and trivia about essential ingredients. Purchase for larger cookery collections.--Susan Hurst, Miami Univ. Libs., Oxford, OH

        Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        July 1, 2016

        As a historical gastronomist, Lohman has worked her way through cookbooks, manuscripts, and various economic, scientific, political, and religious tracts dating from the 1700s to understand what's cooking in America. And despite our tremendous ethnic and consequently culinary diversity, she has determined that American cuisine is defined by eight flavors: black pepper, vanilla, curry powder, chili powder, soy sauce, garlic, MSG, and Sriracha. Just not all at once.

        Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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"Very cool...a breezy American culinary history that you didn't know you wanted" (Bon Appetit) reveals 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 that 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 "a unique and surprising view of American history...richly researched, intriguing, and elegantly written" (The Atlantic), 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,...
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