Burn the Ice: The American Culinary Revolution and Its End

Kevin Alexander. Penguin Press, $28 (384p) ISBN 978-0-525-55802-6
In this well-researched, witty food industry history, James Beard Award–winning journalist Alexander takes a deep dive into the recent culinary culture of America. He posits that 2006 marked the beginning of a 12-year “golden age of American dining” when gastronomic experimentation blossomed in up-and-coming food capitals across the country, beyond New York City and the Bay Area. After the 2008 financial crash, scrappy young cooks launched a “veritable food Valhalla” of creativity and innovation “with as little money as possible,” celebrating local foods and glorifying “rural-chic” craftsmanship (like “hand-pickled... pickles”). The author follows prominent chefs, restaurateurs, bartenders, and neighborhoods that exemplified the zeitgeist: chef Gabriel Rucker’s irreverent interpretations of French cuisine at Le Pigeon propelled casual fine dining in Portland, Ore., and nationally, while André Prince Jeffries grew her family’s local hot chicken restaurant in Nashville, inspiring hot chicken competitors and sparking a nationwide obsession. Alexander’s sharp wit keeps the narrative moving, notably with a take-down of Guy Fieri (that riffs on a notorious New York Times review of a Fieri restaurant) that begins with the question, “How do you really feel about Guy Fieri?” This astute reflection on an era of American food culture will give foodies a new perspective on the restaurants they love and the dining experiences they’ve grown to expect. (July)
Reviewed on : 04/12/2019
Release date: 07/09/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 978-0-525-55803-3
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-525-55804-0
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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