The American (Bad) Dream: Soup Kitchens and European Immigrants in Chicago in the 1930s

April 7, 2011

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Katerina Nussdorfer

Katerina Nussdorfer, Ph.D. candidate at University of Vienna in Austria, introduces her investigation of the hardships of Eastern-European immigrants in the United States before and during the Great Depression in urban areas like Chicago. These immigrants, though escaping difficult lives and seeking to find better prospects in the "land of promises," were met with unemployment and hunger, which were in part remedied by the emergance of soup kitchens (initiated by Al Capone but later on administered by government agencies and nongovernmental institutions).

This event was recorded as part of the Greater Midwest Foodways Alliance Fourth Annual Symposium “Midwest Eats! Foodways of the Great Depression,” which focuses on the Great Depression’s impact on our culinary traditions.  Other events from this symposium recorded by Chicago Amplified—listed in the order they were presented—are as follows:

Midwest Eats!  Foodways of the Great Depression
Nightclubs and Bread Lines: Depression Era Foodways On Film
Templeton Rye of Iowa: Its History During and Just After the Prohibition
This Land is Whose land?
John Drury, Ace Chicago Restaurant Reporter of the 1930s
Community Canning in the Depression: A Case Study
Co-Eds at the Co-op: Student Depression-Era Foodways at Old Normal
Greater Midwest Foodways Heirloom Recipe Competition
No Longer does the Holiday Table Groan Under the Weight of Food
Steaks and Shakes and the Great Depression
Beer Production after Prohibition: Setting the Stage for the Rise of the Mega-breweries
The American (Bad) Dream: Soup Kitchens and European Immigrants in Chicago in the 1930s
Chicago’s Maxwell Street

Recorded Thursday, April 7, 2011 at Kendall College.