American food is the story of mash-ups. Immigrants arrive, cultures collide, and out of the push-pull come exciting new dishes and flavours. But for Edward Lee, who, like Anthony Bourdain or Gabrielle Hamilton, is as much a writer as he is a chef, that first surprising bite is just the beginning. What about the people behind the food? What about the traditions, the innovations, the memories?
A natural-born storyteller, Lee decided to hit the road and spent two years uncovering fascinating narratives from every corner of the US. There's a Cambodian couple in Lowell, Massachusetts, and their efforts to re-create the flavours of their lost country. A Uyghur cafe in New York's Brighton Beach serves a noodle soup that seems so very familiar and yet so very exotic-one unexpected ingredient opens a window onto an entirely unique culture. A beignet from Cafe du Monde in New Orleans, as potent as Proust's madeleine, inspires a narrative that tunnels through time, back to the first Creole cooks, then forward to a Korean rice-flour hoedduck and a beignet dusted with matcha