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Publisher's Summary

Ben Katchor retells the history of where we choose to eat - a history that starts with the first man who was allowed to enter a walled garden and encouraged by the garden's owner to enjoy its fruits. He examines the biblical milk-and-meat taboo, the first vegetarian practices, and the invention of the restaurant. Katchor illuminates the historical confluence of events and ideas that led to the development of a “milekhdike (dairy) personality” and the proliferation of dairy restaurants in America, and he recollects his own experiences in many of these iconic restaurants just before they disappeared.

Part of the Jewish Encounters Series

©2020 Ben Katchor (P)2021 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“Delectable.... Obsessive, melancholy, and hungry-making.... This dense cultural and culinary history is reason enough to come to The Dairy Restaurant. But Katchor, who made his name in the 1990s with his weekly comic strip Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer, and has won a MacArthur fellowship, has a sharp mind and a sly sense of humor. His words and his charcoal-palette drawings have a combinatory intelligence.... There is a moving memoirish aspect to The Dairy Restaurant. A perambulator, Katchor has always been expert at capturing the texture and sociology of vanishing aspects of city life.” (The New York Times)

“If you’re facing an extended period of self-isolation, it’s a perfect read. Along with its physical heft, The Dairy Restaurant is philosophical and funny, authoritative and questioning, deeply Jewish and almost gleefully iconoclastic.” (Forward

“Ben Katchor sees into the life of everything he touches. The Dairy Restaurant is surely his capolavoro, an endless fund of news, digressions, wit, lore. He is a professor of the wayward fact, the lost particular, the hidden detail. Nothing fails to interest him. I want to sit next to nobody but him on my next international flight.” (Alexander Theroux, author of Darconville's Cat

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