Whether served in a lunch pail, on a cafeteria plate, from a fast food restaurant, or with two martinis, lunch is an important historical and sociological indicator of American culture. Although the modern three-meal-a-day pattern may seem divinely ordained, it has undergone profound changes in the last century. Prior to the American industrial revolution, an agrarian society necessitated a hearty breakfast, a large noon meal called “dinner,” and a light evening repast known as “supper.” As the nineteenth century came to a close, and factories increasingly replaced farms as primary employers, the new American lifestyle forced a change in eating patterns, and a new, light, publicly consumed midday meal called “lunch” emerged.
This book studies the contentious history of the American lunch, and explains how divergent forces, from food processors and advertisers to social workers, doctors, government representatives and mothers, have carved out overlapping territories in the contest to influence America’s eating habits. Early chapters explore the shift from agrarianism to industrialization and the pursuant lunch revolution, and cover early reform efforts to improve lunch in schools and workplaces. Several chapters describe World War II as a watershed event for the American lunch, covering lunchtime militarization and government intrusion into daily nutrition, changing attitudes toward traditional women’s roles in food preparation, and the resulting postwar meal. Final chapters cover the “colonization” of school lunch by agribusiness, government and media, and explain how magazine and advertising treatments of lunch provision have constructed new models of femininity.
|Publisher:||McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.51(d)|
About the Author
Julie L. Lautenschlager is an assistant editor at The Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Retirement Series at Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia.