A Short History of the American Stomach

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9780151011940: A Short History of the American Stomach

The extremes of American eating—our separate-but-equal urges to stuff and to starve ourselves—are easy to blame on the excesses of modern living. But Frederick Kaufman followed the winding road of the American intestine back to that cold morning when the first famished Pilgrim clambered off the Mayflower, and he discovered the alarming truth: We’ve been this way all along. With outraged wit and an incredible range of sources that includes everything from Cotton Mather’s diary to interviews with Amish black-market raw-milk dealers, Kaufman offers a highly selective, take-no-prisoners tour of American history by way of the American stomach. Travel with him as he tracks down our earliest foodies; discovers the secret history of Puritan purges; introduces diet gurus of the nineteenth century, such as William Alcott, who believed that Ònothing ought to be mashed before it is eatenÓ; traces extreme feeders from Paul Bunyan to eating-contest champ Dale Boone (descended from Daniel, of course); and investigates our blithe efforts to re-create plants and animals that we’ve eaten to the point of extinction.

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Published in hardcover by Harcourt, 2008, 978-0-15-101194-0/0-15-101194-X

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"This rollicking survey of our national food manias from Cotton Mather ('Look after thy stomach') to Rachael Ray is amiably peripatetic."--New York Observer Frederick Kaufman offers a piquant sampling of American history by way of the stomach. Travel with him as he discovers the secret history of Puritan purges; introduces diet gurus of the nineteenth century; traces extreme feeders from Paul Bunyan to eating-contest champ Dale Boone (descended from Daniel, of course); and investigates our blithe efforts to re-create the plants and animals that we've eaten to the point of extinction. With outraged wit and an incredible range of sources that includes everything from Cotton Mather’s diary to interviews with Amish black-market raw-milk dealers, Kaufman provides a revelatory look at how we eat now.  "Witty and polemical... [Kaufman] makes some valuable points about how the stomach influences the ways Americans view themselves."--Los Angeles Times "This brief, chatty tour offers a fascinating interior view of the nation's gut-centricity."--Christian Science Monitor "For the foodie on your gift list."--zagat.com FREDERICK KAUFMAN is a professor of English at the City University of New York and CUNY's Graduate School of Journalism. He has written about American food culture and other subjects for Harper's Magazine, the New Yorker, Gourmet, Gastronomica, Saveur, and the New York Times Magazine, among others. He lives in New York.

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