No Foreign Food: The American Diet In Time And Place (Geographies of the Imagination)

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ISBN-13: 978-0813327396
ISBN-10: 0813327393
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Amazon.com Review

In No Foreign Food, Richard Pillsbury examines the evolution of the American way of eating, from the foods we eat to the times and places in which we eat them. Using graphs, figures, maps, and even reproductions of old "American" recipes (Brunswick Stew, Hoppin' John, Aebleskivers, and a terrific comparison of gumbos from 1872 to 1996), Pillsbury, a geographer, shows how each wave of immigration has brought with it new tastes to be mixed in the melting pot and how the industrial revolution, the advent of prepared foods, and the rise of marketing have all contributed toward shaping our daily menus. He explores how the Americanization of previously "ethnic" foods allows them to move quickly into our standard diet, allowing the customer who claims to eat "no foreign food" to order spaghetti or a sausage in any truck stop he finds.

From Library Journal

Pillsbury (Georgia State Univ.; From Boarding House to Bistro, Routledge, 1990) gives us an entertaining and informative look at what our food choices say about us as a society. He examines many aspects of the food industry, including restaurants, supermarkets, cookbook publishing, agriculture, and food processing. Social issues such as immigration and changes in the structure of American families are also considered. In looking at such a broad range of factors, Pillsbury provides a concise summation of many trends that affect America's food choices and offers a history of the development of various foods and food technologies. The great weakness of his work, however, is that many of his assertions are not well supported with verifiable facts and that numerous tables of consumption figures are presented without sources. Recommended for specialized food collections.?Mary Martin, CAPCON Lib. Network, Washington, DC
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Series: Geographies of the Imagination
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Westview Press (February 27, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813327393
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813327396
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,830,683 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 10, 1999
Format: Paperback
Given the academic qualifications of the author, I was expecting a more scholarly treatment of the subject. What I found is a superficial treatment using personal observations with shallow interpretation. Worse, however, were the inaccuracies I spotted. The author confuses yams and sweet potatoes--attributing their origins to South America, South East Asia and perhaps Africa. So called "yams" in this country are sweet potatoes of New World origin. The term "yam" was coined by a clever marketing ploy to elevate the lowly sweet potato in people's minds. A true yam is botanically different and does not grow in this country. Another inaccuracy was the failure to distinguish tortillas from cornbread. Tortillas are made from lye-treated corn which changes the nutrient content in a way to prevent pellagra that was seen in other societies where corn was a major staple food, such as the American South. This is an important distinction. After noting these shortcomings I don't trust anything else in the book that I cannot verify through other sources. The best part of the book is the extensive bibliography at the end.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 1, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book presents a concise and clear overview of food habits and customs in the United States. Pillsbury examines regional food differences and traces them back to immigrant or even Native American customs. One of the more interesting aspects of the book is the documentation of how our ideals of what food was like for past generations differ from what they really ate. For instance, Pillsbury stresses the importance of corn meal-based baked goods in the traditional American diet instead of white yeast breads. He also points out how much greater variety of food we have available today, how much safer the food is in terms of contamination, and even how much safer cooking conditions are. The development of restaurants, supermarkets, and cookbooks are described in separate chapters. Contributions of various groups of immigrants are also highlighted, although the author makes no mention of South Asian immigrants, who are certainly beginning to have a noticeable presence in the Northeast. Overall, I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in food, food history, US history, or ethnic studies.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jessica on November 25, 2002
Format: Paperback
The text is slightly slow at times, but for the cultural geographer, anthropologer, or cook, it is incredibly insightful. It is repiticious, but that theme refelcts american foodways.
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