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The Warmest Room in the House: How the Kitchen Became the Heart of the Twentieth-Century American Home

by

The Warmest Room in the House: How the Kitchen Became the Heart of the Twentieth-Century American Home Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The first book that puts the hearth of the American home — its many unique challenges and innovations — in its proper place in contemporary history.

Thomas Jefferson once wrote that if you really want to understand the workings of a society, you have to "look into their pots" and "eat their bread." Steven Gdula gives us a view of American culture from the most popular room in the house: the kitchen. Examining the relationship between trends and innovations in the kitchen and the cultural attitudes beyond its four walls, Gdula creates a lively portrait of the last hundred years of American domestic life. The Warmest Room in the House explores food trends and technology, kitchen design, appliances and furniture, china and flatware, cookery bookery, food lit, and much more.

Gdula traces the evolution of the kitchen from the back room where the work of the home happened to its place at the center of family life and entertainment today. Filled with fun facts about food trends, from Hamburger Helper to The Moosewood Cookbook, and food personalities, from Julia Child to Rachael Ray, The Warmest Room in the House is the perfect addition to any well-rounded kitchen larder.

Review:

"Freelance writer Gdula begins his story of the kitchen when women were wives and mothers, sanitation a primary concern and most modern industries in their infancy. Decade by decade America's domestic kitchen history unfolds, rapidly modernizing from a candlelit, well water — supplied pantry to a streamlined, lifestyle-supporting laboratory where sliced whole-grain bread toasts in seconds and hot-and-cold running water is forsaken for imported bottles from foreign springs. Even large social and economic forces like the Depression and WWII contributed to making our kitchens more efficient. Innovations now taken for granted, like frozen vegetables and the microwave, came from unexpected places: a field naturalist on assignment in the subzero Arctic; a defense-industry engineer's melted candy bar coming too close to a magnetron. While the book is well researched and entertaining, the narrative advances at such a rapid pace that entire decades (such as the chapter on the 1910s) are compressed into a handful of pages. Gdula successfully personifies the American kitchen, but he has to fight the evidence piling up on the other side of his argument, which continually and just as plausibly suggests that the real heart of the American home may be the television and the automobile." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"An easy, enjoyable read, The Warmest Room in the House just makes you feel good; it's literary comfort food." Very Short List

Review:

"From dieting to genetically modified foods, Gdula skates through a century of America's eating habits, regurgitating articles from magazines and offering few fresh ideas." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Gdula does an especially good job on the food-related double consciousness of Americans in recent decades." Wall Street Journal

Review:

"[Gdula] demonstrates in ample and fascinating detail. The Warmest Room traces the evolution of the kitchen decade by decade through the 20th century." New York Times

Review:

"In a more than 100-year odyssey, writer Gdula documents more than 10 decades of progress (or not) by American manufacturers, food producers, food experts, the government, and, yes, the consumer in the effort to transform the kitchen into the heart of the home....Fascinating." Booklist

Synopsis:

The first book that puts the hearth of the American home—its many unique challenges and innovations—in its proper place in contemporary history.

Thomas Jefferson once wrote that if you really want to understand the workings of a society, you have to “look into their pots” and “eat their bread.” Steven Gdula gives us a view of American culture from the most popular room in the house: the kitchen. Examining the relationship between trends and innovations in the kitchen and the cultural attitudes beyond its four walls, Gdula creates a lively portrait of the last hundred years of American domestic life. The Warmest Room in the House explores food trends and technology, kitchen design, appliances and furniture, china and flatware, cookery bookery, food lit, and much more.

Gdula traces the evolution of the kitchen from the back room where the work of the home happened to its place at the center of family life and entertainment today. Filled with fun facts about food trends, from Hamburger Helper to The Moosewood Cookbook, and food personalities, from Julia Child to Rachael Ray, The Warmest Room in the House is the perfect addition to any well-rounded kitchen larder.

 

About the Author

Steve Gdula's writing has appeared in Details, the Washington Post, the Advocate, and Cooking Light magazine. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781582343556
Subtitle:
How the Kitchen Became the Heart of the Twentieth-Century American Home
Author:
Gdula, Steve
Author:
Gdula, Steven
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Subject:
General
Subject:
General Family & Relationships
Subject:
Cookery
Subject:
History
Subject:
Remodeling & Renovation - Kitchens
Subject:
United States - General
Subject:
Social history
Subject:
General Cooking
Subject:
United States Social life and customs.
Subject:
Cookery -- United States -- History.
Subject:
US History-General
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20071226
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
10 bandw throughout
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.13 in

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Related Subjects

Cooking and Food » Reference and Etiquette » Historical Food and Cooking
History and Social Science » US History » General
History and Social Science » World History » General

The Warmest Room in the House: How the Kitchen Became the Heart of the Twentieth-Century American Home Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.95 In Stock
Product details 256 pages Bloomsbury Publishing PLC - English 9781582343556 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Freelance writer Gdula begins his story of the kitchen when women were wives and mothers, sanitation a primary concern and most modern industries in their infancy. Decade by decade America's domestic kitchen history unfolds, rapidly modernizing from a candlelit, well water — supplied pantry to a streamlined, lifestyle-supporting laboratory where sliced whole-grain bread toasts in seconds and hot-and-cold running water is forsaken for imported bottles from foreign springs. Even large social and economic forces like the Depression and WWII contributed to making our kitchens more efficient. Innovations now taken for granted, like frozen vegetables and the microwave, came from unexpected places: a field naturalist on assignment in the subzero Arctic; a defense-industry engineer's melted candy bar coming too close to a magnetron. While the book is well researched and entertaining, the narrative advances at such a rapid pace that entire decades (such as the chapter on the 1910s) are compressed into a handful of pages. Gdula successfully personifies the American kitchen, but he has to fight the evidence piling up on the other side of his argument, which continually and just as plausibly suggests that the real heart of the American home may be the television and the automobile." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "An easy, enjoyable read, The Warmest Room in the House just makes you feel good; it's literary comfort food."
"Review" by , "From dieting to genetically modified foods, Gdula skates through a century of America's eating habits, regurgitating articles from magazines and offering few fresh ideas."
"Review" by , "Gdula does an especially good job on the food-related double consciousness of Americans in recent decades."
"Review" by , "[Gdula] demonstrates in ample and fascinating detail. The Warmest Room traces the evolution of the kitchen decade by decade through the 20th century."
"Review" by , "In a more than 100-year odyssey, writer Gdula documents more than 10 decades of progress (or not) by American manufacturers, food producers, food experts, the government, and, yes, the consumer in the effort to transform the kitchen into the heart of the home....Fascinating."
"Synopsis" by ,
The first book that puts the hearth of the American home—its many unique challenges and innovations—in its proper place in contemporary history.

Thomas Jefferson once wrote that if you really want to understand the workings of a society, you have to “look into their pots” and “eat their bread.” Steven Gdula gives us a view of American culture from the most popular room in the house: the kitchen. Examining the relationship between trends and innovations in the kitchen and the cultural attitudes beyond its four walls, Gdula creates a lively portrait of the last hundred years of American domestic life. The Warmest Room in the House explores food trends and technology, kitchen design, appliances and furniture, china and flatware, cookery bookery, food lit, and much more.

Gdula traces the evolution of the kitchen from the back room where the work of the home happened to its place at the center of family life and entertainment today. Filled with fun facts about food trends, from Hamburger Helper to The Moosewood Cookbook, and food personalities, from Julia Child to Rachael Ray, The Warmest Room in the House is the perfect addition to any well-rounded kitchen larder.

 

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