A CONSUMING HERITAGE: BALTIMORE'S EASTERN EUROPEAN JEWISH IMMIGRANT COMMUNITY AND THEIR EVOLVING FOODWAYS, 1880-1939
Sturm, Charlotte Louise
Mar, Lisa R
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This study explores how Baltimore's Eastern European Jewish immigrants and their American-born children engaged with American foodways during the period 1880-1939. Food-related charitable aid and food education were used as tools of Americanization and moral uplift by public health officials, middle-class charitable workers, and social reformers between 1880 and 1920. The home economics classrooms of Baltimore's public schools continued this work in the early twentieth century, teaching the immigrants' American-born children lessons about food and middle-class domesticity. Although somewhat influential in reshaping the immigrants' food habits, the Eastern European Jewish immigrants and their children largely retained their traditional foodways, making their own choices about how to adopt American foodways. Interconnected issues of food, health, economics, middle-class domesticity, citizenship, and identity are evident in this study. Using sources such as cookbooks and oral histories, this study demonstrates how foodways expressed and continue to express Jewish, American, and Jewish American identities.