Over the course of the past century, the United States went from being revered for having one of the best food cultures in the world — a cuisine so deliciously unique that in the early 1900s, wealthy Europeans would travel to America for vacation simply to enjoy the splendid food — to today being (however unfairly) the subject of international ridicule for having a food culture dominated by junk foods, fast foods, and processed frozen meals. String cheese and SPAM anyone?
In this presentation, we’ll reserve a table with award-winning professor Allen Pietrobon as we eat our way (intellectually, of course,) through a culinary history of the United States. We’ll sample the world-famous American restaurants of the 1890s, then trudge through the Great Depression to see how it affected American cuisine. We’ll see how World War Two radically changed American eating habits and then we’ll push a wonky-wheeled shopping cart through the 1950s “dark ages” of American cuisine, with its cavernous supermarkets peddling frozen TV dinners and Jell-o salads. We’ll explore the major “innovations” of processed food manufacturers as they introduced new products to dominate the American kitchen table. Ultimately, we’ll see that what Americans were eating over the decades had a major impact on American society, culture, and family time. The saying is “you are what you eat.” Can what we eat teach us about who we are as a nation?