Does anyone else remember an old movie with Cary Grant and Doris
Day called That Touch of Mink? In it, Doris works in an
automat, a restaurant format which was nearing its end about the
time of the movie (early 60's). Just put a nickel or dime or
quarter in a slot, open a door and there was a piece of pie, meat
loaf, or apple just waiting for you. It was so modern, even space
Well, the New York Public Library just opened a new
exhibition, Lunch Hour NYC, which includes a working automat among
other items like old food carts and an automatic soup dispenser.
The site, Edible Geography, has an online
tour which is fascinating -- and a great lesson in not
just food history, but also cultural history. The tour traces
lunch's development starting from (per Samuel Johnson's dictionary)
"as much food as one's hand can hold" to today's power
This is a fun read, and if anyone is in New York, we envy you;
It sounds like a great exhibition to go to. And if we've spiked
your curiousity, we have a homework assignment. If you go to the
EYB library, you'll notice you can sort our books or recipes by
courses, one of which is lunch.
And just looking at the variety of books gives an indication of how
much lunch has graduated from that handful of Johnson's day and
past the peanut butter and nasturtium sandwich that was once
advocated as a perfect lady's recipe.