Food City: Four Centuries of Food-Making in New York

Food City: Four Centuries of Food-Making in New York


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A 2017 James Beard Award Nominee: From the breweries of New Amsterdam to Brooklyn’s Sweet’n Low, a vibrant account of four centuries of food production in New York City.

New York is hailed as one of the world’s “food capitals,” but the history of food-making in the city has been mostly lost. Since the establishment of the first Dutch brewery, the commerce and culture of food enriched New York and promoted its influence on America and the world by driving innovations in machinery and transportation, shaping international trade, and feeding sailors and soldiers at war. Immigrant ingenuity re-created Old World flavors and spawned such familiar brands as Thomas’ English Muffins, Hebrew National, Twizzlers, and Ronzoni macaroni.

Food historian Joy Santlofer re-creates the texture of everyday life in a growing metropolis—the sound of stampeding cattle, the smell of burning bone for char, and the taste of novelties such as chocolate-covered matzoh and Chiclets. With an eye-opening focus on bread, sugar, drink, and meat, Food City recovers the fruitful tradition behind today’s local brewers and confectioners, recounting how food shaped a city and a nation.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393076394
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 11/01/2016
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 829,386
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Joy Santlofer was the editor-in-chief of NY FoodStory and taught in the New York University Food Studies program.
Her husband, Jonathan Santlofer, a best-selling novelist, and her daughter Doria live in New York City.

Table of Contents

Foreword Marion Nestle ix

Acknowledgments xi

An Invitation to Food City xv

I Appetite

1 Dutch Tastes 3

2 English Appetites 16

3 Toward Independence 27

4 Food on Parade 37

II Bread

5 The Dark Prophecy of Adam Smith 47

6 "The Big Ditch" 57

7 War Boom 63

8 The Age Of-Incorporation 75

9 Dirty Bread 88

10 Clean Bread 97

11 "Among Great Industries …" 108

12 "Brother, Can You Spare A Doughnut?" 117

13 Exodus 129

III Sugar

14 The Headless Helmsman 139

15 Candy Gets Technical 144

16 Bone Char and Other "Nuisances" 148

17 War and Sugar 155

18 King Harry 163

19 Price War 174

20 "A Rotten Job" 180

21 Sweets in Sour Times 190

22 War, Rationing, and Yogurt 197

23 "Greatest Manufacturing Town on Earth" 203

24 Chemical and Other Challenges to Sugar 214

25 Candy on the Rocks 221

26 Closing Time 225

27 Departures and Arrivals 229

IV Drink

28 Swill Milk 239

29 The Brady Bunch 245

30 The Lager Craze 249

31 Brewery Princess 255

32 The Thirsty Home Front 260

33 "City on a Still" 265

34 The Battle for Pasteurized Milk 272

35 Rolls-Royce Coffee 280

36 Heavenly Coffee, Earthly Beer 287

37 Goodbye to All That 295

V Meat

38 Manhattan Cattle Drive 303

39 Fooling Mrs. Eastman 310

40 The Militant 315

41 The Beef Trust 320

42 The Sausage Millionaires 324

43 From Depression to War 329

44 Cellophane Meat 337

45 The Specter of Change 340

46 Kosher From Indiana? 344

Conclusion: New Food City

Bread 349

Sugar 355

Drink 358

Meat 364

Those Who Leave, Those Who Stay 366

Notes 369

Jacket Image Credits 432

Illustration Credits 433

Index 435


From the breweries of New Amsterdam to Brooklyn’s Sweet’n Low, a vibrant account of four centuries of food production in New York City.

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