Eating History

Thirty Turning Points in the Making of American Cuisine

Andrew F. Smith

Columbia University Press

Eating History

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Pub Date: September 2009

ISBN: 9780231140935

392 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $19.95£14.95

Pub Date: September 2009

ISBN: 9780231140928

392 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $29.95£21.95

Pub Date: September 2009

ISBN: 9780231511759

392 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $19.99£15.00

Eating History

Thirty Turning Points in the Making of American Cuisine

Andrew F. Smith

Columbia University Press

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.

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.

Marion Nestle, New York University, and author of What to Eat: An Aisle-by-Aisle Guide to Savvy Food Choices and Good Eating

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.

Bruce Kraig, professor emeritus, Roosevelt University, and host of the PBS series Hidden Journeys

Easy-to-digest prose and modest portions make these stories compulsively readable, and reveal new angles on old stories.Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Clear and engaging... erudite and entertaining... Recommended.

Choice

Eating History covers an enormous amount of ground and is something of a mini-encyclopedia with many entries, each densely packed with information. Smith is a talented storyteller, so the copious facts and figures are presented well, nicely sprinkled with interesting anecdotes.

Sylvia Lovegren, Gastronomica

...a great read...

Yum.fi
Preface
Acknowledgments
Prologue
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
Epilogue
Bibliography
Web Features:
Watch a video of Andrew Smith discussing Eating History



About the Author

Andrew F. Smith teaches food history at the New School in New York. He is the author or editor of twenty-six books, including Eating History: Thirty Turning Points in the Making of American Cuisine. He has a website, www.andrewfsmith.com.