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Fashionable Food

Seven Decades of Food Fads

Though the Roaring Twenties call to mind images of flappers dancing the Charleston and gangsters dispensing moonshine in back rooms, Sylvia Lovegren here playfully reminds us what these characters ate for dinner: Banana and Popcorn Salad. Like fashions and fads, food—even bad food—has a history, and Lovegren’s Fashionable Food is quite literally a cookbook of the American past.

Well researched and delightfully illustrated, this collection of faddish recipes from the 1920s to the 1990s is a decade-by-decade tour of a hungry American century. From the Three P’s Salad—that’s peas, pickles, and peanuts—of the post-World War I era to the Fruit Cocktail and Spam Buffet Party loaf—all the rage in the ultra-modern 1950s, when cooking from a can epitomized culinary sophistication—Fashionable Food details the origins of these curious delicacies. In two chapters devoted to "exotic foods of the East," for example, Lovegren explores the long American love affair with Chinese food and the social status conferred upon anyone chic enough to eat pu-pu platters from Polynesia. Throughout, Lovegren supplements recipes—some mouth-watering, some appalling—from classic cookbooks and family magazines, with humorous anecdotes that chronicle how society and kitchen technology influenced the way we lived and how we ate.

Equal parts American and culinary history, Fashionable Food examines our collective past from the kitchen counter. Even if it’s been a while since you last had Tang Pie and your fondue set is collecting dust in the back of the cupboard, Fashionable Food will inspire, entertain, and inform.

Read eight recipes.

464 pages | 35 halftones, 7 line drawings | 7 1/4 x 9 1/4 | © 1995, 2005

Food and Gastronomy

History: American History, General History

Table of Contents

1. The Twenties
Icebox cookery and Other Modern Ideas
2. The Thirties
Comforting Food in America
3. An Exotic Interlude, I
Chinese Food in America
4. The Forties
Oh, What a Hungry War!
5. The Fifties
Fabulous Foods for the Richest Country on Earth
6. The Sixties
Nouveaux Gourmets
7. An Exotic Interlude, II
Other Oriental Foods in America
8. The Seventies
Eating Our Way to Nirvana
9. The Eighties
For Richer, for Poorer: Status Food and Comfort Food
10. The Nineties
Fin de Siècle Cooking in the Fusion Decade
Sources and Permissions

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