October 1, 2013
Pizza has come a long way since the 18th century. This winning combination of bread, tomato and cheese, which food writer Alan Richman dubbed the “perfect food,” is said to have originated in Naples, but today it claims admirers the world over, inspiring endless variations, effusive odes and even, in Philadelphia, a pizza museum. It was only a matter of time before the humble pizza pie got the fine art treatment.
“PIZZA TIME!,” the inaugural show of Manhattan’s Marlborough Broome Street Gallery, features more than 25 works of pizza-inspired art. It’s a playful take on pizza as food, as consumer brand, as cultural icon and, perhaps most importantly, as common denominator. Curator Vera Neykov calls pizza a “metaphor for community,” something that is “not too fussy” and brings people together.
That sense of community animates John Riepenhoff‘s conceptual piece, “Physical Pizza Networking Theory,” which debuted on opening night as a 38-inch pizza topped with miniature pizzas. Riepenhoff hired a local pizzeria to cook up the largest pie its oven could hold and then custom-built the box in which the pizza was delivered. On opening night, visitors were invited to dig into this edible artwork, leaving an empty pizza box in the gallery. Riepenhoff describes the work as a recursive “collage” that “address[es] the ontology of the social as material in art,” and Neykov was struck by its temporality, as visitors came, saw and ate the artwork—“there it was and now it’s gone.”
Michelle Devereux’s “Caveman on Pizza” and “Dude on Pizza #6” couple pizza with other pop culture icons. The irreverent colored-pencil drawings imagine a Tron-like grid world and hovering pizza crafts topped with a surfing Neanderthal and a reclining “dude.” In “Dude,” pastel dinosaurs cavort before an airbrushed aurora borealis, while in “Caveman,” the Bat-signal looms over the cityscape in the background.
Other works are more evocative. Andrew Kuo’s “Slice 8/23/13” and “Piece/Peace” render the pizza’s familiar triangular form in geometric shards and colorful smears, respectively. Will Boone’s “Brothers Pizza” series shows the spooky outcome of photocopying a pizza; these images feature red pockmarks, presumably pepperoni, on black backgrounds.
Neykov, who started working on the show last fall, was surprised by how much pizza art is out there. “I feel like this show can be done three more times with completely different artwork,” she says. The variety makes sense to her because pizza is itself a “canvas”: “There are so many different levels, from super cheap sliced pizza to fancy restaurant pizza to frozen pizza to make-it-yourself pizza. You can dress it up or you can dress it down.”
Some of Neykov’s favorites are Oto Gillen’s photographic still life, “untitled, (Vanitas),” and Willem de Kooning’s pencil drawing, “Untitled Circle.” Although it’s unclear whether de Kooning had pizza in mind, Neykov observes that shadowy circles on the work suggest toppings and thin lines seem to cut it into slices.
For Neykov, PIZZA TIME! is not so much a response to foodie culture as it is a reflection of globalized, digitized, mash-up culture generally. Pizza has “come into [popular] culture in a way that people no longer look at it and think it’s absurd,” she says; it’s a product of culture just as worthy of study and artistic exploration as any other. “It may be silly,” Neykov says of the show, “but it’s not dumb.”
September 10, 2013
The American superhighway system is dotted with some truly bizarre and unique roadside attractions. There are dinosaurs, Cadillacs stuck in the ground and kitschy souvenir stops with advertisements of questionable taste. But for those drivers with some extra time on their cross country trips, they should add these large, statue versions of everyone’s favorite foods to their itinerary. We’ve narrowed down the cornucopia of foods to 10 must-see, “World’s Largest” food-related attractions for your hypothetical (or real) adventure.
1) Strawberry—Ellerbe, North Carolina
The Berry Patch, off of old Highway 220, in Ellerbe, North Carolina, got its start as a small patch in 1995 run by the appropriately monikered Berry family. In 2002, they built the self-described “World’s Largest Strawberry” to house their homemade ice cream shop. The 24-foot tall building is made from sheet rock and polyurethane foam molded to its berry shape. There are a few other self-proclaimed largest strawberries: one worth highlighting is this 130-foot tall berry water towerin Poteet, Texas.
