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How the Other Half Ate: A History of Working-Class Meals at the Turn of the Century (California Studies in Food and Culture) Paperback – January 10, 2014

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Product Details

  • Series: California Studies in Food and Culture (Book 48)
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (January 10, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520277589
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520277588
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #180,205 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"A scrupulously researched and masterfully written history of urban working class American foodways. Turner boldly challenges conventional nostalgia for the 'good old days' of home cooking." —Warren Belasco, author of Meals to Come: A History of the Future of Food

"Every page of this book is enlightening. Katherine Leonard Turner has tackled one of the most elusive topics in culinary history—the ordinary food of ordinary people—and placed it in the rich context of their daily lives. Her thoughtful, detailed investigation is certain to become indispensable in the study of turn-of-the-century America." —Laura Shapiro, author of Perfection Salad: Women and Cooking at the Turn of the Century

About the Author

Katherine Leonard Turner received her doctorate in history from the University of Delaware in 2008. She lives and teaches in the Philadelphia area.

More About the Author

Dr. Katherine Leonard Turner has taught U.S. history at several universities in the Philadelphia area. She is the author of How the Other Half Ate: A History of Working-Class Meals at the Turn of the Century (University of California Press, 2014). This readable, engaging book introduces readers to the problem of food at the turn of the twentieth century. How did people cook and eat when money, time, and resources were scarce? Dr. Turner has a PhD from the University of Delaware.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By S. Donovan on February 23, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was excited about this book because when I've written stories with historical settings, it's been almost impossible to figure out what not-rich people ate. Most of the online research and books gravitate toward rich people's menus and party menus, I suppose because those things are best documented. It's like trying to figure out how people eat now from issues of a gourmet cooking magazine.

As a writing resource, this is great: full of information and memorable vignettes. It includes the prices of many foods at certain places and times, which I always have trouble finding. From the many excellent photos as well as the text, I also got a good idea of how different working-class homes were laid out, furnished, and decorated.

But while this is an excellent reference, as I hoped, it's also a fascinating history. Food touches on socioeconomics, politics, class, and cultural values. Every few pages, I came across some tidbit of information that I wanted to tell other people.

Turner emphasizes the diversity of experiences among working-class people in the U.S. around the turn of the century, from urban to rural, white to nonwhite, male to female, native-born to immigrant. In general, they all spent about half of their entire income on food--just a staggering amount. But although food is cheaper now, some of the struggles having to do with food availability and time for preparation still apply to poor and working-class people today.

Working-class people bought staples like flour and butter every day or two, because they didn't have the money or the storage space to buy in bulk. Its kind of like how now, some people can't afford to save by being in bulk at Sam's Club or Costco.
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