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97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement Paperback – May 31, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
If you do read this book, I'd also recommend looking up the website of the Tenement Museum in New York, which now occupies 97 Orchard Street. You can see addtional photographs and additional details about the lives of the families profiled in the book.
The Kindle formatting was good. The pictures mainly seemed to translate well, although some were small. But judging by a reviewer of the hardcover, this was also the case in the paper book.
The price was a bit high for a Kindle book, but I decided it was worth it for such a fascinating glimpse into the lives of our ancestors.
While growing up, I ate many of the same or similar foods that my parents ate as children, but to me, they were all jumbled up. I thought I knew the derivation of corned beef and cabbage, lasagna, fresh green salad, garlic dill pickles, rye bread and all the other foods put before me on the dining table. However, this book has been a real eye opener; an informative, nostalgic, and entertaining trip to my "roots".
Jane Ziegelman, the author of 97 Orchard, has written what is called "An Edible History" and it is just that. If one were to construct an immigrant-style recipe for this book one would perhaps say: "take a cup of history, a tablespoon each of sociology and anthropology, a pinch of original recipes, mix well, edit and print".
Five fascinating and interweaving chapters present the culinary history of five different immigrant families who resided in 97 Orchard Street over the course of a 70 year period. First the Glockner family from Germany, then the Moore's from Ireland, the German Jewish Gumpertz family, the Russian Jewish Rogarshevskys, and the Baldizzis from Italy each lived in the crowded tenement, and each contributed their culinary traditions to what we Americans eat today.Read more ›
The talk of food and the recipies were so descriptive that I had to go out and buy dark breads, cabbage, saurkraut, sausages, etc.
Having German and Polish parents I grew up with most of the food.
All in all, the book was entertaining as well as informative.
I particularly loved the chapter about the Irish immigrant couple, which goes into significant detail about why the potato famine was as devastating as it was to a whole generation of Irish and how British land and export policies caused the tragedy in the first place. It's a not often told story and not well known. I thought it very interesting that the Irish immigration was largely an immigration of teenagers and young adults, rather than families, and included more young women than men.
The other favorite chapter was the one about the Polish-Russian Jews because that is my personal heritage. When I was a child in the 50s and 60s, my own immigrant parents from Poland fed us in pretty much the same way as the Jewish mother back at the turn of the 20th century. It was all very familiar to me.
The reason I have given 97 Orchard 4 instead of 5 stars is that I wanted the author to provide a concluding chapter that brought all the threads together, discussing the legacy of immigrant foodways to our eating habits today. The book seemed to to end with a "plop!" rather than tying the themes together. Maybe in a later addition the author could remedy this lack.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting enough history of New York food. Hits on most pertinent immigrant groups and particular foods/ traditions. Would recommend enthusiasticallyPublished 9 days ago by Lydia Wilmot
Excellent book on both the house, the families and the foods they introduced to America. Note: 97 Orchard is now a tenement museum in NYC. I cannot wait to visit. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Susan M.
Wife and I read this book in advance of a trip to NYC where we have reserved tickets to the Tenement Museum. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Bob Neaderthal
This is one of my favorite books. Before learning about a edible history, I had no idea my passion for immigrant food history was shared by anyone else. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Sensible
An interesting way to learn of our ethnic background and the foods we eat and a section of New York we should all visit to get an idea of what our families went thru to be here and... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Diane H. Ryder
I don't even know how to review this book, except to say that I read it some time ago and the images and stories still remain. That's the sign of a good book!Published 7 months ago by LRogers