Immigrants and Food Culture in New York and New Orleans

AHA Session 87
Friday, January 4, 2013: 10:30 AM-12:00 PM
La Galerie 5 (New Orleans Marriott)
Ryan Brasseaux, Yale University
New Orleans and the Wider World
Food in New Orleans: Identity and Myth
Elizabeth M. Williams, Southern Food and Beverage Museum, New Orleans
Donna R. Gabaccia, University of Minnesota Twin Cities

Session Abstract

This session pays tribute to our host city through an exploration two rather different patterns in the development of American food cultures. New York and New Orleans both had substantial immigrant populations in the 19th century, but evolved very different kinds of cuisines.  New York tended to set up categories of more-or-less authentic restaurants whose clientele quickly tended to be drawn from outside the ethnic community they represented.  While there was always some blurring of the margins (Cuban-Chinese restaurants in the 1970s, for example), there was not a lot of mutual borrowing.  What we think of as New Orleans' culinary style, on the other hand, is a distinctive but complicated blend of influences including Native American, African, French, Sicilian, German, and latterly Vietnamese.

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