Hungering for America: Italian, Irish, and Jewish Foodways in the Age of Migration

Hungering for America: Italian, Irish, and Jewish Foodways in the Age of Migration

by Hasia R. Diner
     
 

Millions of immigrants were drawn to American shores, not by the mythic streets paved with gold, but rather by its tables heaped with food. How they experienced the realities of America's abundant food--its meat and white bread, its butter and cheese, fruits and vegetables, coffee and beer--reflected their earlier deprivations and shaped their ethnic practices in the… See more details below

Overview

Millions of immigrants were drawn to American shores, not by the mythic streets paved with gold, but rather by its tables heaped with food. How they experienced the realities of America's abundant food--its meat and white bread, its butter and cheese, fruits and vegetables, coffee and beer--reflected their earlier deprivations and shaped their ethnic practices in the new land.

Hungering for America tells the stories of three distinctive groups and their unique culinary dramas. Italian immigrants transformed the food of their upper classes and of sacred days into a generic "Italian" food that inspired community pride and cohesion. Irish immigrants, in contrast, loath to mimic the foodways of the Protestant British elite, diminished food as a marker of ethnicity. And, East European Jews, who venerated food as the vital center around which family and religious practice gathered, found that dietary restrictions jarred with America's boundless choices.

These tales, of immigrants in their old worlds and in the new, demonstrate the role of hunger in driving migration and the significance of food in cementing ethnic identity and community. Hasia Diner confirms the well-worn adage, "Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are."

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674006058
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Publication date:
01/28/2002
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
6.36(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.08(d)

Table of Contents

Preface
1Ways of Eating, Ways of Starving1
2Black Bread, Hard Bread: Food, Class, and Hunger in Italy21
3"The Bread Is Soft": Italian Foodways, American Abundance48
4"Outcast from Life's Feast": Food and Hunger in Ireland84
5The Sounds of Silence: Irish Food in America113
6A Set Table: Jewish Food and Class in Eastern Europe146
7Food Fights: Immigrant Jews and the Lure of America178
8Where There Is Bread, There Is My Country220
Notes233
Index285

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