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Turning the Tables: Restaurants and the Rise of the American Middle Class, 1880-1920 Hardcover – May 30, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Turning the Tables restores agency to the middle class, providing an insightful exploration of how middle-class consumers exerted collective cultural and economic power . . ." --Krishnendu Ray, author of The Migrant's Table

"Haley's innovative and valuable conceptualization of the cosmopolitan restaurant contributes significantly to our understanding of the development of food, class, and culture in the U.S." --Jeffrey Pilcher, author of Food in World History

Scholars of food, culture, and the middle class will find this book useful . . . . It offers diverse sources and avenues for future exploration while establishing the prominence of middle-class dining culture in urban America.--H-SHGAPE



Haley's superbly researched study of changes in America's dining habits at the turn into the twentieth century explains much about shifting restaurant tastes in that century, and in ours.--Studies in American Culture



Turning the Table is essential reading for anyone wanting to know more about the roots of the American passion for dining out.--Journal of American Studies



Like a good chocolate cake: rich, complex, and satisfying. . . . Haley stakes out bold, original claims. . . . A fine example of solid social and cultural history. . . [which] will help turn the tables on much established scholarship.--Journal of Social History



[A] very interesting and useful study of the evolution of public dining in the United States." --Journal of American History



Haley makes great use of an astonishing collection of sources, such as menus, trade journals, popular magazines, and cartoons, to produce an engaging history that sheds fresh light on the creation and meaning of the American middle class and that will encourage readers to think more deeply about their decision about where to go for dinner.--The Historian



Turning the Tables is an engaging read.--LA Weekly blog



Haley's book reinforces the importance of consumption as a vehicle for class formation and does immeasurable service in exploring restaurants as one of the important sites where this occurred.--American Historical Review



A sumptuous dish for anyone interested in middle-class culture of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, as well as an important contribution to the growing historiography around restaurant and food history.--Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era



Turning the Tables is a significant contribution to existing scholarship on class, culture, and consumption.--Journal of Illinois History



A splendid and innovative study. . . . Turning the Tables is an intelligent and well-researched account that significantly contributes to our understanding of the history of restaurant culture in the United States. It is a pleasure to read.--Hospitality & Society

Review

Many scholars have viewed the transformation in dining near the turn of the century as an inevitable result of modernizing attitudes, but Andrew Haley successfully argues that these changes instead represent a contest over cultural influence. Turning the Tables restores agency to the middle class, providing an insightful exploration of how middle-class consumers exerted collective cultural and economic power that shaped the commercial marketplace and the material culture of dining.--Krishnendu Ray, author of The Migrant's Table: Meals and Memories in Bengali-American Households

|Haley's book is a lively, engagingly written, and well-researched examination of the origins of dining and the restaurant as we know it. It's a true pleasure to read.--Warren Belasco, author of Appetite for Change: How the Counterculture Took on the Food Industry

|Haley's innovative and valuable conceptualization of the cosmopolitan restaurant contributes significantly to our understanding of the development of food, class, and culture in the United States.--Jeffrey Pilcher, author of Food in World History

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 376 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; 1 edition (May 30, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807834742
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807834749
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #457,962 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Andrew P. Haley studies class and culture in the United States from the Gilded Age through the 1950s. He has a PhD from the University of Pittsburgh and a bachelor degree from Tufts University, and is currently an associate professor of American cultural history at the University of Southern Mississippi.

His first book, Turning the Tables: American Restaurant Culture and the Rise of the Middle Class, 1880-1920, was published by University of North Carolina Press in May 2011. It is the 2012 recipient of the James Beard Foundation Book Award for Reference and Scholarship. Andrew's next project, Dining in High Chairs, examines children and eating, both in public and private.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A. MILNE-SMITH on June 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In most American towns, we take it for granted that any evening we can go out for pizza, sushi, or a great hamburger. But the restaurant, and the way we eat in it, is a relatively modern invention as Andrew Haley demonstrates. Patterns of eating and dining are particularly flexible markers of each society's cultural mores and tastes as Haley convincingly explains. Turning the Tables tackles issues as diverse as the "Americanization" of ethnic food, conflict between the middle classes and elites as arbiters of taste, the first modern incarnation of a "healthy eating" movement and women's entry into the public dining room. This book is incredibly well-researched and documented, but Haley's writing style is so engaging one is hard pressed to look away to follow the endnotes (one should: they are well worth it). This book will interest not only those with an interest in the history of food, but more generally anyone interested in American culture, the history of class, or gender history.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By P. Carli on January 16, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A well-researched but ultimately very bad book. Haley writes only sociologically, without a touch of sensualism or hedonism, and ignores the structures and expectations of American restaurant hotel menus in favor of his class-oriented agenda. He writes not one single word about drinking habits, what was available, and what changed in beverages offered in eating establishments over the period he covers. As I read, I simply got more and more angry at how narrow and pretentious this book is. The best part are his copious citations and bibliography, which someone with more imagination and a better grasp of food history may use to write some thing both informative, non-dogmatic, and genuinely enticing to read and learn from. Sheer annoyance propelled me to the end of this, and I doubt I'll pick it up again anytime soon except perhaps to note his sources, from which Haley made a real hash.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a very insightful and well-researched examination of the rise of the restaurant in America. Haley does a great job of showing the reader how the American restaurant was not just a product of economics and time constraint. The way the American restaurant formed had a lot to do with racial, ethnic, and cultural perceptions as well.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. M. Matthews on November 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An interesting book. Explained the "tow-tier" system of eating out. The 'aristocrats' and the ordinary people having different types of restaurants and foods. I do think that Mr. Haley belabored the point though in going into extreme detail to make his points known. It was the same for other topics such as waiters and the system of tipping. A little less detail would make this book more interesting to me. It would probably be shorter also.
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