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.
Utica Greens: Central New York's Italian-American Specialty
naomi guttman is the author of two books of poetry, Reasons for Winter and Wet Apples, White Blood. She has received grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Constance Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts, as well as an Artist's Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts. Guttman teaches English and creative writing at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, where she also co-leads the Central Leatherstocking Slow Food Chapter.
roberta l. krueger, Burgess Professor of French at Hamilton College, has published extensively on medieval courtly romance and conduct books. An avid home cook, she notes that Utica Greens are probably her children's favorite vegetable dish, as there are rarely leftovers.
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naomi guttman, roberta l. krueger; Utica Greens: Central New York's Italian-American Specialty. Gastronomica 1 August 2009; 9 (3): 63–67. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/gfc.2009.9.3.63
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