One of the best parts about visiting new places is tasting new foods and/or visiting new restaurants. It’s been ten years since I was last in New York City and I doubt I’ll be there anytime soon, but when I saw this little gem of a book at the library, I snatched it up.
In the 70s the author left grad school in Wisconsin and moved to the East Village. The area was in decline so the rents were low. Since Robert had little money he soon discovered that the best and least expensive entertainment was the local food scene. He began touring the five boroughs of New York City looking for food made by the most recent immigrants. And then he began writing about it.
The book is filled with a baker’s dozen of essays devoted to various foods. It is an international list of special foods. Here are the chapters:
- Egg Foo Yong
- Clam Chowder
- Thiebou Djenn
- Masala Dosa
- Fried Chicken
- Barbecue Brisket
- Scrambled Brains
- The Black and White Cookie
Each essay analyzes the food, gives a little history, tells you some of the best places to find that dish, and then he gives us a recipe with plenty of tips. Five of these dishes were completely new to me. How can I lived this long and not know them? There is so much in this world I have yet to explore. For an old Foodie like me, this book was educational and thus exciting.
I’ve come to expect full-color, close-up, mouth-watering photos in the food books I read. There are none in New York in a Dozen Dishes. I didn’t even think of it until after I’d finished the book and was describing a dish to a friend. What makes the difference in this book? It’s good old-fashioned word usage. Robert Sietsema is so accomplished at using his words that he created pictures in my mind. I could see the dishes! Isn’t that amazing? It is in today’s food world.
This is a great book for someone who lives in or around New York or someone who is planning a visit. Of course, Foodies could read it just for the fun of it the way I did.