The Great American Recipe Cookbook Season 2 Edition: 100 Memorable Recipes to Celebrate the Diversity and Flavors of American Food
“opens the door to what American cookery is—the coming together of cultures, identities, flavors, and tastes that celebrate what is probably one of the most diverse cuisines in the world.”
This is the second edition of The Great American Recipe Cookbook, based on the popular eight-part PBS cooking show contest in which home cooks compete using their personal recipes. It’s a diversity culled from international cultures and traditions from around the world brought to America but also native fare. Think Sausage Pierogies with Barbecue Crema, Jerk Alfredo Pasta and Pan-Seared Scallops with a Side Salad, Chicken Hekka with Wontons, and Malasadas Two Ways.
The cookbook, a collection of treasured recipes and the stories behind them are provided by an interesting lineup of cooks that includes a recipe writer, real estate developer, Midwestern soccer mom, and a semi-retired architect, homebuilder, and consultant. The diversity of their backgrounds—a first generation American born to two Guyanese immigrants, a mom who was raised in Maui, Hawai’i, a special education teacher from Cleveland whose culinary background is rooted in Southern cuisine, and a general counsel for a financial tech firm whose parents hail from Barbados—is reflected in their recipes.
Designed in a large format with glossy pages, plenty of color photos, and easy to follow instructions, this is a book for all levels of tastes and cooking skills. Ingredients for the most part are easy to find and don’t involve an outlay of cash for something that will be used only once or twice. As an example, though Bahrat Chicken Thighs with Hummus and Flatbread may sound exotic and complicated, it is a very easy dish to make with the only unique ingredient being Libyan Baharat spice.
But since that typically consists of black pepper, cardamom, cloves, cumin, nutmeg, coriander, and paprika, it can be used in other recipes as well. There are no unique ingredients in Mini Spinach B’jibin Pies, a recipe that harkens back to the home cook’s Syrian Jewish community. Basically, these are mini pies that can be made in four easy steps—the first one being to preheat the oven. All this makes it easy for home chefs to try new cuisines without a lot of complicated ingredients and equipment.
With a foreword by cookbook author Pati Jinich, whose travelogue-cooking show “Pati’s Mexican Table” is now in its 12th season, the book goes beyond the typical concept of American cookery and delves into what we all bring to the table.
“The phrase “American food’ often brings to mind certain classic dishes: a fried chicken recipe served up at a summer picnic or a honey-glazed ham gracing the table at the holidays,” reads the book’s introduction. “And those meals are delicious ones to celebrate, especially when we can share them with the people we love. But those quintessentially ‘American’ foods represent only a narrow sliver of what our country’s cuisine really is. We are one nation with more than one million kitchens, each with its own heritage, culture, and community—making American food an amazing mix of different culinary traditions that bring together flavors from around the country and beyond.”
In all, The Great American Recipe Cookbook opens the door to what American cookery is—the coming together of cultures, identities, flavors, and tastes that celebrate what is probably one of the most diverse cuisines in the world.