Food in the Gilded Age: What Ordinary Americans Ate

Food in the Gilded Age: What Ordinary Americans Ate

by Robert Dirks

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Overview

The Gilded Age is renowned for a variety of reasons, including its culture of conspicuous consumption among the newly rich. In the domain of food, conspicuous consumption manifested itself in appetites for expensive dishes and lavish dinner parties. These received ample publicity at the time, resulting later on in well-developed historical depictions of upper-class eating habits.

This book delves into the eating habits of people of lesser means. Concerning the African American community, the working class, the impoverished, immigrants, and others our historical representations have been relatively superficial. The author changes that by turning to the late nineteenth century’s infant science of nutrition for a look at eating and drinking through the lens of the earliest food consumption studies conducted in the United States. These were undertaken by scientists, mostly chemists, who left their laboratories to observe food consumption in kitchens, dining rooms, and various institutional settings. Their insistence on careful measurement resulted in a substantial body of detailed reports on the eating habits of ordinary people. This work sheds new light on what most Americans were cooking and eating during the Gilded Age.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442245136
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 04/14/2016
Series: Rowman & Littlefield Studies in Food and Gastronomy Series
Pages: 226
Sales rank: 1,125,130
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Robert Dirks is Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at Illinois State University. He has conducted research in areas of both food habits and nutrition worldwide. His publications include papers in the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Current Anthropology, American Anthropologist, World Cultures, Journal of Nutrition, and Annual Review of Nutrition. His book, Come & Get It! McDonaldization and the Disappearance of Local Food from a Central Illinois Community, traces a changing food culture from frontier days to the beginning of the twenty-first century.

Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS

PREFACE
CHAPTER ONE: NUTRITION HISTORY
RELATIONSHIP TO CULINARY HISTORY
MEXICAN-AMERICAN DIETS IN THE RIO GRAND VALLEY
METHOD AND TECHNIQUES IN EARLY DIETARIES
STRUCTURE OF A DIET
CHAPTER TWO: MOUNTAINEERS AND A NUTRITION TRANSITION IN APPALACHIA
CROOKED CREEK
FRONTIER FOOD HABITS
NORTHEAST GEORGIA
BACKWOODS NUTRITION
MARYVILLE
IMPERFECTLY SKILLED MECHANICS
SOUTHERN STUDENTS
THE NUTRITION TRANSITION
CHAPTER THREE: AFRICAN AMERICANS AND SOUL FOODS
TUSKEGEE AND THE BLACK BELT
EASTERN VIRGINIA
URBAN COMMUNITIES
THE INSTITUTE FOR COLORED YOUTH
CONTINUITIES AND DISCONTINUITIES
NUTRITIONAL SUPERIORITY OF METROPOLITAN DIETS
CHAPTER FOUR: RICH AND POOR AND THE SEASONALITY OF DIET
UPPER AND MIDDLE-CLASS DIETS
WHAT MEMBERS OF THE WORKING CLASS ATE
On Chicago’s West Side
Around Rundown Parts of Washington, D. C.
Inside the Tenements of New York City
COMPARING NUTRITIONAL VALUES
ANNUAL EBBS AND FLOWS
The Rural South
Cotton and the post-harvest dead season
The pellagra season
The Urban North
SEASONAL HUNGER AND ITS CONSEQUENCES
CHAPTER FIVE: IMMIGRANTS’ DIETS
EUROPEAN IMMIGRANTS
Italian Americans
Russian-American Jews
Orthodox Diets
Liberal Diets
Bohemian Americans
Irish Americans
British Americans
German Americans
EATING LIKE KINGS
THE NUTRITIONAL CONSEQUENCES
CHAPTER SIX: CONTRASTS
COLLEGE EATING CLUBS AND DINING HALLS: REGIONAL PATTERNS
EATING HABITS AND GENDER
The Training Table: Red Meat Barely Cooked
How to be Plump
FOOD CULTURES EAST AND WEST
Chinese Americans
French-Canadian Americans











LIST OF TABLES
Table 1.1. Nutritional Values, Mexican-American Diets, Las Cruces, Spring, 1896-1897
Table 2.1. Typical Diet at Crooked Creek, Late Summer, 1904
Table 2.2. Average Nutritional Values, Various Diets, Georgia and Tennessee, 1895-1904
Table 2.3. Typical Maryville Diet, Late Fall through Early Spring Diet, 1901-1903
Table 3.1. Typical Winter-Spring Diet, Tuskegee, 1895-1896
Table 3.2. Typical Winter Diet, Poor African Americans, Philadelphia and Washington, DC, 1892-1906
Table 3.3. Average Nutritional Values, Various African American Diets, 1895-1906
Table 4.1. Typical Fall-Winter Diet, Middle Class Households. Northeastern and Midwestern States, 1895-1897
Table 4.2. Typical January through March Diet of Poor Working-Class Families, New York City, 1897
Table 4.3. Average Nutritional Values by Class
Table 5.1. Foods Commonly Part of European-American Diets about 1900
Table 5.2. Average Nutritional Values for Diets of Nine Immigrant Groups
Table 5.3. Average Nutritional Values of Bohemian Diets by Length of Residence in the United States
Table 5.4. Average Cost and Dietary Variety among Sets of Immigrants
Table 6.1. Average Nutritional Values, Diets Associated with Strenuous Activities, 1896-1903
Table 6.2. Typical Menu for the Day, Maine Lumberjacks, Winter, 1901-1903


LIST OF RECIPES
Recipe 1.1. New Mexican Chile Salad
Recipe 2.1. Apple Cobbler
Recipe 2.2. Chow-Chow
Recipe 3.1. Roasted Possum
Recipe 3.2. Sweet Potato Puffs
Recipes 4.1. Indian Puddings
Recipe 4.2. Boiled Leg of Lamb in Caper Sauce
Recipe 4.3. Lyonnaise Eggs
Recipe 5.1. Zuppa di Fagiuoli
Recipes 5.2. Borsht and Other Beet Soups
Recipe 5.3. Fried Pork Tenderloin
Recipes 6.1. Prune and Raisin Pies










LIST OF PHOTOGRAPHS
Photo 1.1. Preparing Tortillas in Aguas Calientes, Mexico
Photo 2.1. A.J. Dorsey's Cabin. Family at Breakfast
Photo 2.2. Mountain Family
Photo 2.3. Picnic
Photo 2.4. Noon Hour Brookside Cotton Mills
Photo 3.1. African American Couple Sitting in One Room Cabin near Fireplace
Photo 3.2. Sixth Street Market (typical vegetable men), Richmond, Va.
Photo 3.3. Hampton Institute, Va. - a graduate (dining) at home
Photo 3.4. Easy Living
Photo 4.1. Tea at Hostess House
Photo 4.2. This Boy and Brother were Picking Discarded Fruit Out of Barrels in Market near 14th St. N.Y. City . . . .
Photo 4.3. Woman Carrying Baskets - Salvation Army Christmas Dinner, New York
Photo 5.1. Mrs. Palontona and 13 Year Old Daughter, Michaeline, Working on "Pillow-lace" in Dirty Kitchen of Their Tenement Home . . . .
Photo 5.2. Two Jewish Girls Carrying Pots of Food for the Sabbath
Photo 5.3. Remember When . . . Bakery Smells Filled the Neighborhood?
Photo 5.4. Mulberry St., New York, N.Y.
Photo 6.1. Oxford College Dining Room
Photo 6.2. Syracuse Freshmen at Dinner, Poughkeepsie
Photo 6.3. Chinese Field Hands 1898
Photo 6.5. Six Cooks Wearing Aprons Stand in a Lumber Camp Dining Room . . . .

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