2) Peach—Gaffney, South Carolina
Once you hit I-85 West leaving from Charlotte, North Carolina, toward Atlanta, Georgia, look up. The world’s largest peach structure in Gaffney, South Carolina, a peach-painted water tower also known as the Peachoid, stands at 135 feet tall and holds one million gallons of liquid. The giant peach (No, James and his friends do not live inside) was commissioned by the Board of Public Works in Gaffney in 1981. The foundation used no less than 10 million gallons of concrete and the 60-foot leaf along the side of the peach weighs seven tons. As the story goes, the people of Gaffney picked the peach tower because at the time of its construction, the local economy was dependent on peach orchards. The water tower served as a (large) reminder that Georgia, known as the “Peach State,” produced fewer peaches than Cherokee County. Today, South Carolina produces over 200 million pounds of peacheson average a year, second to California. (Georgia is the third largest producer).
3) Peanut—Ashburn, Georgia
Floodlights shine on the World’s Largest Peanut located off of I-75 in Ashburn, Georgia. The peanut, which hovers above an impressive crown, was built in 1975 and designed by A.R. Smith, Jr. to honor the state’s official crop. (Georgia produces almost 50 percent of the total United States peanut crop). The monument became an official state symbolin 1998.
4) Field of Corn—Dublin, Ohio
On an acre-and-a-half plot in Dublin, Ohio, 109 concrete ears of corn stand at six feet, six inches apiece—an agricultural community in transition. Artist Malcolm Cochran, created this field of statues in 1994 as a memorial for the now-fallow corn field that once occupied the land. On this site, Sam Frantz and his family had been a leading corn hybridizer from 1935 through 1963. It’s “not unlike a cemetery —and a surprising roadside attraction in the tradition of coffee shops that look like a giant cup and saucer or diners in the shape of hamburgers,” Cochran said in an email. Head to the Osage Orange trees at the west side of the location to learn more about the town’s agricultural history.
5) Egg—Mentone, Indiana
There isn’t a whole lot to see driving through north-central Indiana, until you get to Mentone: the self-proclaimed “Egg Basket of the Midwest” and home to what the town considers the World’s Largest Egg, a 3,000-pound concrete structure in a bank parking lot near the town’s center. The structure was most likely built in 1946 to promote the Mentone Egg Show.
6) Popcorn Ball—Sac City, Iowa
In 1995, Sac City, Iowa (locally known as the “Popcorn Capital of the World”) built the first of three giant popcorn balls—a 2,225-pound mound of syrup and popcorn. That same year, a team of Boy Scouts beat the city’s record and by 1997, the original Sac City ball was blown up at the Sac County Fair. But in 2004, Sac City went at it again when a local popcorn factory made a 3,415-pound ball, currently housed in a small building off of Highway 20. When the 3,415-pound record was beaten, in 2009, construction of the latest and greatest popcorn ball weighing in at 5,000 pounds began. Two hundred fifty-three volunteers gathered in Sac County to construct the World’s Largest Popcorn Ball. (Ingredient breakdown: 900 pounds of popcorn, 2,700 pounds of sugar and 1,400 pounds of Dry syrup mixed with water). It held the record until this August when a group at the Indiana State Fair, built a 6,510-pound popcorn ball, beating Sac County’s- record by 1,510 pounds, but the Indian ball was pulled apart to feed livestock at the end of the festivities. Sac City’s ball remains the largest popcorn ball still intact.
7) Watermelons—Green River, Utah and Luling, Texas
If you want to see giant melons of the water variety, you’ve got two choices: the watermelon tower in Luling, Texas and the 25-foot slice of painted wood in Green River, Utah. The water tower in Texas presides 154 feet over a watermelon patch—a tribute to the local melon industry. Each year at the Watermelon Thump festival (named for the way you thump a melon to test its ripeness), locals enter the seed spitting contest or claim the “Thump Queen” crown. Green River’s melon is less like a tower and more like a parade float. The formerly motorized melon slice makes appearances during the region’s Melon Days festival each year. Both places claim to be the watermelon capital of the United States.
8) Pistachio—Alamogordo, New Mexico
In the middle of the southern New Mexico desert, along U.S. Highway 54, a 30-foot-tall pistachio stands as a monument to Tom McGinn, founder of McGinn’s Pistachio Tree Ranch. “I wanted to erect a proper monument that would represent his enormous passion for the creation of a pistachio farm in the bare desert,” Tim McGinn, the founder’s son, said in an interview with the Alamogordo News in 2009. The giant nut is covered in 35 gallons of paint and is anchored by nine feet of concrete. McGinn based the design off of a nut hand-selected from his crop of pistachios.
