Michael Owen Jones published in 2007 an article with the wordy title ‘Food Choice, Symbolism and Identity: Bread-and-Butter Issues for Folkloristics and Nutrition Studies’ in the Journal of American Folklore 120. The article, in fact, a presidential address, reads as a fabulous compendia of wisdom about food and our digestive systems (e.g. Emily Jenkins: ‘The body is not the same from day to day. Not even from minute to minute. Sometimes it feels like home, sometimes more like a cheap motel near Pittsburgh’) and most importantly enjoyment and relish at the perversities and surprises of food studies.
There is almost no Italian content, certainly nothing that would encourage us to put the article in our Italian food listings, but there is this small aside on Vance Packard, The Status Seekers (1959): ‘a man grew up in a poor family of Italian origin that subsisted on blood sausages, pizza, spaghetti, and red wine. After high school, he worked in logging camps where he learned to prefer beef, beans, and beer. Later in an industrial plant in Detroit, he worked his way up the ladder and cultivated the favorite foods and beverages of other executives: steak, seafood and whiskey. Ultimately gaining acceptance in the city’s upper class, he won culinary admiration by serving guests, with the aid of his servant, authentic Italian treats such as blood sausage, spaghetti, and red wine.’ This seems nicely to bridge the period when Italian food was entering the US mainstream and even ceasing to be ‘foreign’. SY