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DISH 2017: What makes American cuisine?


It makes sense that a country built by immigrants would have a cuisine that's been shaped by a world of influences. There aren't many purely American creations on our menus. Even apple pie — so American that it's part of a catchphrase — comes from the Dutch.

Sure, there are a small handful of exceptions, and there are dishes that have been so Americanized that they're no longer recognizable as an import, but there really isn't an American-style of cooking in the same vein as, say, more instantly recognizable French, Greek, or Indian cuisine. American dining isn't easily defined because it is so many things at once.

And we're the better for it.

In this year's DISH, CITY's writers dig a little into some of the cultures that are influencing the ways Rochesterians eat. The area has long been an important home for immigrants and refugees, and Rochester's restaurants reflect all of those cultures coming together.

There are millions of refugees fleeing unstable conditions in their home countries, and many have ended up in Rochester. Starting off, writers Katie Libby and Rebecca Rafferty spotlight three refugees who have opened their own restaurants and share their heritage through food.

There are already some unexpected things happening at Radio Social — the recently opened business that hosts bowling, games, and cocktails — but one of the more surprising aspects is its Israeli menu. We have an interview with Executive Chef Steven Eakins, who explains why he dug into Israeli cuisine.

Then, writer Daniel Kushner goes in search for rare beers and ciders, the kind of unique brew you can only find in one special location in Rochester. And as a bonus, writer Kiara Alfonseca shares a special, family dessert recipe that always reminds her of spring, and Linda Seng, the owner of Thai Mii Up, gives her recipe for mango with sticky rice.

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