In Chapter 7, Mintz writes about the idea of a national cuisine – arguing that cuisines in many cases seem to be defined by their distinctness from each other. In this way, regional cuisines are arguably more important than national ones since they don’t have to exist simply within political borders but instead social ones. Mintz argues that the concept of a “national cuisine” can only really be an aggregate of the various regional ones that are within a nation. In Chapter 8, he goes on to explore the idea of an American cuisine – or more specifically why he believes that America lacks one. All of the factors that make the idea of a regional cuisine more valid than a national one are further accentuated by the vast space, differing cultures and biodiversity of America. However, Mintz does lay out the ways in which he believes that America does approach food in a unique way as a nation.
The “Nation and Cuisine” article from Ray is an analysis of the arguments made by Mintz in regard to the lack of an American cuisine. He further outlines and gives context for some of what Mintz had written, and it was interesting reading a scholarly take on it. Ray concludes by calling his article “… primarily a cautionary tale against over-interpretation.” It is his belief that there is further empirical work to be done to study and lay the framework for what would constitute an American cuisine.