Category Archives: Book Review

Book Report: Chop Suey, USA

Yong Chen's book Chop Suey USASteve Zylius/UC Irvine Communications

Before fast food and home delivery, there was chop suey and red leather booths. American Chinese food was a precursor to ubiquitous chain restaurants, democratizing the once-exclusive dining-out experience for working-class whites, African Americans and Jews.

The influence of Chinese cuisine throughout the 20th century and beyond is told in Chop Suey, USA: The Story of Chinese Food in America, by UC Irvine history professor Yong Chen. The new book opens with a question: Why is Chinese food so popular in the United States?   Continue reading

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Foodie Summer Reading List: Grant Achatz’s Life, on the Line

by Jayne Chobot

Chicago’s Grant Achatz is not the first chef to make me cry. If you are an emotional person (admittedly I am) and you work long enough in the restaurant industry it is guaranteed to happen. But this was not a result of sleep deprivation or a broken heart or a heated argument in a hot and stressful kitchen environment at the end of a dinner rush about how many large parties we can fit in the dining room on a Thursday night in December.

These tears came while reading Life, On the Line, written by Achatz and his business partner, Nick Kokonas, and published last year by Gotham.  There are a lot of chef memoirs out there right now, and I’m trying to get through as many as I can. But this one has stuck with me in a way that few memoirs of any kind have. It had been recommended to me by countless friends and I am going to do you the same courtesy.             Continue reading

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