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Hey, Waitress!: The USA from the Other Side of the Tray

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Hey, Waitress!: The USA from the Other Side of the Tray Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"Alison Owings serves up a delightful chronicle of waitressing—from the first commercial eating establishments to a contemporary Pizza Hut—as seen through the eyes of its stalwart practitioners. Hey, Waitress! is a great pleasure to read, not least because it's a long overdue tribute to some of America's most tireless and least appreciated working women."—Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America

"Owings is keenly sensitive to the class antagonisms of restaurant service. And bless her sisterhood of overworked, underpaid, harassed and harried informants in their aprons, hairnets, and rubber-soled shoes. This is oral history at its finest."—Susan Brownmiller, author of Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape

"Welcome to the real world of table service. Alison Owings delves deeply and perceptively into the too-often out-of-view lifestyle of the female server. Hard working women tell their own stories in their own voices and as anthropology—as oral history—it's a comprehensive and thoroughly enjoyable work that will bring cheer and enlightenment to both those inside and outside the restaurant business."—Anthony Bourdain, author of Kitchen Confidential

"Alison Owings has written a clever, compassionate book to celebrate the unsung and terribly important heroes of the workforce: waitresses. This book contains a rich trove of social history; I guarantee that after reading it you will look at the next waitress who serves you with different eyes. And if you want to get a good reading on how classy or unclassy people are, just watch how they treat their waitress!"—Letitia Baldrige, author of A Lady, First: My Life in the Kennedy White House and the American Embassies of Paris and Rome and Letitia Baldrige's Complete Guide to the New Manners for the 90's

Synopsis:

Most of us have sat across the tray from a waitress, but how many of us know what really is going on from her side? Hey, Waitress! aims to tell us. Containing lively, personal portraits of waitresses from many different walks of life, this book is the first of its kind to show the intimate, illuminating, and often shocking behind-the-scenes stories of waitresses' daily shifts and daily lives.

Alison Owings traveled the country—from border to border and coast to coast—to hear firsthand what waitresses think about their lives, their work, and their world. Part journalism and part oral history, Hey, Waitress! introduces an eclectic cast of characters: a ninety-five-year-old Baltimore woman who may have been the oldest living waitress, a Staten Island firebrand laboring at a Pizza Hut, a well-to-do runaway housewife, a Native American proud of her financial independence, a college student loving her diner more than her studies, a Cajun grandmother of twenty-two, and many others.

The book also offers vivid slices of American history. The stories describe the famous sit-in at the Woolworth's counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, which helped spark the civil rights movement; early struggles for waitress unions; and battles against sexually discriminatory hiring in restaurants.

A superb and accessible means of breaking down stereotypes, this book reveals American waitresses in all their complexity and individuality, and will surely change the way we order, tip, and, most of all, behave in restaurants.

About the Author

Alison Owings is a freelance writer and the author of Frauen: German Women Recall the Third Reich (1993).

Table of Contents

Prologue

1. A Brief, and Subjective, History of Waitressing

Voices from the Other Side of the Tray

2. Slices of American History

Arleen Garcia

Ima Jean Edwards

Beulah Compton

Verna Welsh

Marguerite Schertle

Cathryn Anita Smith

3. "We Should Be Respected": Professionals

Margie Watson

Réka Nagy

Patty Devon

Melinda Rubke

Tamara Thompson

Dolores Romero

4. High Ends

Wendy Levy

Nella Powell

Martha Shissler

Sandy Ward

5. "It Was Desperation Time": Waitressing as Salvation

Gladys Gilbert

Susan Donley and Linda Bolanos

Catherine Blount

Bertie Halpern

Hilde Meck

Lorraine Talcove

6. Diners and Downward

Rose Marie Willie

Joanne Mulcahy

Sally Merlo

Diana Candee

Jennifer de Haro

7. Worlds Within Worlds

Mary Ellen Foster McEvily

Melissa Mason

Suz Kling

Cynthia Shearer

Mary-Lyons Mouton Ochsner Bruna

8. After Shift

Kathy Anderson

Lucy Rienzo and Co-workers

Oi Yee Lai

Epilogue

Acknowledgments

Notes

Product Details

ISBN:
9780520217508
Subtitle:
The USA from the Other Side of the Tray
Author:
Owings, Alison
Publisher:
University of California Press
Location:
Berkeley
Subject:
General
Subject:
Business
Subject:
Women
Subject:
United states
Subject:
Waitresses
Subject:
Industries - Hospitality, Travel & Tourism
Subject:
Labor & Industrial Relations
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Series Volume:
0845
Publication Date:
September 2002
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
20 b/w photographs
Pages:
334
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 0.88 in 1 lb

Related Subjects


Cooking and Food » Food Writing » Gastronomic Literature
History and Social Science » Americana » General
History and Social Science » Feminist Studies » Work

Hey, Waitress!: The USA from the Other Side of the Tray
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$ In Stock
Product details 334 pages University of California Press - English 9780520217508 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
Most of us have sat across the tray from a waitress, but how many of us know what really is going on from her side? Hey, Waitress! aims to tell us. Containing lively, personal portraits of waitresses from many different walks of life, this book is the first of its kind to show the intimate, illuminating, and often shocking behind-the-scenes stories of waitresses' daily shifts and daily lives.

Alison Owings traveled the country—from border to border and coast to coast—to hear firsthand what waitresses think about their lives, their work, and their world. Part journalism and part oral history, Hey, Waitress! introduces an eclectic cast of characters: a ninety-five-year-old Baltimore woman who may have been the oldest living waitress, a Staten Island firebrand laboring at a Pizza Hut, a well-to-do runaway housewife, a Native American proud of her financial independence, a college student loving her diner more than her studies, a Cajun grandmother of twenty-two, and many others.

The book also offers vivid slices of American history. The stories describe the famous sit-in at the Woolworth's counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, which helped spark the civil rights movement; early struggles for waitress unions; and battles against sexually discriminatory hiring in restaurants.

A superb and accessible means of breaking down stereotypes, this book reveals American waitresses in all their complexity and individuality, and will surely change the way we order, tip, and, most of all, behave in restaurants.

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