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Hungering for America
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Table of Contents

Preface 1. Ways of Eating, Ways of Starving 2. Black Bread, Hard Bread: Food, Class, and Hunger in Italy 3. "The Bread Is Soft": Italian Foodways, American Abundance 4. "Outcast from Life's Feast": Food and Hunger in Ireland 5. The Sounds of Silence: Irish Food in America 6. A Set Table: Jewish Food and Class in Eastern Europe 7. Food Fights: Immigrant Jews and the Lure of America 8. Where There Is Bread, There Is My Country Notes Index

About the Author

Hasia R. Diner is Paul S. and Sylvia Steinberg Professor of American Jewish History at New York University.

Reviews

In this fascinating survey of the eating habits and influences of Jewish, Italian and Irish immigrants, Diner, a professor of American Jewish history at New York University, charts with wit and graceful prose the similarities and differences between these three distinct groups as they encountered mainstream American culture. Italian immigrants, fleeing poverty and a rigid, class-based economic system, found in America the ability to take "possession of elite food associated with the well-off" and to forge a new collective ethnic identity; in doing so they introduced Italian cuisine to America and created lucrative culinary business opportunities. The Irish, fleeing famine, did not possess a complex "national food culture" because they came from a place "where hunger... defined identity." But many Irish women became cooks and servants (and incidentally, were always called "Biddy"), and thereby entered domestic American life and became familiar with its bourgeois foods and customs. Eastern European Jews "lived in a world where food was sacred for all," as well as tightly controlled by religious law. Like Italians, Jews made their food a public statement of identity, and the availability of nonkosher foods in the U.S. exacerbated conflicts between traditional and assimilationist factions. Diner deftly juggles a huge amount of detail and analysis drawing upon memoirs, cookbooks, newspaper accounts, films and studies of consumer culture and provides both political and social insights in a highly accessible social history. (Jan.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

In this fascinating survey of the eating habits and influences of Jewish, Italian, and Irish immigrants, Diner...charts with wit and graceful prose the similarities and differences between these three distinct groups as they encountered mainstream American culture...Diner deftly juggles a huge amount of detail and analysis--drawing upon memoirs, cookbooks, newspaper accounts, films and studies of consumer culture--and provides both political and social insights in a highly accessible social history. Publishers Weekly 20011105 In Hungering for America...Hasia R. Diner provides a richly detailed, highly original study of the changing food habits of three groups of immigrants--Italians, Irish, and Jews--who migrated to the United States between 1880 and 1920. Italian Tribune 20020221 For those with an appetite for an excellent book on cultural history, I recommend Hungering for America. -- Jack Fischel Indiana Jewish Post & Opinion 20011128 Diner's research--into historical accounts, novels, plays, economic studies, personal narratives and vintage demographic surveys--has produced a book jampacked with fascinating bits of Italian, Irish and Jewish food lore...Diner's bighearted attitude toward immigrants and their struggles...along with the rich anecdotal material, may inspire a pang of regret when you're finished. -- Robert Sietsema New York Times Book Review 20020505

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