Culinary Crossroads | Wyatt’s World

The metaphor that America is a melting pot is made concrete in its layered and various foodways. Here are five books that prove the point.

  • Turnip Greens & Tortillas: A Mexican Chef Spices Up the Southern Kitchen by Eddie Hernandez & Susan Puckett (Rux Martin: Houghton Harcourt).
    From James Beard Award nominee Hernandez— executive chef at Taqueria del Sol, one of the buzziest restaurants in the country—comes a blend of Southern and Mexican cuisine, with dishes such as chicken potpie served inside a puffy tortilla shell.
  • Between Harlem and Heaven: Afro-Asian-American Cooking for Big Nights, Weeknights, and Every Day by JJ Johnson & others (Flatiron: Macmillan).
    Built upon a culinary study of the African diaspora, these recipes pull on a global string of influences. Highlights include delicata squash salad with yuzu buttermilk dressing and lime curry cauliflower.
  • The Juhu Beach Club Cookbook: Indian Spice, Oakland Soul by Preeti Mistry with Sarah Henry (Running Pr.).
    Drawing on the traditions and deep roots of Indian food, Mistry’s recipes are entangled in the stories of their origins. Featuring the author’s famous Manchurian cauliflower and a range of chutneys and masalas, among other delights.
  • The Immigrant Cookbook: Recipes That Make America Great; ed. by Leyla Moushabeck (Interlink).
    From gumbo to pizza, this volume celebrates the way global food traditions—and cooks from around the world—create the flavors of America. Famous chefs such as April Bloomfield, Dominique Ansel, and José Andrés contribute recipes.
  • Hawker Fare: Stories & Recipes from a Refugee Chef’s Isan Thai & Lao Roots by James Syhabout with John Birdsall (Anthony Bourdain: Ecco).
    Both street food and high-end dining inform this work, which stems from Syhabout’s West Coast eatery, Hawker Fare. Dishes include bean thread salad with chile jam and poached eggs with instant noodles.
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Neal Wyatt About Neal Wyatt

Neal Wyatt compiles LJ's online feature Wyatt's World and is the author of The Readers' Advisory Guide to Nonfiction (ALA Editions, 2007). She is a collection development and readers' advisory librarian from Virginia. Those interested in contributing to The Reader's Shelf should contact her directly at

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