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White bread : a social history of the store-bought loaf

Author: Aaron Bobrow-Strain
Publisher: Boston : Beacon Press, ©2012.
Edition/Format:   Book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
What can the history of America's one-hundred-year love-hate relationship with sliced white bread tell us about contemporary efforts to change the way we eat? How did white bread, once an icon of American progress, become "white trash"? Fluffy industrial loaves are about as far from slow, local, and organic as you can get, but the story of social reformers, food experts, and diet gurus who believed that getting  Read more...
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Genre/Form: History
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Aaron Bobrow-Strain
ISBN: 9780807044674 0807044679 9780807044780 0807044784
OCLC Number: 731918394
Description: xi, 257 p. ; 24 cm.
Contents: Bread and power --
Untouched by human hands: dreams of purity and contagion --
The invention of sliced bread: dreams of control and abundance --
The staff of death: dreams of health and discipline --
Vitamin bread boot camp: dreams of strength and defense --
White bread imperialism: dreams of peace and security --
How white bread became white trash: dreams of resistance and status --
Conclusion: Beyond good bread.
Responsibility: Aaron Bobrow-Strain.

Abstract:

What can the history of America's one-hundred-year love-hate relationship with sliced white bread tell us about contemporary efforts to change the way we eat? How did white bread, once an icon of American progress, become "white trash"? Fluffy industrial loaves are about as far from slow, local, and organic as you can get, but the story of social reformers, food experts, and diet gurus who believed that getting people to eat certain food could restore the nation's decaying physical, moral, and social fabric will sound very familiar. This book teaches us that when Americans debate what one should eat, they are also wrestling with larger questions of race, class, immigration, and gender. Here the author argues 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. As he 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 reinforced stark social hierarchies. As open disdain for "unhealthy" eaters and discrimination on the basis of eating habits grow increasingly acceptable, the subject of this book is a timely examination of what we talk about when we talk about food.

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