Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Book Review: The United States of Arugula

The United States of Arugula, by David Kamp
We were a little late discovering The United States of Arugula (published in 2006), but found the book to be a wonderful history of American food in the 20th century. Beginning in the late 1930s, the book chronicles the taste makers that changed America’s eating habits from meat and potatoes to sun-dried, free-range, and organic. The biggest changes began in the 1950s, with Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and with her appearance on American television. The story ranges from personalities who may not be well known to most people (such as Clementine Paddleford or Mollie Katzen), to the icons of American food – Alice Waters, Thomas Keller, Wolfgang Puck, and a host of others. If you have an interest in food and cooking – and in how we went from canned peas to baby Arugula in the grocery store – The United States of Arugula is a great read.