Feeding Gotham: The Political Economy and Geography of Food in New York, 1790–1860

Princeton University Press
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New York City witnessed unparalleled growth in the first half of the nineteenth century, its population rising from thirty thousand people to nearly a million in a matter of decades. Feeding Gotham looks at how America's first metropolis grappled with the challenge of provisioning its inhabitants. It tells the story of how access to food, once a public good, became a private matter left to free and unregulated markets—and of the profound consequences this had for American living standards and urban development.

Taking readers from the early republic to the Civil War, Gergely Baics explores the changing dynamics of urban governance, market forces, and the built environment that defined New Yorkers’ experiences of supplying their households. He paints a vibrant portrait of the public debates that propelled New York from a tightly regulated public market to a free-market system of provisioning, and shows how deregulation had its social costs and benefits. Baics uses cutting-edge GIS mapping techniques to reconstruct New York’s changing food landscapes over half a century, following residents into neighborhood public markets, meat shops, and groceries across the city’s expanding territory. He lays bare how unequal access to adequate and healthy food supplies led to an increasingly differentiated urban environment.

A masterful blend of economic, social, and geographic history, Feeding Gotham traces how this highly fragmented geography of food access became a defining and enduring feature of the American city.

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About the author

Gergely Baics is assistant professor of history and urban studies at Barnard College, Columbia University.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Aug 30, 2016
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Pages
368
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ISBN
9781400883622
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Americas (North, Central, South, West Indies)
History / Social History
History / United States / 19th Century
Social Science / Agriculture & Food
Technology & Engineering / Agriculture / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Michael Pollan, the bestselling author of The Omnivore's Dilemma, Food Rules, and How to Change Your Mind, explores the previously uncharted territory of his own kitchen in Cooked. 

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In Cooked, Pollan discovers the enduring power of the four classical elements—fire, water, air, and earth—to transform the stuff of nature into delicious things to eat and drink. Apprenticing himself to a succession of culinary masters, Pollan learns how to grill with fire, cook with liquid, bake bread, and ferment everything from cheese to beer.

Each section of Cooked tracks Pollan’s effort to master a single classic recipe using one of the four elements. A North Carolina barbecue pit master tutors him in the primal magic of fire; a Chez Panisse–trained cook schools him in the art of braising; a celebrated baker teaches him how air transforms grain and water into a fragrant loaf of bread; and finally, several mad-genius “fermentos” (a tribe that includes brewers, cheese makers, and all kinds of picklers) reveal how fungi and bacteria can perform the most amazing alchemies of all. The reader learns alongside Pollan, but the lessons move beyond the practical to become an investigation of how cooking involves us in a web of social and ecological relationships. Cooking, above all, connects us.

The effects of not cooking are similarly far reaching. Relying upon corporations to process our food means we consume large quantities of fat, sugar, and salt; disrupt an essential link to the natural world; and weaken our relationships with family and friends. In fact, Cooked argues, taking back control of cooking may be the single most important step anyone can take to help make the American food system healthier and more sustainable. Reclaiming cooking as an act of enjoyment and self-reliance, learning to perform the magic of these everyday transformations, opens the door to a more nourishing life.
“The one food book you must read this year."
—Southern Living 

One of Christopher Kimball’s Six Favorite Books About Food

A people’s history that reveals how Southerners shaped American culinary identity and how race relations impacted Southern food culture over six revolutionary decades

Like great provincial dishes around the world, potlikker is a salvage food. During the antebellum era, slave owners ate the greens from the pot and set aside the leftover potlikker broth for the enslaved, unaware that the broth, not the greens, was nutrient rich. After slavery, potlikker sustained the working poor, both black and white. In the South of today, potlikker has taken on new meanings as chefs have reclaimed it. Potlikker is a quintessential Southern dish, and The Potlikker Papers is a people’s history of the modern South, told through its food. Beginning with the pivotal role cooks and waiters played in the civil rights movement, noted authority John T. Edge narrates the South’s fitful journey from a hive of racism to a hotbed of American immigration. He shows why working-class Southern food has become a vital driver of contemporary American cuisine.
 
