‘America: The Cookbook’ highlights recipes from all 50 states

New York is the birthplace of the Cosmopolitan, the Waldorf salad and, of course, the New York strip steak.

For a deep dive into these culinary contributions and more — as well as specialties from all 50 states, while you’re at it — there’s “America: The Cookbook” ($49.95, Phaidon).

In this massive new cookbook, author Gabrielle Langholtz has pulled together more than 850 recipes from all 50 states, alongside guest essays and menus from contributors. (For New York, that means an essay from New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik and recipes from the New York Times’ Melissa Clark.)

With holiday sweets top of mind, among the cookbook’s regional dessert offerings you’ll find Mississippi mud pie, Texas sheet cake, Boston cream pie and, out of New York, a classic cheesecake.

“Italians, French, Russians and Greeks all stir their soft cheeses into sweet cake batter. But New York cheesecake is born of a decidedly American ingredient: Cream cheese,” writes Langholtz, noting that cream cheese, though synonymous with Philadelphia due to marketing, was born in New York state in 1880.



Prep time: 20 minutes, plus chill time

Cooking time: 2 hours 40 minutes

Serves: 16


For the crust:

1 3⁄4 cups graham cracker crumbs2 tbsp. sugar

4 tbsp. butter, melted

Pinch of salt


For the filling:

2 lb. cream cheese, at room temp

1 1⁄4 cups sugar

Pinch of salt

4 eggs

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

2⁄3 cup sour cream

2⁄3 cup heavy (whipping) cream


Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Wrap the outside of a 10-inch springform pan with several layers of foil. Gently fold the foil up around the base of the pan and make sure there are no holes. (The cake will be baked in a water bath.)


For the crust: In a bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, butter and salt until well combined. Press into the bottom of the pan. Bake the crust for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.


For the filling: In a medium bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth and soft. Beat in the sugar and salt. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition. Beat in the vanilla, lemon juice, sour cream and cream.


Bring a kettle of water to a boil. Place the foil-wrapped springform pan (with the prebaked crust) in a large roasting pan. Pour the cheesecake batter into the crust. Pour enough boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of the pan. Bake just until the center is set and the edges of the cake are golden brown, about 1 hour 30 minutes. Turn the oven off, crack the oven door a few inches and let the cake cool in the oven for 1 hour.


Remove from the oven and run a knife around the edge of the cake. Carefully remove the ring and refrigerate the cake until well chilled, at least 4 hours, before serving.