In today’s podcast we’re going to explore the significant ways in which American eating habits have been shaped by immigrants. We’ll start by investigating the social aspects of immigration, and how food cultures are imported and adapted. Then we’re going to focus on how Italian, Jewish, and Mexican foods entered the American mainstream, and why they are so popular.
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Culinary Activities for this Episode:
• A New Way to Cook Vermicelli
Antonia Isola was the pseudonym of Mabel Earl McGinnis, who wrote the first Italian cookbook published in the United States in 1912, entitled Simple Italian Cookery. She had spent time in Rome and purported to introduce mainstream Americans to authentic Italian food, a process that continues to this day. As one can see from the following unusual technique, Italian food and Italian-American food had already begun to drift apart, and this recipe clearly reflects the latter.
Timbale of Vermicelli with Tomatoes (Neapolitan Recipe)
Take ten medium-sized fresh tomatoes and cut them in two crosswise. Put a layer of these into a baking-dish with the liquid side touching the bottom of the dish. Now put another layer with the liquid side up, sprinkle on salt and pepper. Break the raw vermicelli the length of the baking-dish and put a layer of it on top of the tomatoes. Now add another layer of the tomatoes, with the skin side touching the vermicelli, a second layer with the liquid side up, salt and pepper, and another layer of the raw vermicelli, and so on, the top layer being of tomatoes with their liquid side touching the vermicelli. Heat three or four tablespoons of good lard (or butter), and when the lard boils pour it over the tomatoes and vermicelli; then put the dish into the oven.
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