Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Ellen FitzSimmons Steinberg Ph.D.  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction Non-Fiction

Born: in Chicago, Illinois

-- Ellen FitzSimmons Steinberg Ph.D. on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Steinberg was born and raised in Chicago. She currently resides in River Forest, Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

Ellen Steinberg is an anthropological researcher and writer. She teaches as a visiting professor at local colleges, is a past president of Yonah Hadassah, and is vice-president and Chicago-area chair of the Society of Woman Geographers. She lectures and publishes papers on clulinary history.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Teach Me: An Ethnography of Adolescent Learning
ISBN: 1573094005

International Scholars Publications. 1999

A long-awaited and welcomed addition to the literature on early adolescents, Teach Me is an ethnographic account of inner-city youth that explores what they want to know, why they want to know it, and how they go about learning it. FitzSimmons study is based on two years of study in which she interviewed children, school administrators, teachers, and parents and examined the results of school-sponsored student surveys. In contrast to typical educational ethnographies that only focus on adult-structured learning situations in school, FitzSimmons' study also considers other contexts, including home, church, and the streets. The study is presented primarily in the children's own words, revealing their views on gangs, fictive kin networks, social activities, mentors, and schoolwork. Rather than concurring with previous studies that typically cast adolescents as either conforming to or rejecting social norms, FitzSimmons argues that the children in her study are "Cultural Shoppers" who individually choose to accept or reject lessons depending on the context. Teach Me is an important work that will be valuable to educators, parents, and social scientists interested in better understanding urban youth.

Irma: A Chicago Woman's Story, 1871-1966
ISBN: 0877458944

University Of Iowa Press. 2004

Crafted out of Irma Rosenthal Frankenstein's writings, this text offers an account of the life and times of an active, socially engaged woman who devoted herself to her family and her community set against the context of the Chicago history that Irma knew so well.

Learning to Cook in 1898: A Chicago Culinary Memoir (Great Lakes Books Series)
ISBN: 0814333648

Wayne State University Press. 2007

Learning to Cook in 1898 is more than just a cookbook or a collection of nostalgic recipes. While the volume does contain treasured family recipes, the book's primary focus is on the efforts Irma Rosenthal Frankenstein took to educate herself about cooking, nutrition, health, and household management as a young, American-born, middle class Chicago bride of Jewish heritage at the turn of the century.

In this volume, author Ellen F. Steinberg analyzes primary material found in Irma's "First Cook Book" and memoirs. She focuses on approximately one year in Irma's life during which the bride-to-be collected recipes for a variety of entrees, vegetable dishes, soups, salads, tea sandwiches, baked goods, and desserts. Though many of these recipes have obvious German roots, some were clipped from local newspapers and women's magazines, demonstrating Irma's efforts to combine her family's culinary traditions with modern American foodways. Eleanor Hanson, a culinary professional, worked with Steinberg to adapt more than eighty of the recipes for modern cooks.

Learning to Cook in 1898 offers insights into everyday life of the era, the sphere of women's experience, and the customs of German and German-American communities in the Midwest. The text and recipes together will give readers interested in culinary history an opportunity not only to step back into the past but also to sample the rich tastes of those times.

From the Jewish Heartland: Two Centuries of Midwest Foodways (Heartland Foodways)
ISBN: 0252036204

University of Illinois Press. 2011

From the Jewish Heartland: Two Centuries of Midwest Foodways reveals the distinctive flavor of Jewish foods in the Midwest and tracks regional culinary changes through time. Exploring Jewish culinary innovation in America's heartland from the 1800s to today, Ellen F. Steinberg and Jack H. Prost examine recipes from numerous midwestern sources, both kosher and nonkosher, including Jewish homemakers' handwritten manuscripts and notebooks, published journals and newspaper columns, and interviews with Jewish cooks, bakers, and delicatessen owners.
With the influx of hundreds of thousands of Jews during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries came new recipes and foodways that transformed the culture of the region. Settling into the cities, towns, and farm communities of Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, and Minnesota, Jewish immigrants incorporated local fruits, vegetables, and other comestibles into traditional recipes. Such incomparable gustatory delights include Tzizel bagels and rye breads coated in midwestern cornmeal, baklava studded with locally grown cranberries, dark pumpernickel bread sprinkled with almonds and crunchy Iowa sunflower seeds, tangy ketchup concocted from wild sour grapes, Sephardic borekas (turnovers) made with sweet cherries from Michigan, rich Chicago cheesecakes, native huckleberry pie from St. Paul, and savory gefilte fish from Minnesota northern pike.
Steinberg and Prost also consider the effect of improved preservation and transportation on rural and urban Jewish foodways, as reported in contemporary newspapers, magazines, and published accounts. They give special attention to the impact on these foodways of large-scale immigration, relocation, and Americanization processes during the nineteenth century and the efforts of social and culinary reformers to modify traditional Jewish food preparation and ingredients.
Including dozens of sample recipes, From the Jewish Heartland: Two Centuries of Midwest Foodways takes readers on a memorable and unique tour of midwestern Jewish cooking and culture.

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability: (Yes)

Some of the authors topics include:

  • German-Jews in 19th Century Chicago

  • 19th Century Chicago Cuisine

  • Minority Adolescents: Teaching and Learning

  • The Domestic Science Movement in the Late 19th and Early 20th Century