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BLUE CORN AND CHOCOLATE by Elisabeth Rozin

BLUE CORN AND CHOCOLATE

By Elisabeth Rozin

Pub Date: March 25th, 1992
ISBN: 0-394-58308-6
Publisher: Knopf

 Though polls continue to remind us that many Americans can't name their senators or date the Civil War, it's hard to imagine getting through 1992 without widespread awareness that Columbus and those who followed him across the ocean discovered corn, potatoes, squash, tomatoes, peppers, chilies, chocolate, many beans, and turkeys, among other foods. Raymond Sokolov's Why We Eat What We Eat (1991) traced the culinary fruit of that 1492 encounter in interesting and ingenious detail. Rozin's sometimes blurby accounts of each food's adoption is far less enlightening; but what she mainly offers are recipes, and what's ingenious here is the cross- cultural mix within the dishes--especially in the section on chocolate, which also gets the most informative introduction. Like Rozin's The Flavor Principle Cookbook (1973), this is a bit gimmicky in concept: She simply latches onto the theme of the Columbus quincentennial with no attempt at historical or cultural authenticity or consistency. But also like the earlier book, it's a decent collection with an appeal both homey and sophisticated, the recipes reasonably undemanding and making knowing--if free--use of Old World, New World, crossover, and familiar American traditions. (Sixty-five photographs--not seen.)