What a difference a year makes. The Last Independence Day was more of a sparkle than a firecracker, but this year finds us uniquely ready to celebrate our freedom.
Celebrate at home? I can’t think of a better menu inspiration than “It’s All American Food” by award-winning cookbook author David Rosengarten (Little, Brown and Company, $ 29.95), featuring over 400 ethnic, regional dishes. and classics that make up our national cuisine. . And what better way to celebrate July 4th, this most American holiday, than with the simple, homemade dishes we all love?
“Casual” is the word of the day for this holiday. “The stuff we do on the grill, the burgers, and the hot dogs, I love that stuff,” Rosengarten said. “It’s good food, simple food, satisfying food.”
But Americans must overcome their inferiority complex about American food, he said.
“The things people eat elsewhere seem exotic to us. We go to southern Italy and see someone pouring olive oil over a local tomato with a sprig of basil and saying, ‘It’s beautiful,’ ”he said. “Europeans look at our BLT and say, ‘What an amazing sandwich’. We use white supermarket bread, Hellmann’s mayonnaise and think, ‘This can’t be great’. But when you put all of these things together in this sandwich, they form a fabulous array of ingredients. We don’t know what treasure we have in America. (By the way, here on this coast, Hellmann’s is better known as Best Foods, and that’s the secret to its devastatingly rich chocolate cake.)
“It’s All American Food”, which won a James Beard Award, is the culmination of Rosengarten’s years of traveling as a food, wine and travel writer.
“I never pass up an opportunity,” he said. “Everywhere I go, I look for local specialties.
Boston baked beans, Maryland crab cakes, push onions for hot dogs sold on the streets of New York – these are the foods Americans really eat, and Rosengarten is passionate about preserving recipes before they go. get lost.
“If people don’t prepare these dishes at home, eventually they will disintegrate into nothingness,” he said. “The most vital way to keep a dish alive is for a lot of people to cook it, think about it and make it better. “
Judy Bart Kancigor of Fullerton is the author of “Cooking Jewish” and “The Perfect Pesach Cookbook”. His website is cookingjewish.com.
ALL PURPOSE CHOCOLATE CAKE
From “It’s All American Food” by David Rosengarten.
Makes: 8 servings
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 cup of good quality mayonnaise, such as Best Foods
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
- 2 cups of cake flour
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup whole milk
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8 x 8-inch or two 8-inch round baking dishes with butter. Sprinkle evenly with all-purpose flour.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, beat sugar, mayonnaise and vanilla with a whisk until well blended.
3. In another bowl, sift together the cake flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
4. In another bowl, lightly beat the eggs, then add the milk, whisking to combine well.
5. While whisking slowly, add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the mayonnaise mixture. Whisk in half of the egg-milk mixture, then another third of the flour mixture. Continue to whisk, then finish with the remaining half of the egg mixture and the last third of the flour mixture.
6. Pour into prepared baking dish and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool on a rack and glaze.