Modern Food, Moral Food
Self-Control, Science, and the Rise of Modern American Eating in the Early Twentieth Century
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: The University of North Carolina Press
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This book is immeasurably better than it could have been because of the guidance I got as a graduate student. I had extraordinary support at Yale, especially from Glenda Gilmore. As a scholar, a writer, and a teacher, she is a model and an inspiration. She was a source of voluminous feedback and frank advice, as well as a constant source of encouragement. I learned ...
INTRODUCTION: Victory over Ourselves: American Food in the Era of the Great War
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Let us make it the hour of our victory—victory over ourselves. In the 1890s, when a poor African American sharecropper in Mississippi ate a plate of beans, greens, gravy, and corn bread, her dinner seemed a world removed from a Gilded Age restaurant meal of steak, asparagus, béarnaise sauce, and white rolls. Just two decades later, however, by the ...
1 National Willpower: American Asceticism and Self-Government
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In January 1918, 300 of the richest women in New York City asked the government to tell them what to eat. The United States had entered the Great War nine months earlier, and food was one of the most immedi-ate ways that American civilians experienced it. European food shortages were front-page news, and in the minds of many, the outcome of the war ...
2 Eating Cats and Dogs to Feed the World: The Progressive Quest for Rational Food
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Herbert Popenoe had to go to police court after neighbors complained to the city of Washington, D.C., that he was killing and eating all the stray cats he could get his hands on. The judge dropped the charges, however, when he was unable to fi nd any law against cat-eating. During the win-ter of 1918, Popenoe not only ate any number of cats himself—ranging ...
3 Food Will Win the World: Food Aid and American Power
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It looks, does it not, as if the crowns of Europe were toppling from the heads of kings. Perhaps you are going to wear them as a halo. “Gentlemen, Europe has begun to take stock of us,” Herbert Hoover an-nounced in a fund-raising speech in New York in February 1917. Since the start of the war in Europe, Hoover had led food relief efforts as head of the ...
4 A School for Wives: Home Economics and the Modern Housewife
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On Valentine’s Day in 1912, a West Virginia farmer sat down and wrote a letter to the president of Cornell University. “My Dear Professor, I have red of your women students,” he wrote. “I would like to correspond with One . . . For the purpose of Matermonial.” The farmer provided his eco-nomic prospects as well as a physical inventory: “I am 44 years old weig ...
5 A Corn-Fed Nation: Race, Diet, and the Eugenics of Nutrition
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In the interest of the race, of its mental as well as physical development, there is no subject which should occupy the attention of educators comparable with that of food. — Ellen Richards and John Norton, 1917 In 1917, the cuisine of the Old South arrived in New England. Southern food was already there, of course, in the recipes and products and tech-...
6 Americanizing the American Diet: Immigrant Cuisines and Not-So-Foreign Foods
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Around noon one day in the early 1910s, a home economist paid a visit to an immigrant family’s small home. She found the family in a stuffy room, eating lunch while a large cat perched on their dirty table, begging for morsels. The cat, the fi lth, and the airless room were bad enough. But much worse was what the family was eating, and how. Crowded around a ...
7 The Triumph of the Will: The Progressive Body and the Thin Ideal
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Sometime in the 1910s, a woman named Nina Putnam decided to go on a diet. She had been slim as a young bride, and for a few years she had stayed that way by cleaning her own house and doing all her marketing on foot. But as her husband’s salary increased, they acquired new things: a vacuum cleaner, an automobile, an apartment in a building with an elevator, and a ...
EPILOGUE: Moral Food and Modern Food
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In the late 1910s, Americans sent soldiers abroad to fi ght in what many believed was actually a great war, one they hoped would forever vanquish a Prussian system of government that represented autocratic control by the few and the slavish submission of everyone else. In this morally electric context, an unprecedented foreign food aid project turned cooking and ...
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Publication Year: 2013