A former insurance agent was the genius behind White Castle; Academy Award-winner Yul Brenner had a starring role in making sushi popular; and a US president’s trip to China is one reason we order Kung Pao chicken in America.
Those are just some of the nuggets served up in the new book, “Food Americana: The Remarkable People and Incredible Stories Behind America’s Favorite Dishes” (Mango Publishing) by David Page, the creator of the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”
Page looks at what and who shaped dishes, often imported from other countries, into unique American offerings. Here are a few historical tidbits to share at cocktail hour:
Chinese government official Li HongzhangGetty Images Chop Suey and Kung Pao Chicken
At first, the Bohemians — the hipsters of the 1800s — were the only non-Chinese to venture to Chinatowns across the United States. But that all changed when Li Hongzhang, a senior Chinese government official, visited the US