#285: Imagined Cuisines
Take any international trip, and the tourist-trap restaurants near the must-see landmarks will all be hawking the “national dish” you simply can’t miss: Greek souvlaki, Japanese ramen, Italian pasta, Mexican mole. Leaving aside the question of whether a restaurant with a laminated English menu could possibly serve good food, we must ask what makes a dish “national”—must it be an old recipe? A common one? Unique to that place? Anya von Bremzen poses these questions and more in her new book, National Dish: Around the World in Search of Food, History, and the Meaning of Home. Beginning in Paris with the 18th-century inauguration of modern French cuisine—and searching for the invention, or perhaps congelation, of pot-au-feu—von Bremzen travels across oceans and continents in search of what defines a country’s cuisine, unraveling notions of identity, nationhood, and politics in the process.
Go beyond the episode:
- Anya von Bremzen’s National Dish: Around the World in Search of Food, History, and the Meaning of Home
- In case you missed it, last week’s episode dealt with what might perhaps be called America’s quixotic national dish: the hot dog
- Dig in to our culinary history, and you’ll find a collection of immigrant women who changed the way American eats
- James Beard did, too
- Picture the food of the future—specifically that of the climate crisis—in this immersive dinner party episode
- And who could forget the inner organs of beasts and fowls that spill across the pages of Ulysses?
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