Food City: Four Centuries of Food-Making in New York
By Joy Santlofer
W.W. Norton, 2016
Reviewed by Cindy R. Lobel
In 2014, 16,000 New Yorkers held jobs in food manufacturing, according to the Economic Development Corporation. This figure represents a 16% increase from just five years earlier. Most of these employees are involved in small-batch production at companies like Mast Brothers Chocolate, McClure’s Pickles, and Brooklyn Soda Works. These businesses are part of the artisanal food revival associated mainly with Brooklyn but with outposts in all five of New York City’s boroughs. The resurgence of food industry in New York City is a recent phenomenon, related to the economic revival of the city since the 1980s. But the tradition of food manufacturing stretches back more than 400 years. In Food City: Four Centuries of Food-Making in New York, Joy Santlofer examines this tradition, tracing the history of food industry in New York City from the Dutch founding to the present.
By Eric Ferrara
It is hard for us to imagine not having a C-Town nearby or a 24-hour bodega on every corner to satisfy our cravings at a moment’s notice. In a world before supermarkets -- let alone packaged foods, microwaves and refrigerators -- families had to purchase fresh groceries on a near daily basis from separate vendors and regularly prepare meals from raw materials. This responsibility usually fell on the wives and mothers of the house, who spent much of their days planning and preparing family meals based on a nominal budget of a few cents.
By Christine Parker
One of the hallmarks of the borough of Queens, New York is its incredible cultural diversity. Walk down any street or neighborhood and you will quickly encounter a language or custom other than your own. This diversity is part of what informs the identity of local communities and makes the tale of their history a rich tapestry weaving together different voices and stories into one. In order to preserve that history for future generations, those voices are now being recorded and made available to the public in a unique archive of collective memory known as the Queens Memory Project (QMP).
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