Honors for ‘Kosher USA’
Photo courtesy of Hagley Museum and Library December 01, 2017
Horowitz book wins prestigious American Historical Association prize
Roger Horowitz, director of Hagley Museum and Library’s Center for the History of Business, Technology and Society and an adjunct faculty member at the University of Delaware, is the 2017 recipient of the Dorothy Rosenberg Prize for his book Kosher USA: How Coke Became Kosher and Other Tales of Modern Food.
The Rosenberg Prize, awarded annually by the American Historical Association (AHA), recognizes the most distinguished work of scholarship on the history of the Jewish diaspora published in English during the previous year. The eligible books can vary, including those covering any time period and from any disciplinary field that incorporates a historical perspective.
In Kosher USA, Horowitz follows the journey of kosher food through the modern industrial food system. He draws from experiences with his own family and growing up in a kosher household, along with his historical research.
“Horowitz deftly combines an analysis of Jewish legal questions, modern industrial developments, advertising campaigns and domestic trends in a fascinating and sweeping study that leaves few aspects of 20th-century American Jewish history untouched,” the AHA said in announcing the prize.
The idea for the book came from a question posed by Horowitz’s Uncle Stu about a book he’d previously written, Putting Meat on the American Table. His uncle asked why he hadn’t included anything about kosher meat in that book. From there, Horowitz said, the idea for Kosher USA took root.
Horowitz’s original plan was to focus solely on scholarly research and not include personal or family anecdotes, but now, he said, he’s glad he added some very personal stories to the book.
In addition to the Rosenberg Prize, Kosher USA has been named an outstanding academic book by Choice magazine and received the National Jewish Book Award in American Jewish Studies and the Gourmand International Cookbook Award for Jewish cuisine. Horowitz said he’s been surprised but grateful for the honors.
Since the publication of his newest book, Horowitz has become involved with UD’s Jewish Studies Program, teaching a course last spring titled “Topics in Jewish History: Jews and Food.” An adjunct faculty member in the Department of History, he said he has found teaching enjoyable and rewarding and hopes to continue.
Horowitz is a historian of American business, technology and labor and an expert on the nation’s food. He is also the author of Negro and White, Unite and Fight! A Social History of Industrial Unionism in Meatpacking and serves as secretary-treasurer of the Business History Conference, the leading academic organization for business historians.