A Rainbow Palate - How Chemical Dyes Changed the West's Relationship with Food - Synthesis (CHUP) (Hardback)Carolyn Cobbold (author)
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Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Number of pages: 288
Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1 mm
"Cobbold has produced a fascinating account and analysis of how these dyes were introduced, contested, and ultimately legitimized in an emerging globalized industrial food system. . . . What Cobbold draws our attention to is the inevitable negotiation around expertise and the permitted uses of novel chemical additives. In doing so, she enters a larger discussion about how novel scientific objects and processes evade control once they emerge from the laboratory and enter the world where they are unexpectedly transformed and used. More broadly, this book helps historicize the public construction of trust in science and chemistry." * Scientia Canadensis *
"There are many reasons that Cobbold's story is compelling. Her research is detailed and extensive, using many archival sources along with other primary and secondary ones. She also makes good use of the scientific and mainstream press, juxtaposing the opinions of chemists, government policymakers, and consumers. Lengthy excerpts from press articles, in particular, convey the flavor of shifting public discourse. A Rainbow Palate is also compelling due to Cobbold's clear writing, accessible to those with little background in chemical history; the book is punctuated by helpful signposts summarizing and linking sections together. . . . Cobbold's insights about the 19th century help us to understand why this system of trust has become frayed in the 21st century." * H-Soz-Kult *
"A pioneering work of food science, this compact, well-referenced book captures the rise and fall of the use of synthetic chemicals-particularly coal tar dyes-which were employed in food coloring in the US and Europe during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. . . . The book would be a good acquisition for academic and special collections that support food history, food science, and history of chemistry programs. . . . Recommended." * Choice *
"A Rainbow Palate fits into a growing body of literature that attempts to bridge the history of modern chemistry to that of food consumption. . . . Cobbold's distinctive contributions to this scholarship become apparent from her deep research into the history of coal tar dyes, revealing the ways in which a profit-driven commitment to the discovery of new synthetic chemicals and their corresponding consumer markets encouraged the inclusion of textile dyes in food." * Technology and Culture *
"[Cobbold] highlights a dichotomy between the intimacy we have with our diet and the gulf that often separates us from the understanding of where our ingredients come from." * Nature Reviews *
"If you thought food coloring was not a serious subject in the history of science, this engaging and accessible book will show you very quickly just how wrong you were. Cobbold tells a wonderful story of complex and fascinating mutual interactions of science, commerce, industry, government, journalism, and law, about how powerful interests jostled around the use and regulation of potentially hazardous synthetic chemical dyes in food. This is a neglected aspect of the celebrated developments in organic chemistry and the dyestuffs industry in the late nineteenth century. In Cobbold's detailed account, reaching across several countries, we witness how political and legal systems were at a loss to know how to manage and regulate the impact of a formidable and fast-moving field of science, while scientific experts found themselves unable to control the use of their creations or the narratives told about them. A Rainbow Palate is an illuminating cautionary tale of how an important unintended consequence of cutting-edge science can work itself into the very fabric of our daily lives without a clear plan on anyone's part." -- Hasok Chang, University of Cambridge
"In this timely book, Cobbold tells the remarkable story of how the first industrially produced chemical food dyes were created and adjudicated as legitimate additives to food. Nineteenth- and twentieth-century chemists, manufacturers, legislators, and the public all wrestled with questions around food additives still highly relevant today, concerning risk, health, public safety, regulation, testing, and the environment. Were food colorings brilliant instances of scientific and industrial progress or toxic and unnatural artifices? How could dangers be detected and who could keep the public safe? Faced with uncertainty, how should people trust what they ate? Lively and significant, A Rainbow Palate will be indispensable for anyone interested in the difficult process by which societies manage, and fail to manage, radical new technoscientific entities." -- Simon Werrett, author of Thrifty Science
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