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Arthur Schwartz's New York City Food: An Opinionated History and More Than 100 Legendary Recipes Hardcover – November 1, 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Stewart, Tabori and Chang; First Edition edition (November 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158479397X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584793977
  • Product Dimensions: 10.4 x 9.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #893,934 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Chapters on New York City’s massive ethnic influences ("The Jews," "The Italians," "The Chinese") mingle with ones on various kinds of eating establishments ("Grand Hotel Dining," "Steakhouses," "Hot Dogs") and with sections on "The Corner Bakery" and "The Golden Age of Cocktails" in this sumptuous celebration of Gotham’s cuisine. Schwartz, a native New Yorker, has been dishing about the city’s food for years on the radio, and here he catalogs dishes that are known the world over as well as ones that are nearly extinct. He reveals, for example, that only one bakery—in Brooklyn—still makes Nesselrode Pie, a "glorious mound of chocolate-curl-covered rum-, chestnut-, and candied-fruit-flavored Bavarian cream," and that New York Cheesecake is a descendent of the cheesecakes of Eastern Europe. He also includes concise profiles of famous New York foodies, like New York Times critic Craig Claiborne and Lutèce chef-proprietor André Soltner. Scintillating photographs of culinary delights such as Lobster Newberg (created at Delmonico’s in the mid-1870s) and Biscuit Tortoni (which, before "the tiramisu explosion," was one of the city’s most popular Italian-American desserts) complete this delightful volume.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Native New Yorker Arthur Schwartz has an encyclopedic knowledge of the city's aromas and tastes. Currently New York's foremost radio food expert, he was also the longtime executive food editor and critic of the New York Daily News. His previous books include Naples at Table: Cooking in Campania (HarperCollins) and What to Cook When You Think There's Nothing in the House to Eat (Ecco). Schwartz grew up in Brooklyn, where he lives today.

Chris Callis has been a professional photographer for more than 30 years. He is the photographer of Alvin Ailey Dance Moves (STC) and Maury Rubin's Book of Tarts (William Morrow), among other titles.

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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I just love it - the photos and text are wonderful, and the recipes are an added treat.
Karen Adams
All had excellent flavor and texture, and I'm looking forward to trying other recipes from this book, esp. the Lindy's cheesecake and Junior's cheesecake.
datura2002
All in all, it's entertaining and interesting -- and a lovely way to bring yourself back to childhood.
Esther Schindler

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Esther Schindler TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 30, 2005
Format: Hardcover
New York City Food is clearly aimed at those who grew up in New York, and I must include myself among them. Schwartz brings back the memories of the food we (and our parents) grew up with, and provides plenty of history that we never knew.

In 21 chapters, Arthur Schwartz covers NYC's food history. For example, a whole chapter is devoted to Delmonico's, which brought us such well-known dishes as the Delmonico steak, Delmonico potatoes, eggs benedict,and lobster newburg; the restaurant introduced the upper crust to such newfangled ingredients as eggplant and artichokes. The restaurant was important as a see-and-be-seen destination, but its less obvious influences are longer-lasting: it was the first successful a la carte restaurant in the U.S.

Five chapters are devoted to the food and influences of the major (and many) immigrants who came to New York City: the Germans (from delicatessens to Luchows), the Jews (the interview with Sol Kaplan, the original owner of Guss' Pickles, may make the book worth the purchase price), Italians, Irish, Chinese -- you get the idea. Other chapters focus on something historical or quintessentially New York: hot dogs, the glamour years (including the 21 Club), the golden age of cocktails.

Schwartz gives plenty of fun history -- at least it's fun if you have your own memories of Dinty Moore's, or remember your Mom wishing she could go to the Rainbow Room -- as well as a wonderful business and social context (such as the low regard with which the Irish were held in the 1800s, or why Diamond Jim was such a major figure in the City).

Even better, he provides recipes for many of the dishes that make New Yorkers most nostalgic. Everything from the original Thousand Island Dressing (introduced at the Waldorf) to a good knish.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By datura2002 VINE VOICE on July 31, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The history parts are interesting, and doubtless many people will buy the book for those alone. Just wanted to say that the recipes are excellent too - I've made the Blackout Cake, the Red Velvet Cake, and the Crumb Cake so far. All had excellent flavor and texture, and I'm looking forward to trying other recipes from this book, esp. the Lindy's cheesecake and Junior's cheesecake.
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Karen Adams on November 19, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is the perfect gift for any New Yorker, former New Yorker, or wannabe NYer. I bought one for myself, showed it to my dad, and now I have to order another one for myself. I just love it - the photos and text are wonderful, and the recipes are an added treat. Arthur put so much work into this book, and I can honestly say it is a masterpiece! I am planning on bringing a copy to one of his appearances to get autographed.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By K. Flynn on December 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I am married to a native New Yorker and we spent an entire weekend looking over this book and talking about many of the wonderful places it mentions, many of which we still visit today. As an extra bonus for avid cooks, there are recipes. For anyone who remembers Luchows or any of the other venerable, now closed restaurants the book mentions, it will take you back to happy times and good memories. It's an excellent book and clearly Schwartz has poured a great deal of research into what is his labor of love.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By E. Manacker on September 6, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book shows a pictorial and editorial history of New York through its foods and diverse cultures and communities.

Not as many recipes as I would have liked but the recipes it did have were great. Really a gem for anyone who has an interest in regional cuisines and cultures.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Michel Brotman on December 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
New York City Food is a cool combination of a food history of the greatest city in the world combined with recipes for those of us who hate the fact that we can't get to NYC often enough! It's NOT a restaurant guide, so careful not to try to use it as such. But it's a great read and can help you navigate the Apple's neighborhoods on your next trip. Thanks to this book, I found the "holy grail" of half-done pickles on the lower east side on my last trip!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Darby on August 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is a great book, written by someone with impeccable credentials ... former chief food columnist for the New York Times, and a NYC born and bred native.

The author delves deeply into the history of NYC, and then works his way forwards to the present era - but he spends most of his time and energy covering the topic from the gilded age of the 1890's through the late 1980's. Between those dates he overviews all the most well known and influential restaurants of the day, along with information on who the movers and shakers were, what was served, and how they influenced the trends of the day. The author also includes about 100 classic recipes, from a wide variety of sources, directly relating to the names that he covers.

The author does the job credit - the historical information is meticulous, the recipes authentic (and he even included a recipe index in the back), and the book is well organized and well packed with classic photos and anecdotes, and plenty of New Vork verve and originality.

Want to know the origins of Steak Diane" ? Porterhouse Steak ? Lobster Newberg ? NYC Pizza ? It's all in there.

Just a few minor nits, in no particular (there are really just my own notes, to serve as a memory jog for eventually writing a letter of feedback to the author).

* Seafood (chapt 2): This chapter was already obsolete at the time it was first published. There are no photos of the Fulton Fish Market (gasp), nor is there any significant coverage of it's recent relocation to uptown. That section DEFINITELY needs update and expansion, both text, photos, and recipes.
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