Before 1929, America's relationship with food was defined by abundance. But the collapse of the economy and subsequent Great Depression left a quarter of all Americans out of work and undernourished, shattering long-held assumptions about the limitlessness of the national larder. Long-standing biases against the role of government were reversed, and for the first time in American history, the state assumed responsibility for feeding its citizens. Championed by Eleanor Roosevelt, home economists who had long fought to bring science into the kitchen rose to national stature. Tapping into America's ambivalence toward culinary enjoyment, they imposed their vision of a sturdy, utilitarian cuisine on the American dinner table.
Jane Ziegelman and Andrew Coe explore the intersection of food, politics, and culture during this period of seismic shifts in the country's political and social landscape. They are the authors of A Square Meal: A Culinary History of the Great Depression, a book that The New York Times called an "engaging and often moving cultural history."
Jane Ziegelman is the author of 97 Orchard, An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement and has written for the New York Times and contributed to Savoring Gotham: A Food Lover's Companion to New York City.
Andrew Coe is the author of Chop Suey: A Cultural History of Chinese Food in the United States. A food writer and culinary historian, he has written for Gastronomica, Saveur, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal, and he is a contributor to the Oxford Enyclopedia of Food and Drink in America.
A reception with samplings of 1930s-era recipes will precede the lecture.
Date and Time
NYU Department of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health
411 Lafayette St., 5th Fl. (between West 4th and Astor Place)
New York, NY 10003