The Early American Table: Food and Society in the New World (Hardback)
  • The Early American Table: Food and Society in the New World (Hardback)
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The Early American Table: Food and Society in the New World (Hardback)

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£28.00
Hardback 203 Pages / Published: 26/02/2008
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An exploration in the history of biopolitics, "The Early American Table" offers a unique study of the ways in which English colonists in North America incorporated the "you are what you eat" philosophy into their conception of themselves and their proper place in society. Eden aptly demonstrates that ideas about the body - ideas which may seem irrelevant or even laughable today - not only guided day-to-day personal behavior but also influenced society and politics.According to the 17th- and 18th-century understanding of the body, food affected the blood, bones, mind, and spirit in ways other social markers (e.g. clothes, manners, speech) did not because food was directly assimilated by the consumer. A plentiful, varied diet of high-quality refined foods created virtuous, refined individuals fit to govern society. In contrast, a more restricted diet of poor quality, coarse foods made an individual coarse, even beastly, and unfit to lead. In the Old World, especially before 1600, poverty, legal restrictions, and the scarcity of land prohibited most individuals from purchasing or raising foods believed to produce refinement and virtue. Only the wealthy were able to enjoy such a diet. In turn, this elite diet marked their social status and reaffirmed their entitlement to power.The Englishmen and women who colonized North America throughout the colonial period held this idea that diet shaped character. After only a few decades of settlement, many of them enjoyed the unprecedented prosperity enabled by the fertile environment. Lower and middling families could set their tables with a greater variety and higher quality of food than their social counterparts in England. As a result, in contrast to England where an aristocrat's dinner was far different than a laborer's, in America, the differences between the diets of artisans and urban laborers, of plantation owners and small farmers, were not as great. In short, the American diet was a democratic diet that had social and political consequences. Readers interested in biopolitics, the history of science and medicine, social history, food studies, early American history, British history, and colonial studies will enjoy this delightful study.

Publisher: Northern Illinois University Press
ISBN: 9780875803838
Number of pages: 203
Weight: 666 g
Dimensions: 250 x 150 x 15 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

"An original contribution to several fields of early American history and of British history too."--David Fahey, Miami University, Ohio

"A fascinating study."--Hilda Smith, University of Cincinnati

"A valuable addition to the body of scholarly works exploring history and culture through the lens of food. An intelligent, original contribution. Highly Recommended."--"Choice"


An original contribution to several fields of early American history and of British history too. David Fahey, Miami University, Ohio

A fascinating study. Hilda Smith, University of Cincinnati

"A valuable addition to the body of scholarly works exploring history and culture through the lens of food. An intelligent, original contribution. Highly Recommended." "Choice""


An original contribution to several fields of early American history and of British history too. David Fahey, Miami University, Ohio

A fascinating study. Hilda Smith, University of Cincinnati

"A valuable addition to the body of scholarly works exploring history and culture through the lens of food. An intelligent, original contribution. Highly Recommended." Choice

"

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