Read for BlogHer Book Club, February/March 2013
The Meisenheimer story is told by James, the second of four American-born grandsons of immigrants Frederick and Jette, whose plans to settle in St. Louis were permanently sidetracked when they stopped over in the small Missouri town of Beatrice. Surrounded by fellow Germans, they put down roots, but they are tested by larger events as World War I alters American attitudes toward Germans everywhere and Prohibition shuts down the family business. But because reinvention is an American hallmark, the bar is reborn as a restaurant, and over the decades, its menu evolves from Jette’s native German specialities to her son Joseph’s all-American burgers to a great-grandson’s Mexican-style offerings. And while James associates his family’s story with music--taught to sing by their father Joseph, who learned to love music from his father Frederick, he and his three brothers sang together as a barbershop quartet--but food is at least as big a part of it.