Buttermilk Graffiti: A Chef’s Journey to Discover America’s New Melting-Pot Cuisine

Buttermilk Graffiti: A Chef’s Journey to Discover America’s New Melting-Pot Cuisine

There is a new American culinary landscape developing around us, and it’s one that chef Edward Lee is proud to represent. In a nation of immigrants who bring their own culinary backgrounds to this country, what happens one or even two generations later? What does their cuisine become? It turns into a cuisine uniquely its own and one that Lee argues makes America the most i...

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Title:Buttermilk Graffiti: A Chef’s Journey to Discover America’s New Melting-Pot Cuisine
Author:Edward Lee
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Edition Language:English

Buttermilk Graffiti: A Chef’s Journey to Discover America’s New Melting-Pot Cuisine Reviews

  • Joe Jones

    This is not your typical cookbook. Not even close. There are recipes at the end of each chapter but they are just a fraction of what I got out of this book. Instead Chef Edward Lee gave me a glimpse of different cultures that came to this country and the foods that define them and how they have adapted them. Wait, even that is only part of the story. I may never get to taste Chef Lee's food but I am thankful I am able to read his writing! He brings alive the idea of food being a central part of

    This is not your typical cookbook. Not even close. There are recipes at the end of each chapter but they are just a fraction of what I got out of this book. Instead Chef Edward Lee gave me a glimpse of different cultures that came to this country and the foods that define them and how they have adapted them. Wait, even that is only part of the story. I may never get to taste Chef Lee's food but I am thankful I am able to read his writing! He brings alive the idea of food being a central part of so many culture's lives in a way that makes you want to immediately start cooking his recipes for family and friends and discuss what you just read.

  • Jenny (Reading Envy)

    "Immigrants: we get the job done." (That's a

    .)

    Edward Lee veers off in a slightly new direction in this travel memoir that also includes recipes (I really want people to stop calling this a cookbook, it isn't.) He visits places in America that have unique food cultures because of immigrants living there, from Moroccan (and

    , an intriguing fermented butter) in Hartford, Connecticut to a Lebanese community in Mississippi. He even travels through West Virginia with Ronn

    "Immigrants: we get the job done." (That's a

    .)

    Edward Lee veers off in a slightly new direction in this travel memoir that also includes recipes (I really want people to stop calling this a cookbook, it isn't.) He visits places in America that have unique food cultures because of immigrants living there, from Moroccan (and

    , an intriguing fermented butter) in Hartford, Connecticut to a Lebanese community in Mississippi. He even travels through West Virginia with Ronni Lundy, a section I really enjoyed because I have and love her cookbook. He basically invites himself along!

    Edward Lee is curious and respectful, and sometimes people don't open up to him right away. His willingness to wait, to keep trying, and keep eating, yields interesting stories (but does not always yield the recipe secrets.) At the end of each section, he includes a few recipes. Sometimes they are pretty close to the food he consumed in the place, and other times it is his spin on it. All of the recipes are in the spirit of what he ate and how it got there, with a little extra bourbon from time to time (once a Kentucky boy....)

    I have to admit that I don't expect chefs to be the best writers, but the craft of writing in this book blew me away.

    He moves between a narrative and reflective voice, and offers a focus and respect to food creators that has been long overdue.

  • Colleen

    A fun read from an interesting perspective with recipes at the end of every chapter; my only complaint is that I read it too quickly and still want more.

  • Mitch Karunaratne

    After reading this I have a massive list of places I want to go and food I want to eat...including eating a Shapiros pastrami sandwich at the Brownstone speedway track in Jackson County. However, it’s Edward Lee himself that is the hidden star of the show! His writing is brilliant, he’s thoughtful, challenging, inquisitive, kind and brave / crazy! He’s my new new found hero!

