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It's All American Food: The Best Recipes for More Than 400 New American Classics    by David Rosengarten order for
It's All American Food
by David Rosengarten
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2003 (2003)
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

David Rosengarten says about American eating, 'When ethnic foods land on this shore, it's All American Food.' As we all know, America is a melting pot of ethnicities. Immigrants have arrived on our shores since the Mayflower, bringing along their own recipes for the food on which they grew up. Through the years, these recipes have become Americanized - which doesn't mean downgraded. They simply evolved because of slightly different ingredients, water, and the chef's palate.

It's All American Food is a wonderful collection of recipes for regional and ethnic foods, from Maine's Lobster Roll to New Orleans Gumbo, from Spaghetti and Meatballs to Egg Foo Young. Rosengarten advises us to use convenience foods when that makes the dishes taste better. Who can envision a BLT without Hellman's Mayonnaise? Or a hot dog without French's Mustard? Margarine has a place in today's kitchen as well as Heinz Catsup. As a California friend told Rosengarten, 'If it tastes good, use it.'

Part One deals with Ethnic America. Walk the streets of any city or town in the United States and you will find at least one restaurant of ethnic origin - Italian, French, Mexican, Chinese, Cuban, Moroccan, and a myriad of others too numerous to list here. Spanish Gazpacho has been a favorite of mine for years and this recipe looks better than mine. French Ratatouille was introduced to me by my chef daughter and I've loved it ever since. Mittel European Sauerkraut Balls are new to me but intrigue. Chinese Fiery Marinated Szechuan Cabbage sounds hot, but worth a try. I love new foods and this super cookbook gives me a lifetime of recipes to try and make my own.

Part Two gives us Regional America - from New England to Pennsylvania Dutch, from Chesapeake Bay to California, from Southwest to Florida, and all the regions in between. Can there be anything better than a simple Maine Lobster Roll? Wow. Fine eating. And Maryland Crab Cakes? Lead me to them. Or Southern Fried Chicken. Look, you get the idea. Take a trip across the country and the world with It's All American Food.

Part Three presents Breakfast Across America, Appetizers, Salads, and Salad Dressings, Sandwiches, Hearty Main Courses, Side Dishes, Breads and Desserts. The uncomplicated recipe for the most favorite of my sandwiches - comfort food to me - is the Classic Grilled Cheese Sandwich. Excuse me, that's my cue to head for the kitchen and get out the white bread, butter and American cheese.

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