The Brooklyn Cookbook
Brooklyn has been called the fourth largest city in America, and it is the Borough's claim that one out of every seven United States citizens has roots here. Brooklyn is also America's most celebrated hometown. Everybody knows where it is (across that bridge), and almost everybody has an opinion about it: don't the people say "boid" and "toity-toid," and act argumentative, brassy, and sassy? Sure they do -- at least some of them. They also say what they mean in other tongues, for groups from all over the world call Brooklyn home.
Brooklynites are fiercely loyal to neighborhood, family, and the food that nourishes them, body and soul. That is what this book celebrates ... I can hear you asking, What is Brooklyn food? What makes it special? No one claims that we have the kind of food that characterizes a region, such as Boston baked beans, Maryland crab cakes, or Philadelphia cheese steak. What defines our food is, in short, attitude and memory. The Brooklyn attitude is, "You respect me, I'll respect you; but believe me -- my neighborhood, and my food. is best." Memory ensures that the stories of good times, and the food that made them so, are passed along to younger family members.
The neighborhoods are distinct, but they are ever changing. Where most immigrants once came largely from Europe, they now arrive from the Caribbean and Asia. Formerly Scandinavian Bay Ridge is now home to Greeks, Chinese, and the fastest-growing group of Middle Easterners anywhere. Brooklyn is by no means all blue collar (it never was); Wall Streeters and other executive types appreciate the wonderful houses and tree-lined streets. They have their foodways, too.
Thomas Wolfe, a writer who oncelived in Brooklyn, was wrong: you can go home again, home to the Brooklyn that lives in the rich memories and cherished recipes of the sons and daughters of the Borough. As we who live on the eastern side of the Brooklyn Bridge say, come on over!
to feeding the Dodgers and the Polar Bear swimmers who brave the icy waters of the Atlantic all winter -- with wonderful nostalgic photographs. Family, tradition, and neighborhood are at the heart of Brooklyn life. And it is the food -- reflected in the kinds of recipes gathered here -- that expresses these values.
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