Caught Between Gefilte Fish and Campbell’s Soup

I Loved My Jewish Mother’s Cooking, But I Also Longed for PB&Js and Mallomars

Gefilte fish

When I first gravitated toward writing about food and immigration to the United States as an ostensibly serious academic, colleagues asked me—and, frankly, I asked myself—the obvious question. Why food? Food perhaps lacked the gravitas and significance of subjects like political, labor or immigration history. Academics might grudgingly admit that food is fun, or, at worst, accuse me of having gone over to the realm of the “popularizers.”

Food does indeed provide one of life’s greatest pleasures. And yet, for much of human history food also has been associated with …

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