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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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From Publishers Weekly
Ziegelman (Foie Gras: A Passion) puts a historical spin to the notion that you are what you eat by looking at five immigrant families from what she calls the "elemental perspective of the foods they ate." They are German, Italian, Irish, and Jewish (both Orthodox and Reform) from Russia and Germany--they are new Americans, and each family, sometime between 1863 and 1935, lived on Manhattan™s Lower East Side. Each represents the predicaments faced in adapting the food traditions it knew to the country it adopted. From census data, newspaper accounts, sociological studies, and cookbooks of the time, Ziegelman vividly renders a proud, diverse community learning to be American. She describes the funk of fermenting sauerkraut, the bounty of a pushcart market, the culinary versatility of a potato, as well as such treats as hamburger, spaghetti, and lager beer. Beyond the foodstuffs and recipes of the time, however, are the mores, histories, and identities that food evokes. Through food, the author records the immigrants™ struggle to reinterpret themselves in an American context and their reciprocal impact on American culture at large.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
In this compelling foray into forensic gastronomy, Ziegelman pulls the facade off the titular 97 Orchard Street tenement.The result is a living dollhouse that invites us to gaze in from the sidewalk.With minds open and mouths agape, we witness the comings and goings of the building's inhabitants in the years surrounding the turn of the twentieth century. By focusing on the culinary lives of individuals from a variety of ethnic groups, Ziegelman pieces together a thorough sketch of Manhattan's Lower East Side at a time when these immigrants were at the forefront of a rapidly changing urban life. The food facts she uncovers are sure to interest and astound even those outside the culinary community, and guarantee that the reader will never look at a kosher dill pickle, a wrapped hard candy, or even the delectable foie gras the same way again. Ziegelman cleverly takes this opportunity to show us that in learning about food, we're actually learning about history—and when it comes to the sometimes surprising journey some of our favorite meals have taken to get here, it's fascinating stuff. --Annie Bostrom --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Wish I could travel to see it. There is information about the food that the Irish, Germans, European Jews and Polish, and Italians ate both at home and in their newly established deli's and restaurants.
How they changed the food scene in New York with their way of cooking and eating. How they picnicked and drank and socialized. How they made do by learning their neighbors tricks, making hashes and stews and scrapple.
If you like Food History, this is a good read!
Without indoor plumbing, the women had to carry water for bathing, cooking and laundry up the steps to their floor (there were 5 floors.....pity the people who lived on the top floors!
No plumbing meant no indoor toilets....there were outhouses in the back, and though the book didn't mention chamber pots, we are left to imagine they were a much used item! The imagination also tells the reader that the water carried upstairs didn't get carried back down...it had to be thrown out the window. Let's hope the chamber pot contents weren't!
The book tells how the new immigrants from various lands with their different cultures, wound up in this same building. How they befriended each other, sharing their own ethnic foods.
The book gave quite a few of the recipes typical of that era, but very few were ones I'd want to try. Still, it was interesting to see what dishes were so meaningful to them, comfort foods from their home lands.
The part I enjoyed the most was the last chapter, with its history of the early Italian immigrants, as my elderly husband's parents were from Sicily. He can identify with some of the Sicilians who had their start in this country by opening up small grocery stores since that is what his parents did. He recognized the many Italian foods so popular, in those early days.
It was also fascinating to read how the Italians were so discrinated against, then, being considered at the bottom of the totem pole, with the very lowest of the ethnic groups the Sicilians, largely due to the Mafia element.
The author had to do a tremendous amount of research to put together this history of our early immigrants who went through Ellis Island, and wound up in the same building.
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My parents or their families during the early
Part of the nineteen hundreds.Read more