July 27, 2017

Author Talk with Yale Professor Dr. Paul Freedman on ‘Ten Restaurants That Changed America,’ Monday

ESSEX — From Delmonico’s to Sylvia’s to Chez Panisse, a daring and original history of dining out in America as told through 10 legendary restaurants. Combining a historian’s rigor with a foodie ‘s palate, Ten Restaurants That Changed America reveals how the history of our restaurants reflects nothing less than the history of America itself.

Paul Freedman, the Chester D Tripp Professor of History at Yale University, will give an illustrated talk at the Essex Library on Monday, March 6, at 5 p.m.

Whether charting the rise of our love affair with Chinese food through San Francisco’s fabled The Mandarin, evoking the richness of Italian food through Mamma Leone’s, or chronicling the rise and fall of French haute cuisine through Henri Soulé’s Le Pavillon, food historian Paul Freedman uses each restaurant to tell a wider story of race and class, immigration and assimilation.

Dr. Paul Freedman

Freedman also treats us to a scintillating history of the then-revolutionary Schrafft’s, a chain of convivial lunch spots that catered to women, and that bygone favorite, Howard Johnson’s, which pioneered mid-century, on-the-road dining, only to be swept aside by McDonald’s.

Lavishly designed with more than 100 photographs and images, including original menus, Ten Restaurants That Changed America is a significant and highly entertaining social history. Copies of his book will be available for purchase and signing.

Professor Freedman specializes in medieval social history, the history of Catalonia, comparative studies of the peasantry, trade in luxury products, and the history of cuisine. Freedman earned his BA at the University of California at Santa Cruz and an MLS from the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of California at Berkeley. He received a Ph.D. in History at Berkeley in 1978. His doctoral work focused on medieval Catalonia and how the bishop and canons interacted with the powerful and weak elements of lay society in Vic, north of Barcelona. Freedman taught for 18 years at Vanderbilt University before joining the Yale faculty in 1997.

This program is free and open to the public. Call the Essex Library at (860) 767-1560 to register or for more information. The Essex Library is located at 33 West Avenue in Essex.

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