In The Best Thing I Ever Tasted, Tisdale again poses the same question with which she begins her chapter: “Is there such a thing as American food?” (39). In Questlove’s interview with Donald Link, the New Orleans-based chef thinks that in the next decade “there might not be cuisines in the traditional sense” and that it will be difficult to “locate or recognize the actual source of a dish” (110). For both Tisdale and Link, different cultures (and their foods) have and will continue to blend and merge together.
What is American cuisine to you? Is it possible to define or characterize it? In your response, make sure to include specific references to at least one of the two texts via summary, paraphrase, and/or quotation.
Please respond to the above discussion prompt in approximately 12-15 sentences.
“Tell me what kind of food you eat, and I will tell you what kind of man you are.”
Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, The Physiology of Taste
The above aphorism by Brillat-Savarin from his famous The Physiology of Taste (first published in French in 1825, then translated into English in 1884) plays off of the notion that our food preferences and choices can speak volumes about who we are. If you’re interested in reading more from Brillat-Savarin’s work, you can find a very short excerpt of it in Chapter 2 in Food Matters.
The readings for Week 6 (as well as Week 7 and 8) will ask you to explore the complex relationships between food, history, race, and cultural identity.
This week’s first reading is a chapter from Sallie Tisdale’s, which examines Americans and their relationship to food through a mix of history, memoir, sociology, and family recipes. The second reading is Questlove, “Something to Food About” (Food Matters) which is an excerpt from his book, somethingtofoodabout: Exploring Creativity with Innovative Chefs. In this excerpt, Questlove, who is a musician and a writer, interviews Donald Link, a New Orleans-based chef. Both Tisdale and Questlove are interested in the history of food in the U.S., how food migrates and morphs into new forms, and the ever changing landscape of American cuisine.