White Bread A Social History of the Store-Bought Loaf

ISBN-10: 0807044784
ISBN-13: 9780807044780
Edition: N/A
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Description: How did white bread, once an icon of American progress, become “white trash”? In this lively history of bakers, dietary crusaders, and social reformers, Aaron Bobrow-Strain shows us that what we think about the humble, puffy loaf says a lot about  More...

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Book details

List price: $21.00
Publisher: Beacon Press
Publication date: 1/22/2013
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 272
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.166
Language: English

How did white bread, once an icon of American progress, become “white trash”? In this lively history of bakers, dietary crusaders, and social reformers, Aaron Bobrow-Strain shows us that what we think about the humble, puffy loaf says a lot about who we are and what we want our society to look like. White Breadteaches us that when Americans debate what one should eat, they are also wrestling with larger questions of race, class, immigration, and gender. As Bobrow-Strain traces the story of bread, from the first factory loaf to the latest gourmetpain au levain,he shows how efforts to champion “good food” reflect dreams of a better society—even as they reinforce stark social hierarchies. In the early twentieth century, the factory-baked loaf heralded a bright new future, a world away from the hot, dusty, “dirty” bakeries run by immigrants. Fortified with vitamins, this bread was considered the original “superfood” and even marketed as patriotic—while food reformers painted white bread as a symbol of all that was wrong with America. The history of America’s one-hundred-year-long love-hate relationship with white bread reveals a lot about contemporary efforts to change the way we eat. Today, the alternative food movement favors foods deemed ethical and environmentally correct to eat, and fluffy industrial loaves are about as far from slow, local, and organic as you can get. Still, the beliefs of early twentieth-century food experts and diet gurus, that getting people to eat a certain food could restore the nation’s decaying physical, moral, and social fabric, will sound surprisingly familiar. Given that open disdain for “unhealthy” eaters and discrimination on the basis of eating habits grow increasingly acceptable,White Breadis a timely and important examination of what we talk about when we talk about food.From the Hardcover edition.

Preface
Introduction: Bread and Power
Untouched by Human Hands: Dreams of Purity and Contagion
The Invention of Sliced Bread: Dreams of Control and Abundance
The Staff of Death: Dreams of Health and Discipline
Vitamin Bread Boot Camp: Dreams of Strength and Defense
White Bread Imperialism: Dreams of Peace and Security
How White Bread Became White Trash: Dreams of Resistance and Status
Conclusion: Beyond Good Bread
Acknowledgments
Notes
Index

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