Eating History: Thirty Turning Points in the Making of American Cuisine

Eating History: Thirty Turning Points in the Making of American Cuisine

by Andrew Smith
Pub. Date:
Columbia University Press


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Eating History: Thirty Turning Points in the Making of American Cuisine

Food expert and celebrated food historian Andrew F. Smith recounts--in delicious detail--the creation of contemporary American cuisine. The diet of the modern American wasn't always as corporate, conglomerated, and corn-rich as it is today, and the style of American cooking, along with the ingredients that compose it, has never been fixed. With a cast of characters including bold inventors, savvy restaurateurs, ruthless advertisers, mad scientists, adventurous entrepreneurs, celebrity chefs, and relentless health nuts, Smith pins down the truly crackerjack history behind the way America eats.

Smith's story opens with early America, an agriculturally independent nation where most citizens grew and consumed their own food. Over the next two hundred years, however, Americans would cultivate an entirely different approach to crops and consumption. Advances in food processing, transportation, regulation, nutrition, and science introduced highly complex and mechanized methods of production. The proliferation of cookbooks, cooking shows, and professionally designed kitchens made meals more commercially, politically, and culturally potent. To better understand these trends, Smith delves deeply and humorously into their creation. Ultimately he shows how, by revisiting this history, we can reclaim the independent, locally sustainable roots of American food.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780231140928
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 09/18/2009
Series: Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History Series
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 392
Sales rank: 1,119,394
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Andrew F. Smith teaches food studies at the New School University in New York City. He has published more than three hundred articles on food and food history and has authored or edited seventeen books, including Starving the South: How the North Won the Civil War and the Oxford Encyclopedia on Food and Drink in America. Smith has also appeared on television shows airing on PBS, the History Channel, and the Food Network.

Table of Contents

1. Oliver Evans's Automated Mill
2. The Erie Canal
3. Delmonico's
4. Sylvester Graham's Reforms
5. Cyrus McCormick's Reaper
6. A Multiethnic Smorgasbord
7. Giving Thanks
8. Gail Borden's Canned Milk
9. The Homogenizing War
10. The Transcontinental Railroad
11. Fair Food
12. Henry Crowell's Quaker Special
13. Wilbur O. Atwater's Calorimeter
14. The Cracker Jack Snack
15. Fannie Farmer's Cookbook
16. The Kelloggs' Corn Flakes
17. Upton Sinclair's Jungle
18. Frozen Seafood and TV Dinners
19. Michael Cullen's Super Market
20. Earle MacAusland's Gourmet
21. Jerome I. Rodale's Organic Gardening
22. Percy Spencer's Radar
23. Frances Roth and Katharine Angell's CIA
24. McDonald's Drive-In
25. Julia Child, the French Chef
26. Jean Nidetch's Diet
27. Alice Waters's Chez Panisse
28. TVFN
29. The Flavr Savr
30. Mergers, Acquisitions, and Spin-Offs

What People are Saying About This

Marion Nestle

In Eating History, Andrew F. Smith presents thirty essays on key events that led to our current food revolution. His choices are fascinating. Many are familiar, but most are unexpected, covering a surprising range from the Erie Canal to Cracker Jacks and Rodale's organic gardening. I learned something from every chapter. This book is a total delight.

Bruce Kraig

Eating History pulls together many strands of American food history, large and small, and illustrates them with sharply drawn pictures of people and events. The technique personalizes this history and makes it interesting in ways that straight narrative, especially in most theoretical works, often does not. Andrew F. Smith tells his story well.

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