In 1776, the American colonies declared independence from Britain.
But it wasn't until 1796 that someone dared to tackle a question that would plague every generation of Americans to come: "What is American food?"
American Cookery, the very first American cookbook, was written by Amelia Simmons (more on this mysterious woman later). In it, she promised local food and a kind of socioculinary equality. The title page stated that the recipes were "adapted to this country and all grades of life."