We Eat What?

A Cultural Encyclopedia of Unusual Foods in the United States

by Jonathan Deutsch, Editor


What do garbage plates, fluffernutters, and poi have in common? They are unique regional foods.

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Cover image for We Eat What?

May 2018


Pages 339
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Topics Geography and World Cultures/Culture
  American History/Culture

This entertaining and informative encyclopedia examines American regional foods, using cuisine as an engaging lens through which readers can deepen their study of American geography in addition to their understanding of America's collective cultures.

Many of the foods we eat every day are unique to the regions of the United States in which we live. New Englanders enjoy coffee milk and whoopie pies, while Mid-Westerners indulge in deep dish pizza and Cincinnati chili. Some dishes popular in one region may even be unheard of in another region. This fascinating encyclopedia examines over 100 foods that are unique to the United States as well as dishes found only in specific American regions and individual states.

Written by an established food scholar, We Eat What? A Cultural Encyclopedia of Bizarre and Strange Foods in the United States covers unusual regional foods and dishes such as hoppin' Johns, hush puppies, shoofly pie, and turducken. Readers will get the inside scoop on each food's origins and history, details on how each food is prepared and eaten, and insights into why and how each food is celebrated in American culture. In addition, readers can follow the recipes in the book's recipe appendix to test out some of the dishes for themselves. Appropriate for lay readers as well as high school students and undergraduates, this work is engagingly written and can be used to learn more about United States geography.


  • Includes dozens of recipes that students and readers can test for themselves
  • Highlights and thus preserves the cultural integrity of endangered regional foods
  • Supports learning through engagingly written entries accessible to readers of all ages
  • Allows readers to think critically about foods and their origins
  • Highlights "fun facts" about the entries, including terminology and laws, in sidebars
Author Info

Jonathan Deutsch, PhD, is Professor of Culinary Arts and Food Science at Drexel University. Before moving to Drexel, Deutsch built the culinary arts program at Kingsborough Community College, City University of New York (CUNY) and the PhD concentration in food studies at the CUNY Graduate Center. He oversees the Drexel Food Lab, a student-driven product development and food innovation lab. He is author or editor of six books including Barbecue: A Global History (with Megan Elias), Culinary Improvisation, and Gastropolis: Food and Culture in New York City (with Annie Hauck-Lawson). Deutsch is also a classically trained chef.



"This will be of interest to students in culinary programs as well as anyone who wants to know more about the origins of the foods that we eat."Booklist Online

"A solid reference book. . . . For general readers, high schoolers to adults, interested in learning more about the world's food."Library Journal

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