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California Studies in Food and Culture #48: How the Other Half Ate: A History of Working-Class Meals at the Turn of the Centuryby Katherine Leonard Turner
Synopses & Reviews
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, working class Americans held eating habits that were shaped by the conditions of their work and home lives. For the urban poor, long hours in factories and small apartments with limited cooking facilities meant that many favored purchasing ready-made foods at delis and bakeries over cooking at home. Much like the campaign against childhood obesity raging today, turn-of-the-century progressive social reformers were acutely concerned with how poor people ate and worked tirelessly to enact change.
In How the Other Half Ate, historian Katherine Leonard Turner delivers an unprecedented and thoroughly researched study of the changing food landscape of poor American families from industrialization through the 1930s. Relevant to students and scholars across a range of disciplines—history, economics, sociology, urban studies, womens studies, and food studies—this work fills a gap in historical literature by illustrating how the working poor experienced food and cooking during the so-called age of abundance. Turner reveals an engaging portrait of American food culture and the long history of how food choice is fundamentally intertwined with notions of health, class, and upward mobility.
"A scrupulously researched and masterfully written history of urban working class American foodways. Turner boldly challenges conventional nostalgia for the 'good old days' of home cooking." —Warren Belasco, author of Meals to Come: A History of the Future of Food
"Every page of this book is enlightening. Katherine Leonard Turner has tackled one of the most elusive topics in culinary history — the ordinary food of ordinary people — and placed it in the rich context of their daily lives. Her thoughtful, detailed investigation is certain to become indispensable in the study of turn-of-the-century America." —Laura Shapiro, author of Perfection Salad: Women and Cooking at the Turn of the Century
About the Author
Katherine Leonard Turner received her doctorate in history from the University of Delaware in 2008. She lives and teaches in the Philadelphia area.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
1. The Problem of Food
2. Factories, Railroads, and Rotary Eggbeaters: From Farm to Table
3. Food and Cooking in the City
4. Between Country and City: Food in Rural Mill Towns and Company Towns
5. A Womans Work Is Never Done”: Cooking, Class, and Womens Work
6. Whats for Dinner Tonight?
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Cooking and Food » Reference and Etiquette » Historical Food and Cooking