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Mar 3, 2009 09:02 AM

Wonderful new book: Gastropolis: Food and New York City (Columbia Univ Press)

Gastropolis: Food and New York City (Columbia Univ Press, Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History series)
This book, a collection of approachable, somewhat scholarly articles with the overarching theme of the "food voice", the way culture is experienced through food, is a treasure trove of information on NYC food from first settlers to now. Some highlights:
The article by Anne Mendelson on Lenape food culture is unexpectedly - at least to me, my failing being a certain disinclination to matters historical - fascinating - and she writes a mean footnote. Cosa Mangia Oggi by Annie Rachelle Lanzillotto is an extended stream-of-consciousness riff on her experience of Italian-American food cultiure. Chow Fun City by Harvey Spiller (the guy with the huge Chinese menu collection, among other things) is a fun overview of the development of Chinese food in NYC.
Absolutely first-rate, highest recommendation to anyone interested in food anthropology/history in general and particularly to people who know and love this great city and its chow.

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