Millions of Italians arrived in the United States during the great wave of immigration from the 1880s until the Second World War.
Dishes like spaghetti and meatballs, veal parmigiana, and oven-baked lasagna evolved during these years, yet Americans perceived these as the food of foreign ethnics with too much garlic.
One dish would profoundly change that perception forever: pizza. A popular street food in nineteenth century Naples, pizza served the working class and poor.
In New York City, the first commercial pizzerias baked pies in big bread ovens which resulted in the large round pies common in American pizzerias today. However, pizza did not achieve widespread popularity until after the war as American troops returned home. Everything was about to change.
“Now that I have preached about a dozen sermons I find I am repeating myself,” a young minister wrote despairingly in his diary in 1915.
He was barely out of school and only a few months into his first call, at Bethel Evangelical Church in Detroit. “The few ideas that I had worked into sermons at the seminary have all been used, and now what?”
It would be fourteen years before anyone else read those words, published under the title “Leaves from the Notebook of a Tamed Cynic.”
It would take even longer for their author, Reinhold Niebuhr, to become one of the best-known theologians in the country, famous for works such as “The Irony of American History” and “The Nature and Destiny of Man.”
Rail is on a roll, thanks to a new emphasis in Washington on infrastructure and the environment.
These efforts are boosting not just Amtrak’s fortunes, but those of private sector high-speed rail projects across the U.S. But will American travelers reap the benefits—as in, better and more reliable trains?
Train journeys have long been viewed as more sophisticated than traveling by either road or air, but train travel in the U.S. has long lagged behind Europe and Asia, where intercity trains are both high speed and high quality experiences.
In contrast, Amtrak has been plagued by aging rolling stock (some of its rail cars date back almost to its inception 50 years ago) and sagging on-time performance. That’s because the quasi-public company has spent much of its history battling congressional critics who’ve periodically voted to slash the line’s federal funding, arguing it’s a waste of taxpayer money.