Something from the Oven: Reinventing Dinner in 1950s America

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9780143034919: Something from the Oven: Reinventing Dinner in 1950s America

Author of the forthcoming What She Ate: Six Remarkable Women and the Food That Tells Their Stories (Summer 2017)

In this captivating blend of culinary history and popular culture, the award-winning author of Perfection Salad shows us what happened when the food industry elbowed its way into the kitchen after World War II, brandishing canned hamburgers, frozen baked beans, and instant piecrusts. Big Business waged an all-out campaign to win the allegiance of American housewives, but most women were suspicious of the new foods—and the make-believe cooking they entailed. With sharp insight and good humor, Laura Shapiro shows how the ensuing battle helped shape the way we eat today, and how the clash in the kitchen reverberated elsewhere in the house as women struggled with marriage, work, and domesticity. This unconventional history overturns our notions about the ’50s and offers new thinking on some of its fascinating figures, including Poppy Cannon, Shirley Jackson, Julia Child, and Betty Friedan.

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About the Author:

Award-winning writer Laura Shapiro was at Newsweek for more than fifteen years. The author of Perfection Salad, she has written for many other publications, including The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Granta, and Gourmet.

From Booklist:

When World War II ended, American industry was left with overcapacity in food manufacture and preservation. Before this could be transferred to domestic use, food manufacturers had to distinguish between what a soldier needed to eat and what a family wanted to eat. Canned and frozen foods appeared in groceries, but American housewives initially rejected most of them. Marketing and modern food science soon overcame objections, television advertising spread the gospel of efficiency, and the 1950s American kitchen and diet were transformed. Shapiro delves into this period of rapid change and comes up with absorbing stories of the era's women. In addition to the familiar tales of the fictional Betty Crocker and cultural icon Julia Child, Shapiro relates the astounding stories of other mid-century foodies such as Poppy Cannon, who publicized convenience foods while falling in love with Walter White, influential NAACP leader, in a time still suspicious of interracial marriage. She also tells of Freda De Knight at Ebony, who studied at the same Parisian cooking school as Julia Child and then brought French haute cuisine into the middle-class African American kitchen. Shapiro's graceful, flowing prose makes this history of both cooking and women utterly compelling. Mark Knoblauch
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Book Description Softcover. Book Condition: New. In this captivating blend of culinary history and popular culture, the award-winning author ofPerfection Salad shows us what happened when the food industry elbowed its way into the kitchen after World War II, brandishing canned hamburgers, frozen baked beans, and instant piecrusts. Big Business waged an all-out campaign to win the allegiance of American housewives, but most women were suspicious of the new foods—and the make-believe cooking they entailed. With sharp insight and good humor, Laura Shapiro shows how the ensuing battle helped shape the way we eat today, and how the clash in the kitchen reverberated elsewhere in the house as women struggled with marriage, work, and domesticity. This unconventional history overturns our notions about the ’50s and offers new thinking on some of its fascinating figures, including Poppy Cannon, Shirley Jackson, Julia Child, and Betty Friedan. Bookseller Inventory # 9136335

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