New York City: A Food Biography

Rowman & Littlefield. (Big City Food Biographies). 2013. 204p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781442227125. $38; ebk. ISBN 9781442227132. HOME ECON
In this third book in Rowman & Littlefield's innovative series, Smith (New School Univ.; editor, Oxford Encyclopedia on Food and Drink in America) harnesses his deep knowledge of New York's food culture. The volume begins with a discussion of the natural resources of the region and moves through chapters on the history of settlement in the area, immigration, foods that are unique to the city, and the development of markets, restaurants, and bars. Smith's writing is engaging and approachable, and he makes clear how deep an impact a city's food has on its culture, people, and history. Readers will particularly enjoy Smith's emphasis on the parts of New York's food history that have stayed constant for generations and his discussion of how even small events can fundamentally alter a city's culinary identity.
VERDICT This work is essential for those interested in New York, the influence of food on our culture, and shifting ways of thinking about food throughout history.
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