A Taste of Broadway: Food in Musical Theater
By Jennifer Packard
Rowman & Littlefield (Dec. 2017)
Reviewed by Morgen Stevens-Garmon
“Food, glorious food” sing the workhouse boys of Lionel Bart’s musical Oliver!, and so too sings Jennifer Packard in her new book A Taste of Broadway: food in musical theater, the latest offering in Rowman & Littlefield’s series, Studies in Food and Gastronomy. Part food history, part musical theater analysis, and part cookbook, A Taste of Broadway presents a flavorful if slightly confused dish.
Packard’s central conceit is that food on the musical theater stage is not only an integral part of character and story, but it can also serve as a key to a deeper understanding of the show. Divided into seven chapters, the book examines food as it relates to setting, character, and plot within some 29 different musicals. Packard spends each chapter investigating between two to six productions connecting the food on stage to the creative history of the show, providing a close reading of the lyrics and musical book, and often including a recipe inspired by the production. The intentions or “theme” of each chapter are stated in the opening lines, but the results are sometimes muddled.
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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