Public Meetings

Home Events “Bloody Food Rackets: 1930s New York City” by Andrew Coe

“Bloody Food Rackets: 1930s New York City” by Andrew Coe

The Culinary Historians of San Diego present “Bloody Food Rackets: 1930s New York City” featuring James Beard Award winner Andrew Coe, at 10:30am on May 18, 2019, in the Neil Morgan Auditorium of the San Diego Central Library, 330 Park Boulevard, San Diego. The event is free and open to the public. A tasting and book signing will follow.

Coe will delve into why notorious gangsters such as Joseph “Socks” Lanza, fought bloody battles over… artichokes, and milk, eggs, flour, kosher chickens, and even chocolate syrup. The setting was the city’s sprawling food markets and the victims were average New Yorkers who struggled to feed their families in the Depression-era economy. The hero was Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia who fought to free customers from the stranglehold of the mob.

10:30am – 12:00pm
Saturday, May 18, 2019
Neil Morgan Auditorium
San Diego Central Library
330 Park Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92102

About Andrew Coe
Andrew Coe is a writer and independent scholar specializing in culinary history. He and his wife, Jane Ziegelman, are co-authors of A Square Meal: A Culinary History of the Great Depression, which won a James Beard award. His ground-breaking Chop Suey: A Cultural History of Chinese Food in the United States was a finalist for a James Beard award and named one of the best food books of the year by the Financial Times. He has written books, articles, and blog posts on everything from the ancient history of foie gras to the secret criminal past of chocolate egg creams, to where to buy the tastiest bread in New York City. Coe has appeared in documentaries such as the National Geographic Channel’s “Eat: The Story of Food” and “The Search for General Tso.”



Eggless Spice Cake​ Recipe

from May 18, 2019 meeting.Based on Sharon’s grandmother’s recipe from the Depression and World War II, when there was a shortage of eggs.


For Step 1:

1 1/2 cups sugar ( I’ve also used honey and or turbinado sugar)
1/2 cup molasses
2/3 cup butter (original recipe called for margarine or Crisco)
2 cups water
1 cups raisins
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon nutmeg

For Step 2:

2 teaspoons baking soda, dissolved in 3 tablespoons warm water

For Step 3:

4 cups unbleached white flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup chopped walnuts


1. Mix sugar, molasses, butter, water, raisins, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg in a saucepan. Bring to a boil for 3 minutes, then let cool for 1 – 2 hours, until lukewarm.

2. Preheat oven to 350˚ F. Dissolve baking soda in warm water, then add to cooled sugar and spice mix.

3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder. Stir in sugar and spice mix from saucepan. Mix in walnuts.

4. Pour batter into a greased tube pan. Bake preheated 350˚ F oven for 50 minutes. Then, lower temperature to 300°F and bake for another 10 minutes or until a cake tester (skewer) comes out clean.

Cool cake in pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool on a rack before cutting.

About the Culinary Historians of San Diego
Culinary Historians of San Diego (CHSD) is a nonprofit organization that provides the public with a history of food and drink and their roles in society, both locally and worldwide. Membership in this non-profit organization supports both CHSD activities and the culinary collection of the San Diego Public Library.

The event is finished.


May 18, 2019


10:30 am - 12:00 pm




Neil Morgan Auditorium
330 Park Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92101

Neil Morgan Auditorium is located downtown in the San Diego Central Library.