In a cuisine known best for its ample portions of pasta and in a cold climate favoring hearty food, Utica Greens, a méélange of sautééed escarole, cherry peppers, garlic, cheese, prosciutto, breadcrumbs and olive oil, has become a regional specialty. ““Greens”” now appear on the menu of virtually every Italian-American restaurant in Utica and can be found on buffet tables at receptions and potlucks in the surrounding area. Incorporating interviews with chefs and household cooks, this article charts the history of Utica Greens from its origins as a humble dish prepared in Italian-American family kitchens to its appearance in local restaurants where it has become a nostalgic marker of a time when people grew their own food in backyard gardens and home-grown vegetables were at the center of family life.

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