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
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