Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The meaning of a cafeteria

I've found a couple interesting books at the library that mention Dubrow's, in the context of understanding the history and sociology of Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Miami Beach. I'll be posting some of my findings over the coming weeks.

These quotes both come from The Jews of Brooklyn by Ilana Abramovitch and Sean Galvin:

"Brooklyn boosters are prone to promote cohesion through nostalgic reminiscences, embracing detailed discussions of famous locales like Coney Island, Prospect Park, and the Brooklyn Bridge. Cherished neighborhood spots like DuBrow's Cafeteria, Schechter's candy store, or Erasmus Hall High School provide content for more specialized games of trivial pursuit."

Later in the book, there's a wonderful description of just why places like Dubrow's were so beloved in their communities:

"By far the most popular eateries were the kosher delicatessens, a Jewish-American invention. There was a deli on every block because, said the manager of Grabstein's, 'a hot dog sandwich and a pastrami sandwich and a knish was a way of life.' With their 'salami sanwiches and pickles wrapped in coarse white paper,' the delis were 'the culinary hearts, if not the heartburn, of working-class and immigrant Jewish neighborhoods.'"

(The Jews of Brooklyn, Ilana Abramovitch & Sean Galvin, 2002)

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