All posts tagged: world wars

Archive Adventures #2: Wartime, Memorial Day … & Kraft American Cheese?

With the tagline, “Hanker No More!” this advertisement from my archive adventures at the Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History at Duke University celebrates the return of not only America’s World War II heros, but of Kraft cheese products, like Kraft American cheese, Velveeta, and “Old English” Pasteurized Process Cheese, which were rationed on the home front. Ad copy commiserates with America’s housewives: “For a long time during the war, you couldn’t get an ounce of this mellow, smooth-melting cheese; since then a single package has been ‘a find.’” Now, however, the “cheddar goodness you’ve missed so long” has not only returned to supermarket shelves, but “is plentiful.” Furthermore, while an ounce was once impossible to procure, Kraft American cheese could now be purchased in a five-pound loaf or by the half pound (packaged in blue) if preferred. Such linguistic comparisons of weights and measures reveal some evidence of the food industry’s post-war aim to not only find domestic markets for wartime goods, but to increase consumption more generally. Finally, nearly all of the other advertisements that I collected for Kraft cheeses during the …

Cooking Up a Storm at the 2013 Cookbook Conference

The Roger Smith Cookbook Conference in New York City drew an eclectic mix of culinary scholars; food studies academics; food writers and bloggers; food photographers and stylists; cookbook writers, editors and publishers; chefs; and those hoping to become any of the above. I participated in the panel, “Cookbooks as Works of Art and Status Objects,” which explored the slew of elaborate and expensive cookbooks that have come out recently that function as coffee table books more so than cookbooks. Examples include: The French Laundry Cookbook, The Big Fat Duck Cookbook, Alinea, Eleven Madison Park, NOMA, and Modernist Cuisine. The panel also featured Kim Beeman, Jane Black, Sarah Cohn, and Anne McBride, each of us bringing a different perspective to the nature and meaning of these cookbooks. I discussed these cookbooks as extensions of the trophy kitchen, given their ornamental nature and status-making potential. I also attended several other panels, which I summarize in this post. I have captured what I found to be the most tantalizing sound bites from panelists, but I have by no means provided an …

Seven Simply Smashing Food Exhibits: No Tickets, Shoes, or Shirts Required

One of my favorite things on a weekend afternoon, a weekday evening—well, we can go ahead and say just about anytime—is to spend a few glorious hours of levity and escape at a museum. I’m lucky to live in Boston where world-class museums abound as plentifully as colleges and universities, but sometimes, I hear you, we get busy and don’t make it out the door to enjoy the many intriguing exhibits on display. Here you’ll find seven excellent online food museum exhibits that you can visit anytime you like from your computer—and in your pajamas if you so desire. There are likely many more delightful virtual expos, but these seven, listed in no particular order, can be a very filling place to start… 1. Julia Child’s Kitchen Even if you aren’t in Washington D.C. you can peek in the drawers and cupboards of Julia Child’s kitchen, view selected culinary objects, and peruse an interactive timeline that chronicles her love of cooking. Exhibit by the Smithsonian, National Museum of American History 2. War-Era Food Posters Check out …

Chicken Fricassee Face-Off: 18th Century Haute Cuisine versus 1950s Can-Opener Cooking

When I was a graduate student in the Boston University Gastronomy program, Ken Albala assigned an intriguing final exam question in the course “A Survey of Food History:” to compare and contrast two Chicken Fricassée recipes. While it may appear at first glance that Francois Massialot’s recipe, “Poulets en Fricasée au Vin de Champagn” from Le Nouveau Cuisinier Royal et Bourgeois (1748), is the culinary superior of Poppy Cannon’s “Chicken with White Wine and White Grapes” from The Can-Opener Cookbook (1953), such an assumption ignores the complexity of each recipe as a unique product of a particular time and place. As Anne Bower contends, a cookbook can be read as a “fragmented autobiography” (Bower 1997: 32) that reveals unique details not only of the author’s experience, but also those of his or her time. Cannon’s recipe in particular fulfills Bower’s assertion that the main theme of cookbooks is the “breaking of silence” (1997: 46-47), as it reveals the struggles and desires of the 1950s American housewife. Examples of Period Food Trends First published in 1691 and in revised additions throughout the early eighteenth …

Please Allow Me to Re-Introduce Myself: 5 Images That Summarize My Food Studies Interests

I’m a food studies student, who obviously loved Jay-Z’s Black Album when I was in college, which feels like a long time ago. As I continue my interdisciplinary studies of food, nutrition, and public health, this blog is a place for some of my finished work, as well as lots of projects that are in process or ideas that are just rumbling around in my mind. Please feel free to comment and engage! It’s okay to be critical, but please be kind. Most of my interests are encapsulated in the cover header I created for this blog… Image 1: MyPlate — Nutrition Education & Food Politics  Introduced in 2011, MyPlate is the USDA’s current nutrition education tool, replacing the 2005 tool, MyPyramid, a bit of a disaster, which built upon the 1992 Food Guide Pyramid, which anyone from my generation learned in elementary school. The plate image has been used previously, such as in the UK’s eatwell plate and the Plate Method used and evaluated in the US. While I feel conflicted about whether we should be telling, instructing, or cajoling people into eating a certain …