What’s Best, Worst, and Most Weird About American Food
A chef tastes dishes from every state, including all the clam chowders, beaver tail stew, and the country’s most delicious cookie.
Matthew Gavin Frank sampled everything from clam chowder in Connecticut to beaver-tail stew in Arkansas to deliver what he calls an “anti-cookbook cookbook.” The former chef, who started in the restaurant business as an 11-year-old dishwasher at a fast food chicken shack near Chicago, ate his way across the 50 states for his new book, The Mad Feast: An Ecstatic Tour Through America’s Food. American cuisine, he discovered, is as varied as its ethnic make-up.
Speaking from a parking lot in Michigan during his book tour, Frank explains why bagels have a hole in them; how Florida sponge fishermen may have created Key Lime Pie; and how rat meat, stewed in red wine, was once a delicacy in medieval France.