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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, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 27 June 2022

“Buy Italian!”

“Buy Italian!”

Imports, Diasporic Nationalism, and the Politics of Authenticity

(p.155) 5 “Buy Italian!”
The Italian American Table

Simone Cinotto

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines how the fondness of New York City's Italian immigrants for imported foods helped make the food import business crucial to the project of diasporic Italian nationalism. It argues that the Italian state, especially the fascist regime after 1922, and its representatives in New York supported the business of importing food in order to expand the country's economic and political influence in the United States. The chapter first provides an overview of New York's food imports from Italy during the period 1890–1920, along with the food import crisis and the Italian Chamber of Commerce's “Buy Italian!” campaign of 1935–1936. It then considers how food frauds, imitations, and canned symbols sparked a feud between Italian food importers, on the one side, and domestic Italian food producers and grossieri, on the other. It also explains how supplying immigrants with “authentic” Italian food helped strengthen relations between Italy and America and created a tangible economic dimension that complemented ideological and emotional diasporic nationalism.

Keywords:   food imports, New York City, Italian immigrants, United States, Italy, Italian Chamber of Commerce, food campaign, food frauds, Italian food, diasporic nationalism

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