Andrew F. Smith is a writer, culinary expert, and food historian. He is the author of Eating History and the editor of The Edible Series. Here are excerpts from a conversation about ethnic food in America.
What are the three most popular ethnic cuisines in the U.S. today?
Simply based on the number of restaurants today that claim to be ethnic, the top end would be Italian, Mexican, and Chinese, although one could argue that the food served in most of these restaurants have little to do with the "home" cuisine.
What ethnic groups have influenced American cuisine the most? And why?
Assuming you don't consider English to be an ethnic group ... my answer is French, simply because of haute cuisine restaurants, and those who have adopted French culinary styles to American tastes, such as Julia Child and Alice Waters.
In terms of availability of ethnic food and ingredients, what changes have you seen in the U.S. over the last two decades?
The Internet, the jet airplane, and the container ship have made virtually every ingredient available to anyone who wants to look for them -- and pay for them.
How will American cuisine continue to evolve?
This would require a book to answer.
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