Date of Award
Mark Svenvold, M.F.A.
Nathan Oates, Ph.D.
Italian, Cuisine, Meatball, Convenience, Kitchen, Authentic
This thesis is a memoir about the lives of the matriarchs of my family: my grandmothers, Carmina and Marie, but in many other ways the memoir becomes a point of entry for a personal essay that explores the culture of authenticity in American cuisine. As a memoir, I offer a personal history of an original Italian cuisine from my very Italian family— how it was transplanted from the European “boot” to American soil, how it flourished through the lessons Carmina taught my family, and how it got transformed when it hit American. I reflect upon the appearance, after the Second World War, of an American “kitchen of convenience” tradition, and how, with the advent of the “wellness” or “healthy living” trend of American eating, a backlash occurred. Part of that backlash has involved a trend of foodie consumption that I’ve called “the Hipster Rebellion,” the search for authentic food that has become a cultural past-time for a demographic of knowledge workers, a “creative class” in search of great-tasting, authentic food.
DeRay, Christina, "Behind the Meatball: A Reflection on Italian Cuisine, Lost and Found" (2014). Seton Hall University Dissertations and Theses (ETDs). 1998.