9) Donut—Inglewood, California
Homer Simpson would go bonkers for this roadside sculpture built in 1954. You may recognize the massive pastry on top of Randy’s Donuts in Inglewood, California from Randy Newman’s video “I Love LA,” or from the film Mars Attacks. The drive-in style building, designed by Henry J. Goodwin in 1953 has several locations in the area—four of the original giant donuts survive, most of which were constructed with a 32 and one fifth-foot diameter. A fun thing about a giant donut: sometimes, you can throw basketballs through its center.
10) Artichoke—Castroville, California
Castroville, California, is the self-proclaimed “Artichoke Center of the World” and the 20-foot tall artichoke made of rebar and concrete built in 1963 by Ray Bei, founder of Ray Bei’s Giant Artichoke Restaurant and Fruit Stand, is a stunning reminder of the region’s main crop. A pit stop here offers artichokes prepared pretty much any way you can imagine, though fried is probably your best bet. The annual artichoke festival takes place in May to celebrate the Monterey Bay County’s famous food. Fun fact: in 1948—11 years before the festival began—a young starlet named Norma Jean, later known as Marilyn Monroe, was crowned the first Artichoke Queen in Castroville. The sash she wore is now on display in the Castroville Chamber of Commerce.
August 23, 2013
On August 28, 1963, over 200,000 people peacefully marched between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial to show support of President John F. Kennedy’s civil rights and to bring widespread public attention to end segregation in public schools and the federal implementation of fair employment practices to prevent job discrimination. The March on Washington was a watershed moment in human rights history that helped to get the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 passed into law. Organizing an event that large was a formidable task in and of itself, requiring the coordination of grass roots groups to drum up participants and raise the funds to travel to DC. Tackling the issue of handling food for the masses was another issue entirely.
The Chicago Tribune anticipated a bleak sustenance situation. “Tomorrow, should the nation-wide turnout for the march swell from 100,000 demonstrators to 200,000 or more, there may be shortages of food. Even access to portable toilet facilities and to temporary drinking fountains attached to fire hydrants may be at a premium.” March organizers advised participants to bring their own water jugs and two boxed lunches. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and apples were recommended as a durable foodstuffs and discouraged anything with mayonnaise as it would spoil in the summer heat.
In New York, volunteers showed up at the Riverside Church at 3:00 AM to make bagged lunches The bagged meal, comprised of a cheese sandwich, mustard, marble cake and an apple, could be purchased by marchers for 50 cents. Working in shifts until 4 in the afternoon, the assembly line crew paused once for a few words from Dr. Robert Spike, director of the Commission on Religion and Race of the National Council of Churches: ”As an act of love, we now dedicate these lunches for the nourishment of thousands who will be coming long distances, at great sacrifice to say with their bodies and souls that we shall overcome.” In all, 5 tons of American cheese went into the 80,000 lunches that were loaded onto refrigerated trucks and shipped down to Washington.
Early reports estimated that between 100,000 and 150,000 demonstrators would be in attendance. Fearing unruly behavior, the District of Columbia placed an unprecedented ban on the sale of liquor, beer and wine from 12:00 am on the 28th through the following morning. This extended not just to standalone liquor stores, but to the city’s bars and restaurants. (The only holdout was the House of Representatives cafeteria, which traditionally had beer on the menu and served it on the day of the march. The rest of the city being dry did nothing to boost sales.) The policemen, national guardsmen and others charged with maintaining order were forced to forego their lunch breaks that day and ate boxed lunches while at their posts: two sandwiches, a piece of cake and juice. Rioting did not occur as anticipated.
A mile or so north from the National Mall, on Washington’s U Street, also known as the “Black Broadway,” the iconic Ben’s Chili Bowl served people in town for the march. Per the Washington City Paper, Ben’s cofounder Virginia Ali recalls, “I remember the enthusiasm of many people about going down there to march for equal rights and jobs.”
After the day’s scheduled events ended, a delegation of march leaders—which included A. Philip Randolph, Roy Wilkins and Martin Luther King, Jr.—met with President Kennedy at the White House where they were served tea, coffee, canapes and sandwiches and discussed the prospect of civil rights legislation passing. Kennedy was obviously impressed by demonstration, saying that “the cause of 20,000,000 Negroes has been advanced.”
