Savoring Gotham: A Food Lover’s Companion to New York City
Andrew F. Smith, editor-in-chief
(Oxford University Press)
When it comes to food, there has never been another city quite like New York. The Big Apple—a telling nickname—is the city of 50,000 eateries, of fish wriggling in Chinatown baskets, huge pastrami sandwiches on rye, fizzy egg creams, and frosted black and whites. It is home to possibly the densest concentration of ethnic and regional food establishments in the world, from German and Jewish delis to Greek diners, Brazilian steakhouses, Puerto Rican and Dominican bodegas, halal food carts, Irish pubs, Little Italy, and two Koreatowns (in Flushing and Manhattan). This is the city where, if you choose to have Thai for dinner, you might also choose exactly which region of Thailand you wish to dine in.
Savoring Gotham weaves the full tapestry of the city’s rich gastronomy in nearly 570 accessible, informative A-to-Z entries. Written by nearly 180 of the most notable food experts—most of them New Yorkers—Savoring Gotham addresses the food, people, places, and institutions that have made New York cuisine so wildly diverse and immensely appealing. Reach only a little ways back into the city’s ever-changing culinary kaleidoscope and discover automats, the precursor to fast food restaurants, where diners in a hurry dropped nickels into slots to unlock their premade meals of choice. Or travel to the 19th century, when oysters cost a few cents and were pulled by the bucketful from the Hudson River. Back then, the city was one of the major centers of sugar refining, and of brewing, too—48 breweries once existed in Brooklyn alone, accounting for roughly 10 percent of all the beer brewed in the United States. Travel further back still and learn of the Native Americans who arrived in the area 5,000 years before New York was New York, and who planted the maize, squash, and beans that European and other settlers to the New World embraced centuries later. Savoring Gotham covers New York’s culinary history, but also some of the most recognizable restaurants, eateries and culinary personalities today. And it delves into more esoteric culinary realities, such as urban farming, beekeeping, the Three Martini Lunch and the Power Lunch, and novels, movies, and paintings that memorably depict Gotham’s foodscapes. From hot dog stands to haute cuisine, each borough is represented.
CHNY members Ari Ariel, Scott Alves Barton, Tove K. Danovich, Doug Duda, Megan Elias, Meryle Evans, Polly Franchini, Cathy K. Kaufman, Michael Krondl, Leann Lavin, Walter Levy, Renee Marton, Marion Nestle, Jacqueline Newman, Alexandra Olsen, Linda Pelaccio, Carol Raymond, Peter G. Rose, Meryl Rosofsky, Stephen Schmidt, Andrew F. Smith, Alexandra J.M. Sullivan and Judith Weinraub were among the contributors to this comprehensive reference work, which was assembled by an editorial team headed by Smith. A foreword by Brooklyn Brewery Brewmaster Garrett Oliver and an extensive bibliography rounds out this sweeping volume.