‘wichcraft and the world not ending

I broke away from the Twitter the day I noticed on my old-style calendar that the NY Lunch exhibition was closing at the NYPL, and was I ever glad I did. It might not have been on the level of the Prohibition show in Philadelphia, but I learned a lot (and I know a lot). Most salient details: A display of the Automat’s revolving window explained that the slice of pie sitting in the front sent a message that no human had ever touched the food but also separated the cooks from the customers, freeing the company to hire women and minorities to work unseen. School lunches in NYC began more than 100 years ago, and kids whose parents worked through the day were called shutouts and were prey to street vendors. It was only in 1969 that Betty Friedan et al picketed the Oak Room to allow women to be admitted (kidz now rejecting the feminist label were born to moms far after that). The artist who drew the caricatures at Sardi’s did work for food. Women’s magazines a full 70+ years ago were running diet stories headlined “Nice People Don’t Eat.” Power lunch originated as a term to describe the time as much as money — only the little people had to rush through the midday meal. And the saddest thought on reading so many early-NYC menus: Crab used to be as common as calamari.