Kitchens of the Great Midwest - J. Ryan Stradal, Caitlin Thorburn

For a man passionate about food and his baby daughter, our hero is almost unbelievably... naive? unworldly? ignorant about basic facts about infants? To believe in him, I have to think of him as one on those men where other people say, 'He's a nice guy, but...' all the time.

The American food keeps surprising me. He's using his mother's recipes, which are rich in canned goods and use canned soup as a basis for a casserole. I had to look up 'salad oil' and it turned out to include at least three of the oils in my kitchen. I know the couple with a new baby are short of time and money but why would they make Macaroni Cheese from a box when it takes less twenty minutes to make from scratch with dried pasta? And how does a chef not know the varieties of tomato but can name four different kinds of carrot?

This is an education on American food before the emergence of a foodie culture. I feel like a kid raised with iPhones being presented with a rotary dial telephone. Except I lived through this period but in the UK and we never had food like this.