From Food, Health, and the Environment

Acquired Tastes

Stories about the Origins of Modern Food

Edited by Benjamin R. Cohen, Michael S. Kideckel and Anna Zeide

How modern food helped make modern society between 1870 and 1930: stories of power and food, from bananas and beer to bread and fake meat.

Overview

Author(s)

Summary

How modern food helped make modern society between 1870 and 1930: stories of power and food, from bananas and beer to bread and fake meat.

The modern way of eating—our taste for food that is processed, packaged, and advertised—has its roots in the 1870s. Many food writers trace our eating habits to World War II, but this book shows that our current food system began to coalesce much earlier. Modern food came from and helped to create a society based on racial hierarchies, colonization, and global integration. Acquired Tastes explores these themes through a series of moments in food history—stories of bread, beer, sugar, canned food, cereal, bananas, and more—that shaped how we think about food today.

Contributors consider the displacement of native peoples for agricultural development; the invention of Pilsner, the first international beer style; the “long con” of gilded sugar and corn syrup; Josephine Baker's banana skirt, the rise of celebrity tastemakers; and faith in institutions and experts who produced, among other things, food rankings and fake meat.

Contributors

Benjamin R. Cohen, Thomas D. Finger, David Fouser, Lisa Haushofer, Michael S. Kideckel, Faron Levesque, William Thomas Okie, René Alexander D. Orquiza, Jeffrey M. Pilcher, Adam Shprintzen, David Singerman, Tashima Thomas, Amrys O. Williams, Anna Zeide

Paperback

$35.00 X ISBN: 9780262542913 272 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 15 b&w illus.

Editors

Benjamin R. Cohen

Benjamin Cohen is Associate Professor at Lafayette College and the author of Pure Adulteration: Cheating on Nature in the Age of Manufactured Food.

Michael S. Kideckel

Michael S. Kideckel teaches history at Princeton Day School and is the author of a forthcoming book, tentatively titled Fresh from the Factory: Breakfast Cereal, Natural Food, and the Marketing of Reform, 1890–1920.

Anna Zeide

Anna Zeide is Associate Professor of History and Director of Food Studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech and the author of Canned: The Rise and Fall of Consumer Confidence in the American Food Industry.