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97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenementby Jane Ziegelman
I love looking at history through the telescope of a particular subject, in this case, the food of New York immigrants at the turn of the century. Not so very long ago, our hot dogs, bagels, and lasagna were exotic introductions to this country. Cookbooks were rare, with recipes handed down through the generations from mother to daughter. Life was arduous for a mother trying to feed her family in a fifth-floor tenement with no running water. But from the different cultures and religions of our immigrant ancestors, we have inherited a rich, diverse table of food.
Synopses & Reviews
In 97 Orchard, Jane Ziegelman explores the culinary life that was the heart and soul of New York's Lower East Side around the turn of the twentieth century-a city within a city, where Germans, Irish, Italians, and Eastern European Jews attempted to forge a new life. Through the experiences of five families, all of them residents of 97 Orchard Street, she takes readers on a vivid and unforgettable tour, from impossibly cramped tenement apartments down dimly lit stairwells where children played and neighbors socialized, beyond the front stoops where immigrant housewives found respite and company, and out into the hubbub of the dirty, teeming streets. Ziegelman shows how immigrant cooks brought their ingenuity to the daily task of feeding their families, preserving traditions from home but always ready to improvise. While health officials worried that pushcarts were unsanitary and that pickles made immigrants too excitable to be good citizens, a culinary revolution was taking place in the streets of what had been culturally an English city. Along the East River, German immigrants founded breweries, dispensing their beloved lager in the dozens of beer gardens that opened along the Bowery. Russian Jews opened tea parlors serving blintzes and strudel next door to Romanian nightclubs that specialized in goose pastrami. On the streets, Italian peddlers hawked the cheese-and-tomato pies known as pizzarelli, while Jews sold knishes and squares of halvah. Gradually, as Americans began to explore the immigrant ghetto, they uncovered the array of comestible enticements of their foreign-born neighbors. 97 Orchard charts this exciting process of discovery as it lays bare the roots of our collective culinary heritage.
About the Author
"Jane Ziegelman brings us into the kitchens of five women whose home cooking not only fed their families and their neighborhoods but became part of the culinary DNA of America itself. Drawing on wonderfully evocative primary sources, Ziegelman describes how they contributed to the complexities of ethnic identity, class, and religion in a tumultuous city. Beautifully written and full of insights, 97 Orchard makes it clear that the story of New York is overwhelmingly a story about buying, selling, cooking, eating, and sharing food."---Laura Shafira, author of Perfection Salad: Women and Cooking at the Turn of the Century
Jane Ziegelman is the director of the forth-coming culinary program at New York City's Tenement Museum. The founder and director of Kids Cook!, a multiethnic cooking program for children, she has presented food-related talks and cooking classes in libraries and schools across New York City. Her writing on food has appeared in a number of newspapers, magazines, and books, including The New Cook's Catalog, and she is the coauthor of Foie Gras: A Passion. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Table of Contents
The Glockner family — The Moore family — The Gumpertz family — The Rogarshevsky family — The Baldizzi family.
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Cooking and Food » Reference and Etiquette » Historical Food and Cooking