Activist John Lewis was also in attendance and recounted meeting the president to author Michael Fletcher in an exclusive Smithsonian magazine interview. “He stood in the doorway of the Oval Office and he greeted each one of us, shook each of our hands like a beaming, proud father.” And yet, there were no great dinners or parties to celebrate the day. “I don’t believe as a group that we got together and had a meal,” Lewis recalls. “But some of the young people in SNCC were able to pick up a hamburger, a sandwich here and there, get a soft drink, lemonade. But we were just pleased that everything had gone so well.”
Even the language of dining was used to describe the event. In his response to the march, activist Malcolm X thought that the organizers and the participation of liberal white groups inappropriately toned down the feelings of anger and inequity that initially fueled the gathering. “It had become an outing, a picnic,” he wrote in his 1964 autobiography. “What originally was planned to be an angry riptide, one English newspaper aptly described now as ‘the gentle flood.’”
The New York Times used the same metaphor to describe the day, but saw the situation differently: ”The picnic atmosphere that pervaded much of Wednesday’s march should not be misinterpreted as betokening any lack of determination on the Negro’s part to insist on the rights he has been so long denied. Rather it was an affirmation of his confidence in the efficacy of an appeal to national morality to make true the dreams so eloquently evoked by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King in the shadow of the Great Emancipator. It is up to all of us to make certain those dreams are not destroyed.”
For more on the 1963 March on Washington, read our oral history from the movers and shakers who made that demonstration a resounding success.
“On the March.” Newsweek. 2 Sept. 1963.
Petersen, Anna. “80,000 Lunches Made here by Volunteers for Washington Marchers.” The New York Times. 28 Aug. 1963.
Pakenham, Michael. “Rights Marchers Are Sightseers, Too!” The Chicago Tribune. 29 Aug. 1963.
Rich, James. “1,686 Chicagoans En Route to Washington.” Chicago Tribune. 28 Aug. 1963.
Robertson, Nan. “Capital is Ready for March Today; 100,000 Expected.” The New York Times. 28 Aug. 1963.
“The March in Washington.” Time magazine. 30 Aug. 1963.
Wicker, Tom. “President Meets March Leaders.” The New York Times. 29 Aug. 1963.
July 18, 2013
If any gastronomical treat could give the proverbially American apple pie a run for its money, it might just be barbecue. The culinary tradition of cooking meat low and slow over indirect flame (the true definition of barbecue – imposters who grill, take note) has become so prevalent over the years that BBQ itself represents a sort of pop culture, spawning TV shows, historically-focused road trips, and even fusion dishes like BBQ tacos. Barbecue’s ability to reflect whatever might be hot at the time (from reality TV to the taco craze) isn’t new; in fact, barbecue has a long history of permeation, perhaps best experienced by the ongoing barbecue feud that plagues the South. From the Atlantic to the Gulf, bordered by the western outposts of Texas and Kansas City, the area of the United States known as the “barbecue belt” houses four distinct barbecue traditions – Carolina, Texas, Memphis and Kansas City. From where did these traditions come, and how, in a relatively small region of the country, have they evolved along such different paths? The history of American barbecue is as diverse as the variations themselves, charting the path of a Caribbean cooking style brought north by Spanish conquistadors, moved westward by settlers, and seasoned with the flavors of European cultures.
The first indigenous tribes Christopher Columbus encountered on the island he named Hispaniola had developed a unique method for cooking meat over an indirect flame, created using green wood to keep the food (and wood) from burning. Reports indicate that the Spanish referred to this new style of cooking as barbacoa: the original barbecue. As the Spanish explorers who followed Columbus turned their expeditions north, they brought the cooking technique with them. In 1540, close to present-day Tupelo, Mississippi, the Chicksaw tribe, in the presence of explorer Hernando de Soto, cooked a feast of pork over the barbacoa. Eventually, the technique made its way to the colonies, traveling as far north as Virginia.
Barbecue belt residents would argue that the beef-based BBQ of Texas, or the mutton-based BBQ found in Kentucky, doesn’t constitute authentic barbecue. To be real barbecue, purists like North Carolina native Jim Villas (author of an article, first published in Esquire, aptly titled “My Pig Beats Your Cow”) argue that the meat must be exclusively porcine, because the original BBQ-ers of the southern colonies depended on the cheap, low-maintenance nature of pig farming. Unlike cows, which required large amounts of feed and enclosed spaces, pigs could be set loose in forests to eat when food supplies were running low. The pigs, left to fend for themselves in the wild, were much leaner upon slaughter, leading Southerns to use the slow-and-low nature of barbecue to tenderize the meat. And use it they did. During the pre-Civil War years, Southerners ate an average of five pounds of pork for every one pound of cattle. Their dependence on this cheap food supply eventually became a point of patriotism, and Southerners took greater care raising their pigs, refusing to export their meat to the northern states. By this time, however, the relationship between the barbecue and pork had been deeply forged.
