I'm sure you've heard they saying, "War is good for the economy", but it has also been paramount in the development of American cuisine; as well as popularizing ethnic food in the US. Believe it or not, the Mussels boom in America is largely in thanks to WW2. Back during the 1930's and World War 2 when food was scarce, or had to be rationed out between citizens here and the GI's abroad, a whole new generation of cooking/cookbooks came out with new ideas on how to feed your family and stretch the food you had. If you've ever seen any depression era or "wartime edition" cookbooks, you'll notice a shift in recipes to contain a lot of fillers, offal meats, jellied salads, an emphasis on eggs, suggestions on sugar replacements, etc... Though mussels had already been around in American diets for quite some time, the scarcity of red meat during the depression and the war left Americans looking for a cheaper and alternate protein source. Mussels were abundant and cheap and began popping up on restaurant menus all over the country... and lucky for us, they were a huge hit and became a significant part of modern American cuisine!
I hope you enjoy today's recipes! Though they do feature the mussels, all 3 of the recipes are uniquely un-American. Bouillabaisse has its roots in Marseille, (but really all over the Mediterranean), Scampi (which actually refers to a langoustine) is Italian. * Fun Fact - The Italian immigrants to America actually starting using shrimp as an alternative to langoustine, so Shrimp Scampi is a redundancy, and actually means shrimp langoustine. And Massaman curry - well, that's a whole other story. Persian influcenced, but Siamese curry dish. Mussels actually showed up in Thailand way way back in the early days of port travel and trade between Malaysia and Sri Lanka.