Food City

Four Centuries of Food-Making in New York

Joy Santlofer (Author)

With a Foreword by Marion Nestle


A 2017 James Beard Award Nominee: From the breweries of New Amsterdam to Brooklyn’s Sweet’n Low, a vibrant account of four centuries of food production in New York City.

New York is hailed as one of the world’s “food capitals,” but the history of food-making in the city has been mostly lost. Since the establishment of the first Dutch brewery, the commerce and culture of food enriched New York and promoted its influence on America and the world by driving innovations in machinery and transportation, shaping international trade, and feeding sailors and soldiers at war. Immigrant ingenuity re-created Old World flavors and spawned such familiar brands as Thomas’ English Muffins, Hebrew National, Twizzlers, and Ronzoni macaroni.

Food historian Joy Santlofer re-creates the texture of everyday life in a growing metropolis—the sound of stampeding cattle, the smell of burning bone for char, and the taste of novelties such as chocolate-covered matzoh and Chiclets. With an eye-opening focus on bread, sugar, drink, and meat, Food City recovers the fruitful tradition behind today’s local brewers and confectioners, recounting how food shaped a city and a nation.

Book Details

  • Hardcover, Paper over boards
  • November 2016
  • ISBN 978-0-393-07639-4
  • 6.5 × 8.6 in / 480 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Endorsements & Reviews

“[A]n epic romp through four centuries of food-making in New York, spotlighting a parade of immigrant cultures, their culinary contributions and related innovations.” — Wall Street Journal

“From the establishment of the first Dutch brewery to the rise of familiar brands like Hebrew National and Thomas’ English Muffins, Food City is a stunning tale of immigrant ingenuity.” — Eater

“[M]eticulously researched…[I]mpressive and epic work.” — The City Cook

“Deeply researched and entertainingly written, Food City traces a sweeping arc of food production in Gotham from colonial artisanal, to mega-industrial, back to contemporary artisanal. An innovative and illuminating treatment of a historically underserved subject, Food City makes scrumptious reading for foodies and fans of New York City history alike.” — Mike Wallace, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Gotham

“This thoroughly researched and illuminating book is a loving tribute to the history of New York City and the history of modern food. Anyone who cares about either subject will want to have it. Joy Santlofer’s passion for her subject comes through on every page in a wonderful narrative that is both fun to read and an important contribution.” — Laura Schenone, James Beard Award–winning author of A Thousand Years Over a Hot Stove

“A riveting and evocative account of New York when it was the center of food production and transport, not just consumption. This book is unique for its appreciation of basic food history and for what made New York and its port prosper, and particularly timely as the food industry is returning to New York, artisanal rather than large-scale.” — Paul Freedman, author of Ten Restaurants that Changed America

“Gulden’s Mustard, Domino’s sugar, Nabisco cookies, and Black Jack Gum: Who knew these got their start right in the middle of New York City? Joy Santlofer’s Food City relates in captivating detail how politics and personalities, as well as global networks of food supply and provisioning, shaped the often haphazard and chaotic provisioning of this dense urban metropolis” — Amy Bentley, editor of Food, Culture & Society

“Rich, impeccably researched urban history with plenty of fun fodder for foodies.” — Kirkus Reviews

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