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The Italian American TableFood, Family, and Community in New York City$
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Simone Cinotto

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780252037733

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252037733.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use (for details see www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 19 October 2018

An American Foodscape

An American Foodscape

Food, Place, and Race in Italian Harlem

(p.72) 3 An American Foodscape
The Italian American Table

Simone Cinotto

University of Illinois Press

This chapter explores the interrelationships among food, place, and race in Italian Harlem and shows that the Italian immigrant community was also a race-inflected geography of food consumption. During the 1930s, Italian Americans were hit hard by the Depression. Italians were disproportionately represented among the recipients of city and federal subsidies, particularly in Harlem, where the poorest among them lived. However, in those same years, Italian immigrants and their children managed to make East Harlem their home in America through a careful deployment of social, material, and emotional responses. This chapter examines how Italians in Harlem carved distinctive Italian foodscapes into “their” neighborhood that gave the community a secure sense of place. Italian Americans created around them a sensually familiar world filled with the tastes, aromas, and colors of Italian food, provided by “ethnic” restaurants, food stores, and street markets that dotted the neighborhood. In Italian Harlem, the production, commerce, preparation, and consumption of food gave rise to a distinct urban ethnic foodscape and smellscape that shaped social identities.

Keywords:   place, race, food consumption, Italian Americans, Italian immigrants, East Harlem, Italian foodscape, Italian food, ethnic restaurants, food stores

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