Between 1950 and 2000, wars, famines, natural disasters, and global economic and social upheaval resulted in the resettlement of millions of people to the United States. Like immigrants before them, they brought their own foods, flavors, and ideas about what and how to eat, causing major resettings of the American table. Anxious to feed their families and communities of fellow exiles, new immigrants opened small stores, cafes, and food carts wherever they lived. Eventually they expanded into mainstream markets and established more ambitious restaurants and stores both within and outside their communities.
Over the past four decades, millions of Americans developed a taste for the once-exotic food made by once-exotic people who were now neighbors. They started eating and shopping in Little Vietnam, Little Korea, and Little El Salvador, and experimented with new ingredients, mostly breads, spices, condiments, and grains.