Chew on This: A Food Book Club at the Reher Center

Join renowned food writer Sara B. Franklin and the Reher Center for Immigrant Culture and History for a monthly book club series this Fall to explore the historic and contemporary relationship between immigration, food, and community.

All sessions will meet 5:30-7 in Kingston

September and October at the Reher Center Gallery

November 13th at Kingston Library's Community Room, 55 Franklin

December 11th at Rough Draft Bar and Books, 82 John 

Photo by Aaron Rezny

Wednesday, September 18th
Sinclair, Upton. 1906. The Jungle. (Any edition)

A classic of investigative, muckraking reporting. With The Jungle, Lewis effectively launched consumer awareness-- and outrage-- about the American food system. This book was published just a year before Reher’s Bakery opened and will help us to see Reher’s Bakery with new eyes. This first meeting will be accompanied by an optional bakery tour at 5 PM with an eye to the production of bread in the bakery’s early days. PLEASE REGISTER

Photo by Aaron Rezny

Wednesday, October 16th
Zeide, Anna. 2018. Canned: The Rise and Fall of Consumer Confidence in the American Food Industry. First edition. Oakland, California: University of California Press.

Confidence in the American Food Industry. First edition. Oakland, California: University of California Press. Canned food once represented predictable reliability in the American food system, but as the number of contamination and environmental scandals associated with canned goods have grown over the years, they have come to represent increased anxiety about the sources and processing methods of our food, and our distrust in Big Food as a whole. This discussion will ask why the Rehers carried so many canned products and what this might tell us about their customers. REGISTER HERE

Photo by Aaron Rezny

Wednesday, November 13th
Lewis, Edna. 1976. Taste of Country Cooking. 1st Edition edition. New York: Knopf.

Edna Lewis is considered by many the most important voice in regional American food history. A black woman born into a utopian agrarian community settled by formerly enslaved people, Lewis came to prominence as both a professional chef and a writer. Taste, her classic work, is both an elegy to Freetown and a disappearing way of life, and a subversive historical and political corrective about the Black culture of the American south.

The story of the Great Migration, which brought Edna Lewis to New York City, also drew thousands of African-American migrants to settle in Kingston. This session explores the culinary experiences and contributions of these migrants, many of whom lived and worked in the Rondout neighborhood prior to Urban Renewal and (we know from oral histories) shopped at Reher’s Bakery. REGISTER HERE

Photo by Aaron Rezny

Wednesday, December 11th
Wilson, Bee. 2019. The Way We Eat Now. Fourth Estate Ltd.

In her most recent book, Bee Wilson studies and ponders contemporary ways of eating and what they imply about our individual and collective identities. Kingston’s burgeoning restaurant scene is making waves, and the many new up-scale restaurants were featured in the June 28, 2019 New York Times. As residents and neighbors who care about both new and old eateries and food traditions, this book will help us to express our own thoughts and opinions about our local situation, and help us to situate it within the national context. REGISTER HERE

Thanks to our partners, these four titles are available to borrow from the Kingston Public Library and for purchase at a 10% discount at Rough Draft.

This series is funded by the Reading and Discussion Program of Humanities New York.