Turning the Tables: Restaurants and the Rise of the American Middle Class, 1880-1920

Turning the Tables: Restaurants and the Rise of the American Middle Class, 1880-1920

4.0 2
by Andrew P. Haley
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

In the nineteenth century, restaurants served French food to upper-class Americans with aristocratic pretensions, but by the twentieth century, even the best restaurants dished up ethnic and American foods to middle-class urbanites spending a night on the town. In Turning the Tables, Andrew Haley examines the transformation of American public dining at the

Overview

In the nineteenth century, restaurants served French food to upper-class Americans with aristocratic pretensions, but by the twentieth century, even the best restaurants dished up ethnic and American foods to middle-class urbanites spending a night on the town. In Turning the Tables, Andrew Haley examines the transformation of American public dining at the start of the twentieth century and argues that the birth of the modern American restaurant helped establish the middle class as the arbiter of American culture.

Early twentieth-century battles over French-language menus, scientific eating, ethnic restaurants, unescorted women, tipping, and servantless restaurants pitted the middle class against the elite. United by their shared preferences for simpler meals and English-language menus, middle-class diners defied established conventions and successfully pressured restaurateurs to embrace cosmopolitan ideas of dining that reflected the preferences and desires of middle-class patrons.
Drawing on culinary magazines, menus, restaurant journals, and newspaper accounts, including many that have never before been examined by historians, Haley traces material changes to restaurants at the turn of the century that demonstrate that the clash between the upper class and the middle class over American consumer culture shaped the "tang and feel" of life in the twentieth century.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Haley's book reinforces the importance of consumption as a vehicle for class formation and does immeasurable service in exploring restaurants as one of the important sites where this occurred.—American Historical Review

Scholars of food, culture, and the middle class will find this book useful . . . . It offers diverse sources and avenues for future exploration while establishing the prominence of middle-class dining culture in urban America.—H-SHGAPE

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781469609805
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
08/01/2013
Edition description:
1
Pages:
376
Sales rank:
1,108,795
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.10(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Many scholars have viewed the transformation in dining near the turn of the century as an inevitable result of modernizing attitudes, but Andrew Haley successfully argues that these changes instead represent a contest over cultural influence. Turning the Tables restores agency to the middle class, providing an insightful exploration of how middle-class consumers exerted collective cultural and economic power that shaped the commercial marketplace and the material culture of dining.—Krishnendu Ray, author of The Migrant's Table: Meals and Memories in Bengali-American Households

Meet the Author

Andrew P. Haley is assistant professor of American cultural history at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Turning the Tables: Restaurants and the Rise of the American Middle Class, 1880-1920 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago