THE FRUITS OF THEIR LABOR A HISTORY OF LABOR DAY
What do you picture when you think of Labor Day? The last long weekend of summer? The start of the school year? Maybe you and your family have a cookout, eating barbecue and corn on the cob into the dim hours of the evening. It’s as well you should! If you’re an American worker, Labor Day is a time to celebrate your achievements and contributions. While the holiday’s name makes its significance intuitive, you might not know the history behind the day and the sacrifice of American workers to make it a reality. The height of the Industrial Revolution was, in many ways, the utter depths for the average American worker. Workdays lasting 12 hours and seven-day workweeks were the norm, and in many states, children as young as 5 or 6 worked in mills, factories, and mines. Working conditions were often unsafe, unsanitary, and inhumane by today’s standards. And the reason we have those standards today, as well as the Labor Day holiday, is thanks in large part to labor unions and their collaboration against these egregious injustices. As labor unions grew in popularity, so did the idea of having a day to recognize the achievements of the American worker — albeit sluggishly. Even though the first Labor Day was celebrated
in 1882, states didn’t begin recognizing the holiday until 1887, and it wasn’t federally recognized until 1894. The 12 years in between were filled to the brim with
strikes, riots, and violence, all culminating in a strike of workers at the Pullman Palace Car
Company in Chicago in May of 1894. The federal government dispatched soldiers to quell the strike, which resulted in the deaths of 30 workers. In order to appease the outrage that followed, the government finally made Labor Day a legal holiday. While the holiday’s dour origin may contrast with the lighthearted nature of Labor Day celebrations today, the progress for workers’ rights that it represents is worth celebrating. So fire up that grill, eat a burger, and play some lawn games. You’ve worked hard this year, and you earned a day off. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.
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CACIO E PEPE
• 6 oz. pasta, ideally spaghetti or bucatini • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, cubed and divided • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper • 3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, ideally Parmigiano-Reggiano • 1/3 cup finely grated pecorino • Kosher salt, for pasta water and to taste 1. In a large pot, bring 3 quarts of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook, stopping 2 minutes short of desired doneness. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water. 2. In a large pan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add pepper and cook until toasted and aromatic, about 1 minute. Add reserved pasta water and bring to a simmer. 3. Transfer pasta and remaining butter to pan and reduce heat to low. Add Parmesan cheese and cook until melted, tossing pasta throughout. Remove pan from heat and add pecorino, continuing to toss until cheese is melted and sauce coats pasta. 4. Transfer to bowls and serve. DIRECTIONS
Inspired by Bon Appétit
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