American Food Habits in Historical Perspective

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Using dietary information and other pertinent facts, the author assesses the nutritional status of Americans during each historical period. Special emphasis is given to American dietary patterns from the landfall of Columbus to the colonial period, the revolutionary period, the New Republic, and the 20th century. Four categories of American food are identified and analyzed: mainstream cuisine, regional cooking, regional phenomena (including ethnic foods), and Pop foods. The overview concludes with the finding that, despite delightful differences, there are striking similarities in food habits across time and cultures. By providing increased insights and understanding of contemporary American eating patterns, this book will be a substantive addition to existing texts.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"McIntosh discusses food in North America from prehistory through the present in this well-organized book. Although clearly geared to undergraduate students, it will be useful to many; the chapters on understanding food habits and foods and religion are good overviews. Using food as a unifying theme might increase interest in history for those who find it to be only dates. A clearly written overview."



A historical overview of food habits, emphasizing American dietary habits from Columbian times to the present, for students in food science and interested general readers. Explains basic concepts of nutrition, describes methods of food gathering, producing, and processing, and looks at food ideology, American dietary patterns, and various types of cuisine. Assesses the nutritional adequacy of American diets from various periods, and makes predictions about diet in the future. Includes b&w photos. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275953317
  • Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/11/1995
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 272
  • Lexile: 1250L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

ELAINE N. McINTOSH, Ph.D., R.D. is Professor Emerita of Human Biology at the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay.

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Table of Contents

1 Humans, Nutrition, and Survival 1
2 The Search for Food 17
3 Early Dietary Patterns 43
4 Dietary Patterns from Columbian Times Through the American Revolution 59
5 American Food Habits: The New Republic Through the Nineteenth Century 77
6 American Food Habits: The Twentieth Century 97
7 Understanding Food Habits 139
8 Food and Ideology 159
9 American Food: A Characterization 175
10 The American Diet: An Assessment and Prognosis 207
Bibliography 227
Index 239
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