Touring America is an epic journey for Jamie. Think narratives of the wild west and characters from Gone With the Wind - well, not quite. In six trips he discovers the carnival culture of Louisiana, native American cooking in Arizona, immigrant restaurants on the outer-bounds of society in New York, a barbecue competition in Georgia... the list goes on. This was an enormous challenge, but I think Oliver has managed to do the impossible: truly engage with a people and a culture that have become so beyond stereotype in our minds. If you don't believe me, check out this trailer on the Channel Ten website. If you have been watching the bucking bull of a TV series, you will have already seen the moment he hunts and strips an alligator for cooking (Irwin style). The book features superb photography, wine suggestions and finer versions of baby back ribs, Waldorf salad and hamburgers.
Reviewed by Karen Coleman, Booktopia Buzz Editor
Jamie will try real American food and meet the most interesting cooks and producers that this vast country has to offer. His epic journey will take him to the heart of America: its people, culture, music and, most importantly, its food.
Along the way Jamie will be getting his hands dirty - meeting hunters, cowboys, fishermen and local producers - as he finds out about the best (and strangest) ingredients on offer.
He won't just be sampling, he'll be getting involved: entering a gumbo 'throw-down' in Louisiana, fishing in California and sampling bison in Montana as he joins life on a ranch.
As well as being a visually stunning journey Jamie's America will is a practical cookbook, with each chapter focusing on the food and recipes of a different state. And the food will be as varied as the landscapes - from spicy Mexican in the desert to freshly caught Alaskan salmon.
With 120 brand new recipes, and Jamie's diary narrative running alongside, this will be a celebratory cookbook of a country with a wide food heritage.
The following is an example recipe from this book:
Apple Berry Pie
Even though it has a strong British heritage, America has embraced the apple pie to the point that it's now considered a quintessentially American dessert. American pies often look like the ones from those Desperate Dan comics - big, robust and full of attitude. The crumble-like topping sprinkled over my pie is an idea I've been playing about with, and I think it helps make it unique. Because huckleberries grow wild in Wyoming, I felt it was only right to use them, but feel free to use fresh or frozen blueberries in their place for equally delicious results. Assembling your pie is dead easy, and I'll talk you through it step by step, but if you'd like to see how it's done before you start, check out my website, www.jamieoliver.com/how-to, for a demonstration.
You can make your pastry by hand, or simply pulse all the ingredients in a food processor. If making by hand, sieve the flour, icing sugar and salt from a height into a large mixing bowl. Use your fingertips to gently work the cubes of butter into the flour and sugar until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Transfer a handful of this mixture to a separate bowl, rub it between your fingers to get larger crumbs, then put aside. Add the eggs and milk to the main mixture and gently work it together until you have a ball of pastry dough. Don't work it too much at this stage - you want to keep it crumbly and short. Sprinkle a little flour over the pastry, then wrap it in clingfilm and pop it into the fridge to rest for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, put the apples into a large pan with the zest and juice of 1 orange, a splash of water and 5 tablespoons of caster sugar. Cover the pan and simmer on a medium heat for 10 minutes, until the apples have softened but still hold their shape. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Scrunch a handful of berries in a bowl with the remaining caster sugar and the zest and juice of your remaining orange. Add the rest of the berries. Toss the cooled apples and their juices in a large bowl with the berries and the flour, then put aside.
Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Take your ball of pastry out of the fridge and let it come up to room temperature. Get yourself a pie dish around 28cm in diameter. Flour a clean surface and a rolling pin. Cut off a third of your pastry and put that piece to one side. Roll the rest into a circle just over 0.5cm thick, dusting with flour as you go. Roll the circle of pastry up over your rolling pin, then gently unroll it over the pie dish. Push it into the sides, letting any excess pastry hang over the edge. Tip in the fruit filling and brush all around the edge of the pastry with some of the beaten egg. Roll out the smaller ball of pastry about 0.5cm thick and use your rolling pin to lay it over the top of the pie. Brush it all over with more beaten egg, reserving a little. Sprinkle over the reserved crumble mixture and the demerara sugar.
Fold the scruffy edges of pastry hanging over the sides back over the pie, sealing the edge by twisting or crimping it as you like. Brush these folded edges with your remaining beaten egg. Using a small, sharp knife, cut a cross into the middle of the pie. Place on the bottom of the oven and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until golden and beautiful. Serve with ice cream, cream or custard.
optional: good-quality vanilla ice cream, cream or custard, to serve
For the pastry
500g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
100g icing sugar
a pinch of sea salt
250g unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
2 large eggs, preferably free-range or organic
a splash of milk
For the filling
10 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and halved, 3 sliced
juice and zest of 2 oranges
7 heaped tablespoons caster sugar
400g huckleberries or blueberries
1 heaped tablespoon plain flour
1 large egg, preferably freerange or organic, beaten
a small handful of demerara sugar
Italian sweet white - a Moscato d'Asti from Piemonte
Number Of Pages: 360
Published: 1st September 2009
Dimensions (cm): 25.3 x 19.6 x 3.5
Weight (kg): 1.26