Ghulam Bombaywala sells bagels in Houston. Demetrios dishes up pizza in Connecticut. The Wangs serve tacos in L.
A. How ethnicity has influenced American eating habits - and thus, the make-up and direction of the American cultural mainstream - is the story told in "We Are What We Eat." It is a complex tale of ethnic mingling and borrowing, entrepreneurship and connoisseurship, of food as a social and political symbol and weapon - and a thoroughly entertaining history of our culinary tradition of multiculturalism. "We Are What We Eat" follows the fortunes of dozens of enterprising immigrant cooks and grocers, street hawkers and restaurateurs who have cultivated and changed the tastes of native-born Americans from the seventeenth century to the present. The book draws a surprisingly peaceful picture of American ethnic relations, in which "Americanized" foods like Spaghetti-Os happily coexist with painstakingly pure ethnic dishes and creative hybrids.