    Lee takes us to meet and hear the stories of people making real food, food connecting them to their personal stories, comm

    After reading this I have a massive list of places I want to go and food I want to eat...including eating a Shapiros pastrami sandwich at the Brownstone speedway track in Jackson County. However, it’s Edward Lee himself that is the hidden star of the show! His writing is brilliant, he’s thoughtful, challenging, inquisitive, kind and brave / crazy! He’s my new new found hero!

    Lee takes us to meet and hear the stories of people making real food, food connecting them to their personal stories, community and history.

    “ Cooking is not about perfection but about the flawed process of how we aim for a desired flavour”.

  • Janet

    I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher -

    American food is the story of mash-ups. Immigrants arrive, cultures collide, and out of the push-pull come exciting new dishes and flavors. 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 innovati

    I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher -

    American food is the story of mash-ups. Immigrants arrive, cultures collide, and out of the push-pull come exciting new dishes and flavors. 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 country. There’s a Cambodian couple in Lowell, Massachusetts, and their efforts to re-create the flavors of their lost country. A Uyghur café 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 Café 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.

    Sixteen adventures, sixteen vibrant new chapters in the great evolving story of American cuisine. And forty recipes, created by Lee, that bring these new dishes into our own kitchens.

    I love Edward Lee from the Food Network and for his love of bourbon. He always does the most interesting fusion recipes and this book is chock full of them as he writes of his travels around the country and his discoveries on said trip. Will I attempt any of the recipes? Time will tell...but in the meantime, I recommend this book to any cook or person, like me, who consider cookbooks their porn. :-)

  • Cathie

    quite an interesting gourmand travelogue!

  • Jenny

    I liked the fact that this book evoked the emotional connection people have with food. It’s not about the taste of something always but who you share it with or memories from the past.

    I grew up going to visit relatives in West Virginia and eating those same pepperoni rolls. It’s not just the taste I remember but the trips in the car listening to my Dad singing country music on the way. This book is more than a cookbook, though there are great recipes, it’s about culture and memories.

  • Linda

    I really enjoyed this one, maybe because Lee writes about places and foods familiar to me: Louisville, Houston & the Gulf, fufu, beignets. His adventure with a dead chicken in Paterson, NJ, was a delight. This made me want to be more adventurous with my eating, she said, then ate a plate of spaghetti.

  • Taryn Pierson

    My husband and I discovered after bingeing all available seasons of The Great British Bakeoff that we really enjoy food-related television, and our fascination led us to Netflix shows like Cooked, Ugly Delicious, and Salt Fat Acid Heat. Buttermilk Graffiti is like those shows, but in book form. Chef Edward Lee traveled around America, eating in local restaurants and worming his way into as many kitchens as he could, because he wanted to learn about the kinds of cooking being done in different re

    My husband and I discovered after bingeing all available seasons of The Great British Bakeoff that we really enjoy food-related television, and our fascination led us to Netflix shows like Cooked, Ugly Delicious, and Salt Fat Acid Heat. Buttermilk Graffiti is like those shows, but in book form. Chef Edward Lee traveled around America, eating in local restaurants and worming his way into as many kitchens as he could, because he wanted to learn about the kinds of cooking being done in different regions by different cultures. It didn’t always go well—he often followed whims rather than plans, tried to infiltrate some very insular communities, and his main MO was to walk up to strangers and start asking questions. He at one point purchased a raw chicken sort of against his will and then didn’t have a way to refrigerate it, so he tried to give it to his server at a chicken restaurant—an impulse born of good intentions, but clearly not one bound to be received well. Despite these and other false starts, Lee does some meaningful reflecting on ideas like authenticity, cultural gatekeeping, and appropriation, and it’s fun to go along for the ride with him (especially since you’re not actually there suffering the awkwardness in person).

  • Graham Oliver

    The recipes and conceptualization of the food mechanics were fine (and I plan on trying to vegetarianize a few of the recipes), but the description/analysis/observations of the places/people/foodways were pretty simplistic/shallow/not interestingly written.

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