5 Surprising Benefits of Studying Regional Culinary History


If you’re an avid history and culture reader, then you’re already very familiar with the way books on your favorite topics can open up your world. They allow you to hear and appreciate the voices of people who have lived all sorts of lives all over the planet. They help you forge a connection between the world you know personally and the world as other people know it.

Books can help you become more connected to other aspects of everyday life as well, like the act of preparing, cooking, and eating our meals. That said, if you’re a reader and a foodie, it’s time you discovered your new favorite reading topic – regional culinary history. Here’s a look at some of the amazing things it can bring to your life.

1. You’ll discover how your favorite dishes and food cultures came to be.

You don’t have to be a culture buff or a foodie to know that a region’s local specialties are pretty much synonymous with the region itself. After all, can you really picture New England without also thinking about their famous lobster rolls? Would you really consider a visit to Philadelphia complete without eating a genuine Philly cheesesteak?

Regional culinary history lets you discover the fascinating backstories behind how our nation’s most beloved dishes, restaurants, and food cultures came to be the stuff of pilgrimages. Learn how Los Angeles became famous for its taco trucks. Discover how North Carolina’s signature barbecue style became famous the world over. Soak up local legends about New Mexico’s chili culture. The options are endless!

2. You’ll learn more about how we got to where we are today.

Culinary history isn’t just a great way to gain access to tons of riveting stories and mouthwatering tidbits about your favorite edibles. It’s also a way to gain a unique perspective on human history itself.

American culinary history books tell the story of how our society became everything that it is today. They let you in on the details of how people learned to live in harmony with the land and make the most out of indigenous ingredients. They even introduce you to the personal stories behind some of today’s most important restaurants, both local favorites and chains that made history. Explore any aspect of American history you like as it relates to food, drink, and restaurant culture.

3. You’ll develop a whole new level of appreciation for the food you eat.

As Americans become increasingly used to nearly unlimited information access, they’re becoming more interested in knowing more about what they eat. They want to know who grows it and where it comes from. They’re increasingly interested in concepts like farm-to-table dining and clean eating.

Studying the history of food in America will open your eyes to cooking and eating on a level you’ve never experienced before. You’ll marvel at the ways something as simple as a taco, a steak, or a stalk of broccoli is part of a bigger, richer story.

4. You’ll develop a better understanding of all America’s people.

America isn’t referred to as “the great melting pot” for nothing. It’s one of the most diverse countries in existence. It’s been home to immigrants from every corner of the globe since its earliest days. This is exactly how American cuisine came to be the eclectic entity that it is, with each region having its own signature take on cooking and eating.

A decision to delve more deeply into the history of food in America is a chance to get to know each of America’s unique communities, subcultures, and ethnic groups on an intimate new level. You’ll hear incredible personal stories. You’ll view hundreds of beautiful historic images. You’ll most certainly develop a new appreciation for all of the people that made America the wonderful place that it is.

5. You’ll get the chance to get to know your own home town or favorite region better.

Most people know quite a bit about the town where they grew up, as well as their favorite vacation destinations and points of interest. However, regional food history books can help you expand upon your existing knowledge and interest. Learn how your favorite childhood dishes and regional staples came to be. Learn about the industries that helped shaped the development of the place where you live.

Browse Arcadia Publishing’s extensive selection of regional interest books on food, drink, and restaurants throughout the history of America and discover a whole new aspect of American history. Explore the possibilities today!