How Do You Define Real Brooklyn Food? Come to Manhattan to Find Out

When we published Edible Brooklyn: The Cookbook back in October, we intended for it to be a community cookbook, a snapshot via 100 collected recipes from the cooks in our community, be they restaurant chefs, gardeners, grandmothers, pickle-makers, cheesemongers, brewers, bakers or baristas. Needless to say that’s sparked plenty of discussion on what real Brooklyn food is. We’re going to let you help us decide with the help of a panel of four Brooklyn food experts and cookbook contributors on January 17 at the Tenement Museum.

What is Brooklyn food? Pizza or pickles, Saltie sandwiches or backyard eggs?

When we published Edible Brooklyn: The Cookbook back in October, we intended for it to be a community cookbook, a snapshot via 100 collected recipes from the cooks in our community, be they restaurant chefs, gardeners, grandmothers, pickle-makers, cheesemongers, brewers, bakers or baristas.

Needless to say that’s sparked plenty of discussion on what real Brooklyn food is. Could it possibly be a 30-year-old Ohio born jam-maker sourcing from Greenmarket stands? Or is it the third-generation Italian-American whose Sunday gravy recipe came straight  from Sicily?

We kinda think it’s both (and everything in between) but we’re going to let you decide at 6:30 on January 17th with the help of a panel of expert Brooklynites and cookbook contributors at the Tenement Museum, which hosts a series of excellent talks, many free, in its spiffy new visitor center on heady city subjects like these.

Our guests, in addition to Edible editors, will be Steve Hindy, who co-founded the Brooklyn Brewery in the 1908s inspired partially by Brooklyn’s 19th century brewery history; Harry Rosenblum and Taylor Erkkinen, co-owners of The Brooklyn Kitchen, which is ground zero for Brooklyn’s contemporary DIY and good food scene (Rosenblum also has plenty of Brooklyn family cred, going back to the rum-running days); and Lou Di Palo, who runs the century-old, famous family-fun specialty food business called Di Palo’s Fine Foods in Little Italy, but lives in Bensonhurst, near his mother Concetta.

That’s three very different Brooklyn perspectives, and we’re hoping they’ll comment not just on what Brooklyn is or isn’t or used to be or has lost over the years or gained in recent decades, but maybe a bit how it differs from Manhattan, or New York City at large. (And did we mention that food from the book will be served as well? Plus Brooklyn Brewery beer, with any luck.)

The talk will be $10–or $20 if you want to buy a book, too–and will be held at the Museum Shop at 103 Orchard Street in the Lower East Side. RSVP to [email protected] — note that seating is first-come, first-served, though you can reserve a seat if you buy an advance copy of book from the museum at 212.431.0233 extension 259. Get ready to think deeply and geek out on the food culture in the borough of Kings.

 

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Rachel Wharton is the former deputy editor of Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan. She won a 2010 James Beard food journalism award, holds a master’s degree in Food Studies from New York University, and has more than 15 years of experience as a writer, editor and reporter. A North Carolina native and a former features food reporter for the New York Daily News, she edited the Edible Brooklyn cookbook and was the co-author of both Handheld Pies and DiPalo's Guide to the Essential Foods of Italy. Her work also appears in publications such as The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Saveur.