We’re all familiar with the clich’s of American food: junk food and supersizing: but what is real American food all about? I wanted to get under the skin of the country, find the answers to these questions, and, most importantly, bring the best of what I learned there home for my family, my friends, and you guys.
It’s true that America’s fast-food culture and huge portions have led to massive health problems. But anyone with half a brain knows that how people feed their families is where the real story is. Everywhere I traveled it seemed people were focusing on the simple things and family life. Instead of being shown glitzy, flamboyant food, I was being welcomed into homes and seeing sides of America I’d never dreamed existed. Because of that, I’ve been able to pick up on new and innovative ways of cooking, as well as learn more about the old-school, accessible, and affordable comfort classics that make the country tick.
Jamie Oliver shares his favorite authentic American recipes so you can share with your family:
I’m sure every Jewish family has their own version of this absolutely classic feel-better soup. “Schmaltz” is the Yiddish word for chicken fat, which makes the matzo balls in the soup so special. Traditionally the chicken fat would be rendered separately, but I think skimming the fat works just as well. If someone around you is feeling a bit under the weather, make a big batch of this for them and you’ll be their favorite person.
Italian immigrants brought this dish to America, and since then veal parmigiana has become a classic New York dish, and rightly so. I love it when it’s layered up like this, with the tomato sauce and cheese, then baked in the oven to gratinate. Feel free to swap veal for pork leg or even chicken that’s been battered out. If you want to spike this with a bit of extra flavor you could also add a few capers or olives to the tomato sauce.
Somewhere in Wyoming there’s a confused horse running around that used to be called Redhead but is now called Oliver, thanks to my cowboy mate Hip renaming it after me. To return the favor, I’m naming this delicious old-school twist on Eve’s pudding after him. It’s a great dessert to have up your sleeve because it mostly uses store-bought ingredients. You can use canned peaches or apples instead of pears, and any soft fruit instead of huckleberries.
From JAMIE’S AMERICA by Jamie Oliver. Photographs by David Loftus. Copyright © Jamie Oliver, 2009, 2010. Photographs copyright © David Loftus, 2009, 2010. Published by Hyperion. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.