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97 Orchard Street: An Edible History of Five Families in One New York Tenement
The delicious saga of how immigrant food became American food, following European immigrants on a remarkable journey from the Ellis Island dining hall to tiny tenement kitchens, from Lower East Side pushcart markets and delicatessens out into the wider world of American cuisine.
In 97 Orchard, Jane Ziegelman explores the culinary life that was the heart and soul of New York’s Lower East Side around the turn of the twentieth century—a city within a city, where Germans, Irish, Italians, and Eastern European Jews attempted to forge a new life. Through the experiences of five families, all of them residents of 97 Orchard Street, Ziegelman takes readers on a vivid and unforgettable tour, from impossibly cramped tenement apartments, down dimly lit stairwells, beyond the front stoops where housewives congregated, and out into the hubbub of the dirty, teeming streets. Ziegelman shows how immigrant cooks brought their ingenuity to the daily task of feeding their families, preserving traditions from home but always ready to improvise. 97 Orchard lays bare the roots of our collective culinary heritage.
By Jane Ziegelman