Win This Book!

In honor of the Rock Center Farmers Market starting off this week, I’ve got 5 copies of David Kamp’s “The United States of Arugula” to give away.  It’s a great book about the history of cooking and eating in America, and the ongoing revolution that’s changing the way this country looks at food.  (It has also got a few pages on how Barry Benepe founded the Greenmarket program that brought Farmers Markets to New York City in the 70s.)  To win the book, post an early childhood (or later if you didn’t discover good food until after college) memory of food discovery as a comment below.

I remember the first time my dad took me to a sushi restaurant.  I was probably 9 or 10 years old (it was the mid 80s), and I still remember looking down at those circular rice things and thinking “This is the weirdest Chinese food I have ever eaten.”  It is meals like that which made me into the fatso you know today.

Now let’s hear your story.  Post it as a comment below.  I will contact the winners via email (so make sure to fill out the email field.  Don’t worry, your email address won’t show up on the site.)  If you don’t want to wait, the paperback version of the book comes out on Tuesday.  Click here to order it now.

For more on David Kamp click here

UPDATE: This contest has been closed.  Congrats to all the winners.  You have been contacted via email.


  • I was a terrible eater when I was a kid, fussy and picky to the extreme. Late in High School though, and during college, I finally began to wake up to food, and started to lose my fear of trying new things. One day during summer break, I went with co-workers for lunch to a Mexican restaurant somewhere on the west side of town — this was years ago so god knows if the place still exists – and my eyes drifted up from the menu to a hand-written sign on the wall advertising the day’s special. It was something about chicken in a pumpkin seed sauce. Pumpkin seed…. Sauce? I knew pumpkin seeds only as the buttery, toasted treat that came after making Halloween Jack-o’-lanterns, and the thought that these could be incorporated into a sauce was strange.

    I still remember the rich nutty taste of that sauce, how delicious it was and how the flavor made such perfect sense even if my mind hadn’t caught up with the idea of it yet. What’s more, I learned that the chef who had made up this dish from Guatemala, and while of course I knew that such a place existed, it had never occurred to me to think of what Guatemalan food might be like. The dish I was enjoying was not the tacos and enchiladas I understood Mexican food to be… it was Mexican-food-like, but somehow a little different.

    That experience did more than just introduce me to a unexpected and delicious dish – it left me with a sense that my experiences and expectations of food were pretty narrow, and that if I let my curiosity open up a little bit, I might find more unexpected and delicious food out there.

  • I pretty much loved food straight from the womb. My mom asked me what I wanted to for my second birthday and instead of asking for toys I asked for, “Hot dog and peas.”

  • My family immigrated to the US when I was five. We didn’t eat a lot of “American” food until I went to high school. Then I joined my freshman year swim team and everyone kept talking about these two dishes as the “must eat” dishes before a meet–bagels and pierogies. So I went to the supermarket and bought a bag of frozen Lender’s bagels. (Mrs. T’s came soon after.) It wasn’t long before my family discovered fresh bagels tasted even better and a weekly trip to Big Apple bagel was a part of our routine. It still amazes me that we were in this country for eight years before any of us ate a bagel, and that this delectable Jewish food represented “American” food to us.

  • Please clear the “Name” field for your comment and type in your own name before submitting it. Whomever submitted the comment about bagels is not the real me. Accept no substitutes!

    I fixed it. -zach

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