Food in the American Gilded Age cover
Food in the American Gilded Age
Edited by Helen Zoe Veit
Food was incredibly diverse in post–Civil War America. It was an era of gross income inequality, and differences in diet reflected the deep disparities between upper and lower classes, as well as the expansion of a flourishing middle class. In this book, excerpts from a wide range of Gilded Age sources—from period cookbooks to advice manuals to dietary studies—reveal how jarringly eating and cooking differed between classes and regions at a time when technology and industrialization were transforming what and how people ate. Most of all, they show how strongly the fabled glitz of wealthy Americans in the Gilded Age contrasted with the lives of most Americans. Featuring a variety of sources as well as accessible essays putting those sources into context, this book provides a remarkable portrait of food in a singular era in American history, giving a glimpse into the kinds of meals eaten everywhere from high society banquets to the meanest tenements and sharecropping cabins.
Publication Date: May 1st, 2017
344 pages| 8 in x 8 in
Helen Zoe Veit is Associate Professor of History at Michigan State University. She specializes in American history in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, focusing on the history of food and nutrition. She is the author of Modern Food, Moral Food: Self-Control, Science, and the Rise of Modern American Eating in the Early Twentieth Century, and general editor of the American Food in History Series.    

Early Praise

Food in the American Gilded Age provides a fresh lens for examining the most dynamic time in American culinary history. From the meager victuals of former slaves to the over-the-top banquets of the super-rich, through the struggles of the average housewife to make sense of the changes in her family’s diet, the documents in this volume provide firsthand looks at the foods that mattered and the Americans who ate them. This book will whet your appetite and turn your stomach, all at the same time.”
Rebecca Sharpless, Professor of History, Texas Christian University, and author of Cooking in Other Women's Kitchens: Domestic Workers in the South, 1865–1960

“The modern American table was invented in the Gilded Age as industrialization improved food preservation and preparation, national and global migration introduced new dishes, and social stratification determined not only what Americans ate, but the social and cultural markers attached to their choices. Helen Zoe Veit’s Food in the American Gilded Age explores the culinary complexity of the era through regional dietary studies, etiquette guides, menus, and recipe collections (one never before published) and provides a comprehensive overview that makes an era of rapid change understandable. This is an indispensable compendium by a respected scholar that should be essential reading for any student, no mattered how well-versed in food history.”
Andrew P. Haley, Associate Professor, History, University of Southern Mississippi, and author of Turning the Tables: Restaurants and the Rise of the American Middle Class

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