By Andrew Carmellini
In American Flavor, Andrew Carmellini—two time James Beard Award winner, acclaimed writer of Urban Italian, and government chef-owner of the hit long island urban eating places Locanda Verde and The Dutch—offers an impressive choice of scrumptious, cutting edge, down-to-earth recipes and tales that get on the soul of the way we consume this present day. encouraged by means of either conventional local cuisines and the multicultural neighborhoods, international eateries, and ethnic groceries that dot the yankee panorama American Flavor combines a United international locations of cultural impacts into delicious dishes which are a cornucopia of delights for armchair foodies, fanatics of large cooks Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich, and Nate Appleman, and chefs at each ability point who enjoy genuine American foodstuff twenty first century-style: refined yet down-to-earth, rustic yet sophisticated, and regularly deeply flavored and delicious.
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For example, my buddy Jacques shows you how to make fish that look like mushrooms, and cucumbers that look like turtles, and apples that look like swans. And the level of detail is something else. Want to make rabbit with prunes? Jacques starts by showing you how to skin the rabbit. This was a window onto a world well beyond Betty Crocker Ghost Cakes. I’d never seen anything like it, and I was completely hooked. I worked my way through La Méthode and Pépin’s next book, La Technique. I didn’t make everything in the books (and I didn’t skin any rabbits), but I tried everything that I could possibly make in my mother’s kitchen with a reasonable chance of not burning the house down.
OK! . great! And we’d put our elbows on the Formica tabletop and wait for excellence, American-style. And then it would appear, along with our watery coffee and our Tang-flavored orange juice: pure disappointment, American-flavored. We tried the diner in Wyoming next to the general store that sold cattle dewormer; we tried the cafe in Kansas where all the locals, dressed in their Sunday best, watched us walk through the restaurant in our cutoffs and third-day road shirts; we tried the truck stop in Paw Paw, Michigan, where there was a trucker in every booth, every one eating a meal the size of my head at warp speed.
And he signed my copy of La Méthode. I still have that book—it’s gone everywhere with me. The inside cover reads: Sept 8 1986: to Andrew: best wishes and best of luck in your career. Your career. What a great phrase. I LANDED MY FIRST KITCHEN JOB WHEN I WAS a freshman in high school. I have to admit that at that point, my motivation was not entirely culinary. I was fixated on getting a car, and on driving around town with a girl in that car, and on parking with a girl in that car—and I couldn’t do any of those things without the cash to acquire a car.