Thoughts on New American Cuisine
I'm looking into cooking some "new american" dishes at home and was wondering if anyone has thoughts on what defines this relatively new trend in American restaurants / dining in NYC. I understand a basic definition of the cuisine as new twists on Old World food using classical techniques, with an emphasis on the use of quality products / local produce / support of farmer's markets. To me, that sort of implies an anything goes mentality to this genre of food...any ideas or thoughts on what other elements / qualities define new american / american nouveau?
It is easy to look at a dish and say "oh that is chinese or italian or french." Much more difficult to look at a plate of food and say "hey look it is new american." In the future it may be easier to recognize and define New American cuisine. Right now I think it is still in the process of being defined.
I look at it like this. I am an American. I cook a dish using local ingredients that I grew up eating. My dish does not fall into a pre-existing catigory. Therefore, what I have just prepared must be "New American."
It gets confusing because everyone has a different "American" experience. My childhood is Midwestern so I draw a lot of inspiration from that region and style of cooking. An American who grew up in New Mexico or Main or Oregon or who has a diverse ethnic background will produce a very different dish that is equally "American." That is the beauty of it. This is after all the land of opportunity. This is the country where our mother's tell us that "we can be anything we want to be." So isn't it appropriate that New American food can be and often is whatever we want. No boundries no real limits and very few rules. That is the American way.