Urban appetites : Food and Culture in Nineteenth-century New York
Cindy Lobel’s Urban Appetities explores the coevolution of New York City, its politics, and its foodways. Between 1800 and 1890, New York grew from a seaport town with 60,000 residentswhose food came from local farms, waters, and forestsinto a city of 6,000,000, served by an elaborate army of food-sector workers, including regional dairymen and truck farmers, western ranchers, and farmers in the South, the Caribbean, and the Mediterranean. New York became abundant with food and restaurants as never before. Yet its food system was also highly inequitable and notably corrupt. Lobel’s focus on the rise of New York as both a metropolis and a food capital opens a unique window onto the intersection of the cultural, social, political, and economic transformations of the nineteenth century. Her perspective provides for fresh consideration of the development of the market economy in New York; the rise of concerns about food quality and access to food; the development of a culture of conspicuous consumption; and the transformation of domestic culinary life. Altogether, Lobel illuminates the ways in which the city’s physical and social growth was intimately connected to changes in its food networks.