97 Orchard

An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement

Ziegelman, Jane

Book - 2010
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
97 Orchard
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.

Publisher: New York : Smithsonian Books/HarperCollins, c2010
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 0061288500
Branch Call Number: 394.12 Ziegelma
394.12 Ziegelma
Characteristics: xv, 253 p. : ill. ; 24 cm
Alternate Title: Ninety-seven Orchard


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Jul 07, 2011
  • ABluestocking rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Wonderful! Don't read while hungry! Jane Ziegelman doesn't delve too deeply into the lives of the families in the book, just enough to understand the hardships and what each may have gone through to feed their families. Jane gives a great deal of attention to the areas surrounding 97 Orchard and the changing times.


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