- Pub. Date:
The purpose of writing this book is both biographical and cultural and also the need to preserve recipes as a link to the history of a neighborhood that vanished five decades ago. Many recipes have been verbally passed down and the primary focus of the book is to preserve them for future generations. Although, the book is original to a specific geographical area the peasant food described in the recipes has become very popular in upscale Italian restaurants. The food is healthy and delicious.
The "old neighborhood" was teaming with specialty shops including grocery stores, cheese shops, bread stores, bakeries, meat markets, a chicken market, and colorful peddlers. There was a pizza parlor that always used linen tablecloths and napkins.
Every house had a "stoop" (colloquial name for small front porch) and on every "stoop" was a favorite chair often carried down several flights of stairs and a Nona or Zia would be seated watching over the neighborhood. These immigrants took great pride in their homes and community and knew everyone on the block and provided an informal but effective "neighborhood watch." When they were not sitting on the "stoop" they could be seen sweeping the sidewalks.
One ritual that has faded from the experience of Italian Americans is Sunday Dinner with "Sunday Gravy". It was a time when families sat and ate at a leisurely pace with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins gathered in one home. It is hoped that COOKING FROM THE ITALIANS OF NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - AN ETHNIC EXPERIENCE will provide each reader with the collective memories of sitting at the table with family.