The 19-century researcher and historian Cindy R. Lobel, who studied social and economic elements of life through the angle of eating and food, died on October 2 battling breast cancer at age 48 at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan, said husband Peter Kafka.
She is survived by husband and two sons – Benjamin, 10, and Jonah, 8. She was diagnosed with the disease in 2017 and blogged her condition regularly.
She is well known for her doctoral dissertation titled “Urban Appetites: Food and Culture in Nineteenth-Century New York” in 2014 in which she examined public policy, race, gender, class, infrastructure, consumerism, technology and market influenced how, where and what people of New York age in the 1800s.
Cindy R. Lobel earned her doctoral degree in history from City University of New York in 2003 when one of the common obsessions of Americans was locally sourced delicacies in culinary. Even though treaties and culture of food and eating were highly found in the books and magazines then, very few historians researched on it from the lens of academy.
Decade later her published doctoral dissertation was immediately recognized as important book by academics in which she used food as a prism to explore cultural and social trends. In the gender norm she wrote once it was an ill repute for women eating in restaurants located three steps down from street level.
According to Boston University professor Megan Elias she was such historian who researched about food through her research of cities and as an aftermath Cindy helped legitimize the entire field of study.
In 2014 her book earned Herbert H. Lehman Price and a year before it she grabbed the New York State Historical Association’s Dixon Ryan Fox Manuscript Prize.
Her journalist husband Kafka once said, “She could tell you about ice cream,” he said, “when it was introduced in New York, how technology made it possible to get refrigerated food to people of different social and economic class, whether it was traditionally enjoyed in public spaces, restaurants or homes.”
Cshe was born on Oct. 1, 1970, in Philadelphia to Arthur and Kaaren (Spivak) Lobel. She is youngest of four siblings.