A Good Food Book: New York in a Dozen Dishes

New YorkOne 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:

  • Pizza
  • Egg Foo Yong
  • Clam Chowder
  • Thiebou Djenn
  • Pastrami
  • Masala Dosa
  • Fried Chicken
  • Pambazo
  • Barbecue Brisket
  • Guy
  • Pho
  • 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.


I’m linking this post to Weekend Cooking. You can find more Weekend Cooking posts at Beth Fish Reads.



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12 Responses to A Good Food Book: New York in a Dozen Dishes

  1. I’m not sure if I’ll make it to New York this year but will have to look for this book if I do.

  2. Beth F says:

    Oh this looks great. I get to New York at least once a year and I would love a guide like this book. And isn’t it great when an author can paint a picture in words so you don’t miss the photos?

  3. Claudia says:

    I’d like to do that book food tour myself, never having been to NY, and probably won’t get there anytime soon.

  4. mae says:

    That sounds like a wonderful book! I’ve always wished restaurant critics would organize according to food type.

    best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

  5. Trish says:

    Scrambled brains? I’m tempted to google that…but then again I’m not sure if I should. Ha! Sounds like a fun book–I’d love to read the history about some of these dishes.

  6. This sounds like the kind of book I’d love! I love the idea of touring the city by food and I love that his writing was so visual you didn’t even miss the photos. I hadn’t heard of this book but but now I’m really looking forward to reading it.

  7. Molly says:

    What a fabulous library find!

  8. Sounds fascinating. Cheers from Carole’s Chatter!

  9. Vicki says:

    I sure would have liked to have a copy of this when I visited NYC last November! I think I’ll look for a copy.

  10. Books that have the stories and a little history behind delicious food are always my favorites and I love NYC, so this sounds like a book I would really enjoy! 😉

  11. I am intrigued by the chapter titles. I love these kind of books.

  12. Jackie says:

    This sounds like my kind of book.

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