But the story of the South’s penchant for pork does little to explain the variations between their barbecue styles. For this, one must look beyond the borders of America, to the influence that colonial immigrants had on the flavor and preparation of the meat. The original styles of barbecue are thought to be those that originated in the easternmost colonies, like the vinegar-based “whole hog” barbecue found in Virginia and North Carolina. The technique of adding sauce to the meat as it cooks came from British colonists who incorporated the idea of basting to preserve the juices within the meat with the Caribbean barbecue technique. North Carolina’s vinegar-based sauces are also a remnant of these Briton’s penchant for the tart sauce. In South Carolina, which housed a large population of French and German immigrants, a mustard-based sauce was born, again, a reflection of the immigrant populations’ traditional preferences. Mustard has long been a fixture in both country’s cuisines: think of the famous Dijon in France (used in everything from tarte aux moutarde to the omnipresent bistro salad dressing) or the German’s penchant for including sweet and spicy mustard alongside their favorite wursts.
From Carolina barbecue, the trend moved westward, eventually entering Texas. German immigrants in Texas had the land to cultivate cattle, and it wasn’t long before Texans were applying Carolina techniques to a different sort of animal entirely. In Memphis, the regionally unique sweet, tomato-based barbecue sauce was born from the city’s status as a popular port along the Mississippi River. Memphis residents could easily obtain a variety of goods, including molasses, which provided the region’s sweet barbecue taste. Out of Memphis’ barbecue genes, the last of America’s four main barbecue styles – Kansas City barbecue – was born. In the early 1900s, a Memphis-born man by the name of Henry Perry settled in Kansas City and opened a barbecue restaurant. In the restaurant, which Doug Worgul, in his book on the history of Kansas City barbecue, credits as the origin of the city’s particular barbecue style, Perry followed the style of his Memphis roots, using a sweet and spicy barbecue sauce. He did not, however, adhere to the stringent requirements that called for a pork-only barbecue style, and allowed beef and other meats to be sold as well. Expert Dotty Griffith refers to Kansas City barbecue as the ultimate amalgamation of East and West (Texas) barbecue.
But history can only go so far to explain the pleasure that occurs when meat hits smoke (and sometimes sauce). Barbecue lovers looking to savor the distinct flavors of America’s four barbecue styles aren’t alone; in fact, the siren call of the barbecue belt has caused many to make a pilgrimage to the region. Travel routes have been suggested for aficionados looking to chow down on meat cooked low-and-slow, but for those really looking to expand their barbecue knowledge, check out the Daily Meal’s recently published 2013 guide to the “Ultimate BBQ Road Trip,” which spans over 5,120 miles and includes 60 of the country’s best examples of barbecue.
July 8, 2013
In the realm of the popular mythology of the American West, food rarely comes to the fore. At most, we generally see a token saloon and the barkeep who keeps whistles wet but otherwise amounts to little more than set dressing. But the truth is, people who boarded a westward-bound train were able to eat pretty darn well. This was thanks to entrepreneur Fred Harvey, who launched a successful chain of restaurants (called Harvey House) along the Santa Fe railway and provided fortune seekers access to fine dining on the frontier. And at each location, patrons were served in the dining rooms by an elite force of waitresses known as Harvey Girls, a corps of women who helped settle the West and advance the stature of women in the workforce.
While the American West of the 19th century was a place for great opportunity, it lacked creature comforts, namely access to quality dining. Here, English-born entrepreneur Fred Harvey saw a chance to launch a business. Working with the nascent Santa Fe railway, he opened a lunchroom at the Florence, Kansas, train depot in 1878. The first location was so successful that additional locations were opened up along the line and by the late 1880s, there was a Fred Harvey restaurant every hundred miles—America’s first chain dining establishment. Strict standards ensured that a Fred Harvey meal was consistent at each location. Bread was baked on-site and sliced three-eights of an inch thick; orange juice was squeezed fresh only after it was ordered; alkali levels of the water were tested to ensure high-quality brewed coffee; menus were carefully planned out so that passengers would have a variety of foods to select from along their travels. Harvey took advantage of ice cars to transport highly perishable items—fruit, cheeses, ice cream, fresh fish—to the harsh environs of the southwest. For railroad towns eking by on fried meat, canned beans and stale coffee, the Harvey House chain was nothing short of a godsend.
