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Eight Flavors: Book summary and reviews of Eight Flavors by Sarah Lohman

Eight Flavors

The Untold Story of American Cuisine

by Sarah Lohman

Eight Flavors by Sarah Lohman X
Eight Flavors by Sarah Lohman
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About this book

Book Summary

This unique culinary history of America offers a fascinating look at our past and uses long-forgotten recipes to explain how eight flavors changed how we eat.

The United States boasts a culturally and ethnically diverse population which makes for a continually changing culinary landscape. But a young historical gastronomist named Sarah Lohman discovered that American food is united by eight flavors: black pepper, vanilla, curry powder, chili powder, soy sauce, garlic, MSG, and Sriracha. In Eight Flavors, Lohman sets out to explore how these influential ingredients made their way to the American table.

She begins in the archives, searching through economic, scientific, political, religious, and culinary records. She pores over cookbooks and manuscripts, dating back to the eighteenth century, through modern standards like How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. Lohman discovers when each of these eight flavors first appear in American kitchens - then she asks why.

Eight Flavors introduces the explorers, merchants, botanists, farmers, writers, and chefs whose choices came to define the American palate. Lohman takes you on a journey through the past to tell us something about our present, and our future. We meet John Crowninshield a New England merchant who traveled to Sumatra in the 1790s in search of black pepper. And Edmond Albius, a twelve-year-old slave who lived on an island off the coast of Madagascar, who discovered the technique still used to pollinate vanilla orchids today. Weaving together original research, historical recipes, gorgeous illustrations and Lohman's own adventures both in the kitchen and in the field, Eight Flavors is a delicious treat - ready to be devoured.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Lohman's thoughtful, conversational style and infectious curiosity make the book wholly delightful." - Publishers Weekly

"This delicious history of these now-ubiquitous ingredients will have readers savoring each page and licking their lips for a taste for more." - Booklist

"Knowing more about these everyday kitchen items can help us become both better cooks and consumers, plus readers will be able to astound friends and family with newfound knowledge of soy sauce brewing… A lively compendium of facts and trivia about essential ingredients." - Library Journal

"A tantalizing look at flavors of the American table that foodies will absolutely devour." - Kirkus

"In this affectionate and insightful history of America cookery, Sarah Lohman tells a story filled with surprising characters, unexpected history - and the occasional irresistible recipe. Eight Flavors is a flavorful delight, start to finish." - Deborah Blum, New York Times bestselling author of The Poisoner's Handbook

"You'll find yourself saying 'wait, really?' at every turn of the page, ultimately coming out the other end with a deeper understanding of why our food tastes the way it does (not to mention helping you win the Food category at trivia night)." - J. Kenji-Alt, Managing Culinary Director of Serious Eats and New York Times bestselling author of The Food Lab

"Eight Flavors is a hunger-inducing culinary voyage through America's pantries, past and present. Our witty captain, food historian Sarah Lohman, provides us with tasty recipes and unique insight into America's food landscape, in all its umami-spicy-garlicky-sweet glory." - Novella Carpenter, bestselling author of Farm City

This information about Eight Flavors was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Sarah Lohman

Sarah Lohman is originally from Cleveland, Ohio, where she began working in a museum at the age of sixteen, cooking historic food over a wood-burning stove. Lohman moved to New York in 2006 to work for New York magazine's food blog, Grub Street, and now works with museums and galleries around the city to create public programs focused on food. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and NPR, and she has appeared in NYC-TV's mini-series Appetite City cooking culinary treats from New York's past. The author of a twice-monthly food feature for Etsy called "Kitchen Histories," Eight Flavors is her first book.

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