American cuisine is often described as bland, but throughout our history flavors and spices such as pepper, vanilla, curry powder and soy sauce have crossed the ocean to define our ever-changing palate. Historic Gastronomist Sarah Lohman researched the stories of these flavors in her new book Eight Flavors, The Untold Story of American Cuisine and shares them with us.

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COLUMBUS: DE AGOSTINI / A. DAGLI ORT VIA GETTY; SPICES: YAMADA TARO / GETTY; NEWYORKER.COM

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“Our country is not about homogeny, it’s about diversity, and that’s what has made us so great for so long.” – Sarah Lohman