Then there was the factor of the service. After the team of waiters in the Raton, New Mexico, location were involved in a brawl, Harvey fired the lot and replace them with young women. It was a radical idea. As far as respectable society in the late 1800s was concerned, a woman working as a waitress was considered to be as reputable as a prostitute. What else were the high-moraled society to think of single girls working in places that served alcohol, soliciting orders from male patrons? But this facet of Harvey’s venture could possibly succeed if the same structure and standardization used in the kitchen was applied to the serving staff. Placing newspaper ads calling for intelligent girls of strong character between the ages of 18 and 30, Harvey put applicants through a 30-day boot camp. By the time their training was over, they had the skills to serve a four-course meal within the thirty-minute meal stop a train would take at each station. The trial run at Raton was so successful that women replaced the male wait staff at all Fred Harvey establishments.
When working the dining room, Harvey Girls were forbidden to wear jewelry and makeup. They wore a conservative uniform: black ankle-length dresses with Elsie collars, white bib aprons. Waitresses lived in a dormitory supervised by a matron who strictly enforced a ten o’clock curfew. Working 12-hour-shifts six and seven day weeks, when a waitress wasn’t serving a customer, she was busy keeping the dining room spotless. In this way, the Harvey House functioned as a corporate chaperone that was able to provide the waitressing profession considerable social respectability.
Although being a Harvey Girl was hard work, there were considerable benefits. In terms of pay, they were at the top of their profession: $17.50 a month plus tips, meals, rooming, laundry and travel expenses. (By comparison, waiters made, on average, $48 a month, but have to pay for room and board. Men in manufacturing made about $54 a month, but all living expenses came out of pocket.) Not only were these women able to live and work independently, but they were able to save money, either to send home to family or to build a nest egg for themselves. And given that the West had a higher male-to-female ratio, they had improved odds of finding a husband. ”The move west in the late 1800s and early 1900s was, for men, a change to break with the past, look at the world beyone the family porch, and being a new life,” Lesley Polling-Kempes writes in her exhaustive study on the Harvey Girls. “Fred Harvey gave young women a similar opportunity. A sociologist could not have invented a better method by which the West could become inhabited by so many young women anxious to take part in the building of a new region.”
Women of loose morals and rough-and-tumble, pistol-packing mamas are among the stereotypical images of women that abound in the literature and movies. And so too did the Harvey Girls attain their own mythic status, fabled to have married business magnates and to have inspired the ire of the local dance hall girls. The waitresses even inspired poetry, such as the fllowing by Leiger Mitchell Hodges, published in 1905:
I have viewed the noblest shrines in Italy,
And gazed upon the richest mosques of Turkey—
But the fairest of all sights, it seems to me,
Was the Harvey Girl I saw in Albuquerque.
The idea of the Fred Harvey’s waitresses as a force of womanhood that civilized the West saw its fullest expression in the 1946 musical The Harvey Girls. With music by Johnny Mercer, it’s a perfectly hummable treatment of the wild west, although rife with its share of historical inaccuracies. And the musical/comedy treatment detracts from the fact that these women worked a long, hard day. But for the sight of synchronized table setting alone, it’s well worth a watch.
As airplane and automobile travel gained in popularity, business declined in the years following World War II. By the late 1960s, Fred Harvey restaurants were no more and the waitresses who kept the train passengers fed were the image of a bygone America. And while they were simply hard working women, their role as community builders is not to be underestimated. “Harvey Girls became women well educated in the needs, moods, affectations and habits of people from all over the United States,” Poling-Kempes writes. “Harvey Girls were among the most upwardly mobile women of the American West, crossing social boundaries in their daily routines, playing the role of mother and sister to travelers rich and poor, famous and infamous.”
Fried, Stephen. Appetite for America: Fred Harvey and the Business of Civilizing the Wild West. New York: Random House, 2010.
Henderson, James. Meals by Fred Harvey. Hawthorne: Omni Publications, 1985.
Poling-Kempes, Lesley. The Harvey Girls: Women Who Opened the West. New York: Paragon House, 1989.