Eight flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine

 

Eight Flavors:  the untold story of American cuisine by Sarah Lohman is placed in the same section as cookbooks in the library.  However, it is not a cookbook in the sense that there are a lot of recipes and pictures. Lohman  talks about the flavors which define the American cuisine stating at the time of the revolutionary war up until the most recent.   These flavors include  black pepper, vanilla, chili powder, curry powder, soy sauce, garlic, monosodium Glutmate (msg) and Sriracha. Ms. Lohman organized the book according to when these flavors appeared in the American culture.  Each came about as the result of an event that created a desire for the flavor.  Followed by increased availability and a preference for the flavor.
For example:
Chili powder – a Texan/Mexican woman fed soldiers and tourists and a German immigrant who found a culinary shortcut.
Soy Sauce – came from immigrants from China
Vanilla – came from a 12 year old slave who figured out a botanical secret.

Certainly the recipes add to the book but the most interesting part is how these flavors became part of the American landscape.