Italian American Digest JT DIGEST Summer 2018 June First (1) - Page 23

SUMMER 2018 I TALIAN A MERICAN D IGEST PAGE 23 Sicilian Influence on NOLA Cuisine Deserves a Nod N were impressed by the Sicilians’ gar- dening skills, growing food in places thought to be barren. Many boarding houses in New Orleans accommodated these men, whether they stayed between jobs in the fields or moved to the city awaiting the arrival of their family. You might ask what this has to do with food. Eating habits are one of the most difficult things to change, and food from childhood is often a source of comfort. These establish- ments, along with grocery stores and taverns, often catered to hungry Sicilian workers. Even today, the ne- cessity of feeding immigrant workers often leads to an increase in food- related businesses. These Sicilians came from a land where luxury foods were rarely consumed, so when they moved to America they freely spent money on items that they would not have eaten at home: meats, cheeses, pasta, olive oil, tomatoes, and lemons. They bragged about the better-quality wheat used to make soft white bread in America. Importing and sell- ing foo