School Lunch Politics: The Surprising History of America's Favorite Welfare Program by Susan Levine | Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
School Lunch Politics: The Surprising History of America's Favorite Welfare Program

School Lunch Politics: The Surprising History of America's Favorite Welfare Program

by Susan Levine
     
 

ISBN-10: 0691050880

ISBN-13: 9780691050881

Pub. Date: 02/25/2008

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Whether kids love or hate the food served there, the American school lunchroom is the stage for one of the most popular yet flawed social welfare programs in our nation's history. School Lunch Politics covers this complex and fascinating part of American culture, from its origins in early twentieth-century nutrition science, through the establishment of the

Overview

Whether kids love or hate the food served there, the American school lunchroom is the stage for one of the most popular yet flawed social welfare programs in our nation's history. School Lunch Politics covers this complex and fascinating part of American culture, from its origins in early twentieth-century nutrition science, through the establishment of the National School Lunch Program in 1946, to the transformation of school meals into a poverty program during the 1970s and 1980s. Susan Levine investigates the politics and culture of food; most specifically, who decides what American children should be eating, what policies develop from those decisions, and how these policies might be better implemented.

Even now, the school lunch program remains problematic, a juggling act between modern beliefs about food, nutrition science, and public welfare. Levine points to the program menus' dependence on agricultural surplus commodities more than on children's nutritional needs, and she discusses the political policy barriers that have limited the number of children receiving meals and which children were served. But she also shows why the school lunch program has outlasted almost every other twentieth-century federal welfare initiative. In the midst of privatization, federal budget cuts, and suspect nutritional guidelines where even ketchup might be categorized as a vegetable, the program remains popular and feeds children who would otherwise go hungry.

As politicians and the media talk about a national obesity epidemic, School Lunch Politics is a timely arrival to the food policy debates shaping American health, welfare, and equality.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691050881
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
02/25/2008
Series:
Politics and Society in Twentieth-Century America Series
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations and Tables     vii
Acknowledgments     ix
Introduction: The Politics of Lunch     1
A Diet for Americans     10
The Search for a Scientific Diet     12
A Diet for Americans     23
Nutrition and Malnutrition     29
School Lunch as Public Policy     33
Welfare for Farmers and Children     39
School Lunches for Hungry Children     40
Eating the Surplus     45
The Institutionalization of School Lunch     49
Nutrition Standards and Standard Diets     54
School Lunch Standards     54
Nutrition in the National Defense     60
Eating Democracy     66
A National School Lunch Program     71
Agriculture or Education?     73
The Liberal Compromise     76
Discrimination and Segregation     82
Ideals and Realities in the Lunchroom     89
Nutrition and Surplus Commodities     91
Nutrition and the Food Service Industry     95
The Limits of the Lunchroom     98
No Free Lunch     105
Discovering Hunger in America     106
Agriculture or Welfare?     108
Food and the Poverty Line     120
A Right to Lunch     127
The Free Lunch Mandate     128
The Women's Campaign     130
School Lunch and Civil Rights     136
Eligibility Standards and the Right to Lunch     142
Let Them Eat Ketchup     151
Who Pays for Free Lunch?     152
Combo Meals and Nutrition Standards     163
Ketchup and Other Vegetables     171
Epilogue: Fast Food and Poor Children     179
Notes     193
Index     243

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