American Foodie: Taste, Art and the Cultural Revolution

By Dwight Furrow

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As nutrition, food is essential, but in today’s world of excess, a good portion of the world has taken food beyond its functional definition to fine art status. From celebrity chefs to amateur food bloggers, individuals take ownership of the food they eat as a creative expression of personality, heritage, and ingenuity. Dwight Furrow examines the contemporary fascination with food and culinary arts not only as global spectacle, but also as an expression of control, authenticity, and playful creation for individuals in a homogenized, and increasingly public, world. 

Whether you are a chef, a home cook, a food expert or you just love food, this book will explain why taste is a significant part of our lives. Reading it might even make your food taste better!

Published by Rowman Littlefield Publishers


You don’t have to be a fan of sophisticated food to enjoy this often entertaining illuminating lecture on America’s current taste revolution….Simply Terrific.
— Publishers Weekly

American Foodie is a thoroughly readable and insightful book on the aesthetics of food and the role of taste in our everyday lives. Dwight Furrow makes the provocative case that far from being an indulgence of the wealthy, foodie culture harbors revolutionary potential to free us from the grip of the food industry by reminding us that flavor matters.
— David M. Kaplan, University of North Texas

American Foodie offers a thought-provoking and readable analysis of the extraordinary rise of interest in cuisine in the United States over the last half century. Furrow presents a compelling vision of the meanings that food attains, meanings attached to home, tradition, romance, and memory. Especially in his examination of culinary modernism, he makes a persuasive case not only for the aesthetic appeal of food but also for its standing as a form of art.
— Carolyn Korsmeyer, author of Making Sense of Taste: Food and Philosophy

This entertainingly written work brings the aesthetics of food up-to-date. It is a must-read for foodies, gourmands, chefs, epicureans, cultural theorists, and philosophers of art.
— Thomas Leddy, San Jose State University, author of The Extraordinary in the Ordinary: The Aesthetics of Everyday Life

Table of Contents

Preface  vii

Introduction   America Discovers Its Palate    1

Chapter One   We Live From Good Soup        11

Chapter Two     Why Food? Why Now?           27

Chapter Three  Gathering the Tribes: Revolutionary Food

and the People Who Create It   49

Chapter Four   From Pleasure to Beauty: If Kant Was at Mhyrvold’s Table  69

Chapter Five   How to Read a Meal: The Flavor of Symbols      95

Chapter Six Can Tuna Casserole Be a Work of Art?     117

Chapter Seven Habits and Heresies: Authenticity, Food Rules, and Tradition   133

Chapter Eight   The Future of Taste    149

Author’s Bio:

Dwight Furrow is Professor of Philosophy at San Diego Mesa College. He specializes in the philosophy of food and wine, aesthetics, and ethics. He is also a Certified Wine Specialist with certification from the Society of Wine Educators and an advanced level certification from the Wine and Spirits Educational Trust. Furrow is the author of Edible Arts, a blog devoted to food and wine aesthetics. He is also the author of many books, professional journal articles, op-ed pieces, and magazine articles.