"Red Sauce: How Italian Food Became American is the fascinating result, a well-researched look into how the cuisine of Italian immigrants made its way into the American mainstream,"
— New York Post
It is a fascinating social and culinary history exploring the integration of red sauce food into mainstream America alongside the blending of Italian immigrant otherness into a national American identity. The story follows the small parlor restaurants immigrants launched from their homes to large, popular destinations, and eventually to commodified fast food and casual dining restaurants. Some dishes like fettuccine Alfredo and spaghetti alla Caruso owe their success to celebrities, and Italian-American cuisine generally has benefited from a rich history in popular culture.
Drawing on inspiration from Southern Italian cuisine, early Italian immigrants to America developed new recipes and modified old ones. Ethnic Italians invented dishes like lobster fra Diavolo, spaghetti and meatballs, and veal parmigiana, and popularized foods like pizza and baked lasagna that had once been seen as overly foreign. Eventually, the classic red-checkered-table-cloth Italian restaurant would be replaced by a new idea of what it means for food to be Italian, even as ‘red sauce’ became entrenched in American culture.
Like a bowl overflowing with pasta on some nonna's table, there's more than enough goodness to go around in Ian MacAllen's loving tribute to the immigrant food that helped change America. You'll read Red Sauce and understand the history of a certain strain of Italian cuisine and how it shaped our palates, but most importantly, you'll be hungry for more.
There's nothing more American than pizza—so much so that Ladies Home Journal once compared it to eating an apple pie. This, of course, might come as news to its Italian creators. In this fascinating work, Ian MacAllen expertly unpacks how America fell in love with Italian food. Filled with humor and fascinating tid-bits, Red Sauce will give you something excellent to talk about over your next plate of spaghetti.
With this entertaining and appetizing cultural history, MacAllen, like a resourceful chef, offers his readers something entirely new: the compelling story of how Italian food entered the American kitchen, and how it evolved from a foreign oddity into a ubiquitous staple.
At a time when the food media seem to have forgotten the appeal and importance of Italian-American food, Ian MacAllen’s Red Sauce is a restorative whose diligent research and engaging writing puts everything in perspective and shows why Italian-American food continues to be a favorite both here and abroad.
Ian MacAllen’s Red Sauce: How Italian Food Became American is a delightful read! Clear, entertaining, and insightful. Well researched and includes historical recipes. It is a significant contribution to understanding Italian American foodways. P.S. I love red sauce!
An entertaining and authoritative account of Italian-American cuisine and the restaurants that popularized it. The catalogue and description of sauces is by itself a work of art.
Brooklyn Rail, May 2022
Jeresy City Times, May 10, 2022
GreyHorse Newsletter, May 2022
Indiana Pizza Club, May 2022
KQED Forum, May 6 2022
Southern Review of Books, May 4, 2022
InsideHook, April 5, 2022
Largehearted Boy, April 5, 2022
Chicago Review of Books, April 4, 2022
The New York Post, March 26, 2022
Booklist, March 15, 2022
The Rumpus, December 10, 2021
Franklin Park, Brooklyn
Check out the Red Sauce Blog for recipes, fun stories that didn't make it into the book, and new research in the history of Italian American food.
Pages: 224 • Trim: 5½ x 8½
978-1-5381-6234-7 • Hardback • April 2022 • $32.00 • (£25.00)
978-1-5381-6235-4 • eBook • April 2022 • $30.00 • (£22.95) (coming soon)
Subjects:History / Europe / Italy, Cooking / History, Cooking / Regional & Ethnic / Italian, History / United States / General