Product Code: 4321
ISBN: 9780807044780
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Beacon Press
Published Date: 01/22/2013
Availability: Not currently available.
(Backorder policy)
N/A
Price: $17.00

How did white bread, once an icon of American progress, become "white trash"? In this lively history of bakers, dietary crusaders, and social reformers, Aaron Bobrow-Strain shows us that what we think about the humble, puffy loaf says a lot about who we are and what we want our society to look like.

White Bread teaches us that when Americans debate what one should eat, they are also wrestling with larger questions of race, class, immigration, and gender. As Bobrow-Strain traces the story of bread, from the first factory loaf to the latest gourmet pain au levain, he shows how efforts to champion "good food" reflect dreams of a better society-even as they reinforce stark social hierarchies.

In the early twentieth century, the factory-baked loaf heralded a bright new future, a world away from the hot, dusty, "dirty" bakeries run by immigrants. Fortified with vitamins, this bread was considered the original "superfood" and even marketed as patriotic-while food reformers painted white bread as a symbol of all that was wrong with America.

The history of America's one-hundred-year-long love-hate relationship with white bread reveals a lot about contemporary efforts to change the way we eat. Today, the alternative food movement favors foods deemed ethical and environmentally correct to eat, and fluffy industrial loaves are about as far from slow, local, and organic as you can get. Still, the beliefs of early twentieth-century food experts and diet gurus, that getting people to eat a certain food could restore the nation's decaying physical, moral, and social fabric, will sound surprisingly familiar. Given that open disdain for "unhealthy" eaters and discrimination on the basis of eating habits grow increasingly acceptable, White Bread is a timely and important examination of what we talk about when we talk about food.


Bookmark and Share
Preface

Introduction: Bread and Power

1) Untouched by Human Hands: Dreams of Purity and Contagion
2) The Invention of Sliced Bread: Dreams of Control and Abundance
3) The Staff of Death: Dreams of Health and Discipline
4) Vitamin Bread Boot Camp: Dreams of Strength and Defense
5) White Bread Imperialism: Dreams of Peace and Security
6) How White Bread Became White Trash: Dreams of Resistance and Status

Conclusion Beyond Good Bread

Acknowledgments
Notes
Index

"This terrific book does for the humble loaf what Mark Kurlansky does for cod." -Raj Patel, author of Stuffed and Starved

"This is entertaining history and an example of food studies in action: using food to talk about important issues in history and contemporary society." -Marion Nestle, Food Politics blog

"Written by a seasoned baker, White Bread is both an epic, often funny history of the industrial loaf and a wise commentary on today's polarized food politics. Tear into it." -Susanne Freidberg, author of Fresh: A Perishable History

"In this fascinating history of perhaps the most maligned and emblematic American food-industrially made white bread-Bobrow-Strain subtly upends common prejudices while illuminating fundamental shifts in the nation's economy, gender relations, aesthetic preferences, diet, and cultural politics." -Benjamin Schwartz, The Atlantic

"Whatever you think of white bread, its history is full of surprises. And Bobrow-Strain shares this history with wit, style, and imagination. This is a richly researched and cleverly told story." -Catherine Ramsdell, PopMatters

"As Aaron Bobrow-Strain shows...the lowly loaf is so much more than the sum of its simple parts." -Jesse Rhodes, Smithsonian's Food and Think blog

Be the first to submit a review on this product!
Review and Rate this Item

You might also be interested in: