A Square Meal

A Square Meal

A Culinary History of the Great Depression

Book - 2016 | First edition.
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"Jane Ziegelman, author of the acclaimed 97 Orchard, and her husband, Andrew Coe, team up for an in-depth exploration of America's greatest food crisis"--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York, NY : Harper, [2016]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9780062216410
Branch Call Number: 641.5973 ZIE
Characteristics: x, 314 pages :,illustrations
Additional Contributors: Coe, Andrew (Andy)


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Dec 21, 2017

A very interesting narrative of our eating habits as a nation during trying times. The husband and wife team of authors take us through a number of culinary nooks and crannies between the meat and potatoes diet around the time of World War 1, through new urban habits of the "efficiency apartment" and cafe dining; breadlines, hobo culture, and the variety of governmental and charity relief efforts; the growth of home economics and new recipes to palatize different "emergency ingredients. Along the way, we hear surprising testaments from Roosevelt on the threat of people becoming dependent on governmental programs (!) and first Family culinary leadership (Hemingway was warned by friends to eat first before going to the White House). Throughout the narrative, we are treated to recipes, ideas, and excerpts from both cookbooks and other popular literature ("Ladies Home Journal," "Good Housekeeping"), and images of a national challenged by circumstance but ever innovating.

Sep 13, 2017

Husband and wife food writers, Coe and Ziegelman, take a broad sweep of dietary habits of Americans, from the supply lines of WWI to the outbreak of WWII. The book demonstrates that not all people benefited from the "Roaring Twenties" and "starvation diets" were devised to deal with the nutrition needs of the most poor. It then moves on to the Thirties and how people survived on meagre food supplies - egged on by "home economists" who were charged with coming up with scientific means to ensure people stayed fed properly. At the same time came the revolution of processed and frozen foods, the simplification of the refrigerator with much smaller compressors, and the dishwasher. Too, the Roosevelt Administration came up with make work programs - but more importantly three things that remain with us today - food stamps, free school lunches and the "recommended" daily foods guide, the last of which is a concept adopted by many other countries in different forms. Then the authors make the stunning revelation that when Selective Service was launched in 1940, millions of men flunked the medical, due to malnutrition during the Depression. Finally, the book discusses how the pushback against processed foods led to a Renaissance of regional cooking. A well researched book written in layperson's terms. Highly - uh - recommended.

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