Download We Are What We Eat: Ethnic Food and the Making of Americans by Donna R. Gabaccia PDF

By Donna R. Gabaccia

Ghulam Bombaywala sells bagels in Houston. Demetrios dishes up pizza in Connecticut. The Wangs serve tacos in la. How ethnicity has motivated American consuming habits--and therefore, the makeup and path of the yank cultural mainstream--is the tale advised in we're What We consume. it's a advanced story of ethnic mingling and borrowing, of entrepreneurship and connoisseurship, of nutrition as a social and political image and weapon--and a completely unique heritage of our culinary culture of multiculturalism. the tale of successive generations of usa citizens experimenting with their new friends' meals highlights as a major enviornment for outlining and expressing ethnic identities and relationships. we're What We devour follows the fortunes of dozens of enterprising immigrant chefs and grocers, road hawkers and restaurateurs who've cultivated and adjusted the tastes of native-born american citizens from the 17th century to the current. It additionally tells of the mass company construction of meals like spaghetti, bagels, corn chips, and salsa, obliterating their ethnic identities. The booklet attracts a shockingly peaceable photo of yank ethnic family, within which "Americanized" meals like Spaghetti-Os fortunately coexist with painstakingly natural ethnic dishes and inventive hybrids. Donna Gabaccia invitations us to think about: If we're what we consume, who're we? american citizens' multi-ethnic consuming is a continuing reminder of ways frequent, and jointly stress-free, ethnic interplay has occasionally been within the usa. Amid our wrangling over immigration and tribal transformations, it unearths that on a simple point, within the means we maintain existence and search excitement, we're all multicultural.

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Extra resources for We Are What We Eat: Ethnic Food and the Making of Americans

Sample text

Spanish soldiers also demanded regular tribute from the natives in the form of corn, which they ate when wheat supplies dwindled. Still, in California, at the twenty-one missions started between 1769 and 1823, native workers raised four times as much wheat as maize; they herded over 150,000 cattle and 150,000 sheep but only 839 swine. California’s Franciscans also introduced grapes and vineyards, planting the so-called mission grape from 1767 and producing the wine that was so much a part of the Spanish diet.

Within each region, furthermore, ethnic variations sometimes remained quite pronounced. The regional cuisine of the American Southwest—“El Norte” of the Spanish Empire until 1821—reflected its status as a frontier outpost. Although Spanish missionaries introduced wheat quite early to the Southwest, the grain made few inroads among the Pueblo-dwelling natives during the colonial period; in fact, the Pueblos hated wheat, which symbolized Spanish conquest, and they burned the missions’ wheat crops during their last major revolt in 1680 against Spanish domination.

If anything, the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the rise of sharecropping diminished the quantity and quality of diets in this region. ”2 As pointed out by an ex-slave who had enjoyed eating “collards, turnips and other good vegetables wid cornbread. Chunks of meat . . wid de greens, too, and . . ” After the Civil War, sharecroppers, black and white, found it hard to provide even the basics of their simple antebellum diet. Trying to subsist on small parcels of land, and often without any cash income for much of the year, they easily became indebted to the landowner’s store or commissary even for locally raised items—beans, molasses, corn—as well as for processed foods from farther afield, like salt pork or wheat flour.

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