Out of This Kitchen: A History of the Ethnic Groups and Their Foods in the Steel Valley

Overview

From the Author

This commemorative cookbook is the culmination of my life's experiences. My ethnic heritage and participation in the folk arts, education in the social sciences and history, work experience in the Homestead Steel Works, computer graphics and art.

In 1991 I was introduced to some people involved in the Centennial Celebration of the 1892 Homestead Steel Strike. I joined the committee to help plan...

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Overview

From the Author

This commemorative cookbook is the culmination of my life's experiences. My ethnic heritage and participation in the folk arts, education in the social sciences and history, work experience in the Homestead Steel Works, computer graphics and art.

In 1991 I was introduced to some people involved in the Centennial Celebration of the 1892 Homestead Steel Strike. I joined the committee to help plan the event and in so doing began the germ of the idea for the book.

Historians were writing histories of the strike, producers were making videos of the history but there seemed to be something missing. What was missing was a celebration of the people that were involved in the strike and their descendants. They came from various ethnic backgrounds and settled at various times through the history of Homestead and the steel mill.

Having been involved in the folk arts since childhood I also knew that as heritage was passed from generation to generation the folk elements became diluted. The dress or costumes were the first to go, next the language, then the songs and dances. What remained was the food. Passed from generation to generation as grandmothers worked with their daughters and granddaughters cooking holiday traditional recipes and Sunday dinners. A cookbook, I decided, was the perfect media for the celebration of the people of Homestead and surrounding communities that composed the Steel Valley on the Monongahela River.

The format of the book was important if it was to have meaning. I decided that history would be the uniting thread throughout the book but not the purpose of it. World, U.S. and local history would tie the elements together. We researched the local newspapers through local libraries and area newspapers. We found recipes that dated back to 1700's as well as household tips and home remedies for ailments. We interviewed people from the major ethnic groups that populated the Homestead vicinity and talked a lot of people into sharing their precious family recipes with us. In short they shared their life's experiences with us. It was also important not to take a position revolving around the politics of the strike but instead to celebrate the people involved in this titanic labor struggle that would find 12 men killed in the violence of the Homestead Massacre that changed the relationship between management and labor for the next fifty years.

And so the book took the shape of an ethno-historic cookbook of all things. Whether by design or accident this formula has proven to be quite popular. We are now in the third printing of the book and have shipped books all over the United States and Canada.

We begin the book with a brief history of the strike to provide a setting. Each ethnic section begins with a history of the immigration of that particular group and include some interviews with senior members of the group to provide context of what life was like during the heyday of the mills and follow these with some of their most notable recipes. Mixed into this are some historic recipes from local newspapers and many household tips and home remedies.

As a labor of love, I am pleased by the success the book has enjoyed. I hope to do others in the future. Learning about the people of this great nation and where they came from is the best part of all.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780963874504
  • Publisher: Publassist
  • Publication date: 7/1/2002
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 186
  • Sales rank: 1,004,622
  • Product dimensions: 6.08 (w) x 8.44 (h) x 0.82 (d)

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