Food access was a battleground issue during the 1950s and 1960s. Ownership of culinary traditions has remained a central contention on the long march toward equality. The Potlikker Papers tracks pivotal moments in Southern history, from the back-to-the-land movement of the 1970s to the rise of fast and convenience foods modeled on rural staples. Edge narrates the gentrification that gained traction in the restaurants of the 1980s and the artisanal renaissance that began to reconnect farmers and cooks in the 1990s. He reports as a newer South came into focus in the 2000s and 2010s, enriched by the arrival of immigrants from Mexico to Vietnam and many points in between. Along the way, Edge profiles extraordinary figures in Southern food, including Fannie Lou Hamer, Colonel Sanders, Mahalia Jackson, Edna Lewis, Paul Prudhomme, Craig Claiborne, and Sean Brock. 
 
Over the last three generations, wrenching changes have transformed the South. The Potlikker Papers tells the story of that dynamism—and reveals how Southern food has become a shared culinary language for the nation.
An enlightening narrative history—an entertaining fusion of Tom Wolfe and Michael Pollan—that traces the colorful origins of once unconventional foods and the diverse fringe movements, charismatic gurus, and counterculture elements that brought them to the mainstream and created a distinctly American cuisine.

Food writer Jonathan Kauffman journeys back more than half a century—to the 1960s and 1970s—to tell the story of how a coterie of unusual men and women embraced an alternative lifestyle that would ultimately change how modern Americans eat. Impeccably researched, Hippie Food chronicles how the longhairs, revolutionaries, and back-to-the-landers rejected the square establishment of President Richard Nixon’s America and turned to a more idealistic and wholesome communal way of life and food.

From the mystical rock-and-roll cult known as the Source Family and its legendary vegetarian restaurant in Hollywood to the Diggers’ brown bread in the Summer of Love to the rise of the co-op and the origins of the organic food craze, Kauffman reveals how today’s quotidian whole-foods staples—including sprouts, tofu, yogurt, brown rice, and whole-grain bread—were introduced and eventually became part of our diets. From coast to coast, through Oregon, Texas, Tennessee, Minnesota, Michigan, Massachusetts, and Vermont, Kauffman tracks hippie food’s journey from niche oddity to a cuisine that hit every corner of this country.

A slick mix of gonzo playfulness, evocative detail, skillful pacing, and elegant writing, Hippie Food is a lively, engaging, and informative read that deepens our understanding of our culture and our lives today.

The story of cuisine and the social history of eating is a fascinating one, and Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat covers all its aspects in this classic history. New expanded edition of a classic book, originally published to great critical acclaim from Raymond Blanc, The New York Times, The Sunday Telegraph, The Independent and more Tells the story of man’s relationship with food from earliest times to the present day Includes a new foreword by acclaimed food writer Betty Fussell, a preface by the author, updated bibliography, and a new chapter bringing the story up to date New edition in jacketed hardback, with c.70 illustrations and a new glossy color plate section

"Indispensable, and an endlessly fascinating book. The view is staggering. Not a book to digest at one or several sittings. Savor it instead, one small slice at a time, accompanied by a very fine wine."
–New York Times

"This book is not only impressive for the knowledge it provides, it is unique in its integration of historical anecdotes and factual data. It is a marvellous reference to a great many topics."
–Raymond Blanc

"Quirky, encyclopaedic, and hugely entertaining. A delight."
–Sunday Telegraph

"It's the best book when you are looking for very clear but interesting stories. Everything is cross-referenced to an extraordinary degree, which is great because the information given is so complex and interweaving."
–The Independent

"A History of Food is a monumental work, a prodigious feat of careful scholarship, patient research and attention to detail. Full of astonishing but insufficiently known facts."
–Times Higher Education Supplement

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