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97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement

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Author: 
Jane Ziegelman
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"A loaf of bread for Sicilians embodied the basic goodness of life.  Where we might say a person is ‘as good as gold,’ a Sicilian says ‘as good as bread.’  A piece of bread that fell to the ground was kissed, like a child with a scraped knee … A bowl of soup without bread was bereft of its faithful companion.  Meat without bread was considered sinful."   This book is a reader’s feast.  It nourishes mind, soul and stomach as it describes the daily culinary life of German, Irish, Italian and Jewish families who lived in one tenement building on the Lower East Side of New York from 1863-1935.  How did poor women without a proper kitchen feed their families with comfort food from the “old country”?  What were the recipes they used to prepare meals?  Jane Ziegelman answers these questions with sound research and a gift for language.  A book to be savored and shared.

Reviewer: 
Kara Giles