While this book does contain recipes, you'll eat up Betty Fussell's I Hear America Cooking more for the anthropological-but-in-no-way-dry read. Fussell, one of the trailblazers who urged Americans to embrace their own cuisine, traveled from Alaska to Florida to find, interview, and cook with people making true regional cuisine. The resulting book features the lineage and stories of what she calls the "vernacular cuisines" of six borderlands: the Southwest desert, the Louisiana delta, the Carolinas, the New England coast, the Great Lakes of the Midwest, and the Pacific Northwest. You'll meet a man who barbecued a raccoon, and learn the story of how baking powder is evolved from powdered leavening that evolved from Indian wood ash. In addition to the detailed histories, Fussell's "analysis and way of unpacking American culinary identity is what makes it a wonderful read."