Beginning with portraits of early domestic movement reformers such as Catherine Beecher and Mary Lincoln, and investigating institutions like the Boston Cooking School, home of Fannie Farmer, the Mother of Level Measurements, the book then pursues "scientific cookery" into its mid-20th-century manifestation. "With the help of the new industry of advertising," Shapiro writes, "the food business was able to reflect Mrs. Lincoln's values [of food-production uniformity] by keeping its achievements in packing, sanitation, convenience, and novelty at the forefront." But greater ills ensued: the effect of the reformers, Shapiro contends, was to encourage women to become docile consumers tethered to commercial interests--and to rob our vigorous cooking and eating traditions of their rich life. In making that point, Perfection Salad reveals its true subject: the cultural priorities that defined American 20th-century life and, finally, the sorry nature of the order they established. --Arthur Boehm --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Sometimes reviewers overuse words about books, but this one deserves all the best ones. It truly is deft, witty, sparkling, thought-provoking, and groundbreaking. Read morePublished 3 months ago by The Strife of Love in a Dream
I read this book for a food and identity class. While the author is not a historian, she demonstrates fairly clearly how domestic scientists of the late 1800s and early 1900s... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Nancy Maxwell
I LOVE this book. I read it for the first time many, many years ago- when it was first published- and it made sense of all sorts of things that otherwise looked random: the... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Cissa
I found this book a bit dry, but the explanation of the women's "reform" movement in the late 19th century and its focus on "scientific" cooking and home economics explained a lot... Read morePublished on January 18, 2013 by Henri IV
Great book for foodies & those interested in the history of feminist pursuits. Shapiro gently tells the history of the missionary types who carved out a professional niche in the... Read morePublished on January 20, 2011 by B. Dombrowski
This is a "must read" for anyone who fancies themself a chef, professional or home-cook. The writing is fluid and interesting, laid out in a comprehensible and sensible manner, and... Read morePublished on June 8, 2007 by Patrick W. Crabtree