Serious Pig: In Search of Some American Culinary Roots

John Thorne, Author, Matt Lewis Thorne, With North Point Press $30 (528p) ISBN 978-0-86547-502-1
With an appetite for accuracy to match his appreciation of food at its purest (an issue of form as well as content), John Thorne (Outlaw Cook) tracks down the origins of dishes that have captured his heart and imagination along with his palate. He is aided here by his wife, who with him edits the quarterly newsletter Simple Cooking, in which the majority of these essays were originally published. The Thornes travel mainly in three regional food-ways: New England's pioneer and Atlantic coast cooking, with a focus on Maine, where they have lived since the mid-1980s (in a section titled ""Here""); Louisiana's Cajun tradition (in the section ""There""); and Texas's cowboy heritage of chili, barbecue and cornbread (in ""Everywhere,"" which includes brief looks at hamburgers, white bread and other all-American inventions). Besides recipes (e.g., Green Pea Pie and a variety of chowders in ""Here""), the authors deliver thoughtful, informed and opinionated disquisitions on their subject, whether that is jambalaya, chili (16 recipes chart its development, the first from an 1880 cookbook) or a global history of dishes composed of recipes based on rice and beans. If these essays were recipes, they'd yield a rich and utterly unbalanced table of dishes likely to start readers thinking seriously about their own gustatory identities. The bibliography is better than dessert. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/02/1996
Release date: 10/01/1996
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 528 pages - 978-0-86547-597-7
Open Ebook - 528 pages - 978-1-4668-0598-9
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