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Ch. 19 - THE FRONTIERS OF FOREIGN FOODS

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 August 2009

Kenneth F. Kiple
Affiliation:
Bowling Green State University, Ohio
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Summary

When Samuel Clemens (a.k.a. Mark Twain) visited Europe in 1878 he complained bitterly about the food, comparing it most unfavorably with American fare. Before returning home, he composed a wish list of comestibles he desired upon his return including Virginia bacon, soft-shell crabs, Philadelphia terrapin soup, canvas-back duck from Baltimore, Connecticut shad, green corn on the ear, butter beans, asparagus, string beans, American butter (he complained that European butter had no salt); predictably apple pie, and curiously, frogs.

Leslie Brenner (1999)

WITH APOLOGIES to Samuel Clemens there was no such thing as “American fare” north of Mexico when he wrote, nor had there been for close to two centuries, the remnants of pre-Columbian foodstuffs and cooking techniques notwithstanding. Since the seventeenth century, American cuisine has been a work in progress, kneaded, shaped, and reshaped by African, Asian, and European immigrants. The African contribution was in place by the time of the Civil War, as was that of Northern Europe though somewhat distorted by Native American influences.

But following the war, millions of southern and eastern Europeans, along with a relative handful of Asians, arrived to take their turn at stirring America's culinary melting pot. The new immigrants settled on both coasts in large numbers but some, lured by the promise of free land in the 1862 Homestead Act, spread out into the interior, planting seeds of food globalization as they went.

Type
Chapter
Information
A Movable Feast
Ten Millennia of Food Globalization
, pp. 202 - 213
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2007

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