Lecture 2: Brief History of American Food Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Lecture 2: Brief History of American Food Deck (43):

How do we define food?

Any substance that animals eat or drink in order to produce energy, maintain life, and promote growth
-carbs, fats, proteins, essential vitamins and minerals


What is the difference in food acquisition historically vs. today?

-Before: food secured through hunting and gathering and/or agriculture
-Today: most of the food energy consumed by the world is supplied by the food industry (produced, manufactured)


How does food go beyond mere subsistence?

-Defines shared identities and embodies religious and group traditions
-Serves as a class marker
-A powerful element in celebrations and can bring people together
-Evokes memories


Pre-agricultural times

-Caveman cuisine
-Main concern was survival (just getting enough)
-Hunger/gather cultures = dependent on game they could kill and plants they could find
-Nutritional deficiencies --> short life span (30 yrs)


Agricultural times

-10,000 BC: agriculture developed --> planned sowing and harvesting of plants, domestication of crop plants --> enabled stationary lifestyle
-Neolithic cuisine = fermentation, drying, heating with water, preserving with salt, sugar



-A metabolic process that converts sugar into acids, gases and/or alcohol
-Used to make liquids drinkable and safe


Yeast, bacteria, and fermentation

-Yeast,bacteria, and some molds obtain energy through fermentation
-Yeasts and bacteria produce lactic acid (sour) and creates an environment where bad bacteria can't grow
-Used to make alcoholic beverages such as wine (fruit) and beer (grain)


In medieval times, how did your social class dictate your diet?

Upper class = high in protein; low in vitamins A, C, D --> scurvy
-fowl, beef, lamb, pork, fish, milled grains, cheese, butter, cooked fruit, nuts, spices
Peasants = low in calories, but healthy
-breads made from barley and rye (horse breads)
-peas, beans, onions, cabbage, nuts, berries, leeks, parsley, grains
-meat scarce (bacon, salt pork)
-ale (fermented from barley), mead (fermented honey)



A thick soup that contained meat, vegetables, and bran that was continuously cooked in large cast iron pots
-common medieval food consumed by both upper and lower class
-usually served on bread
-pot rarely came off hearth to be cleaned
-wooden/bone spoon dipped into cooking pot to eat --> first manners about eating determined who could dip into pot


Early European table

-Table = boards laid across trestles and covered with cloth
-No individual plates used --> food served and shared on large platters and trenchers
-Trenchers = thick, dense edible bread plates (given to poor after meals)
-No forks or spoons --> personal knives and fingers used


Table manners

-Rules of etiquette on how to eat
-Cultural, regional, class differences


Firsts book on table manners

-"On Civility in Children" - Desiderius Erasmus (Dutch)


History of the fork

-Originated in Greece (two tined, used to carve meat)
-Brought to Italy by a Greek princess in 11th century --> adopted widely across Italy in 16th century
-Brought to France in 1533 by Catherine de Medici
-1088: Thomas Coryate brought the first forks to England after seeing them in Italy during his travels
-Mid 1600s: eating with forks considered fashionable among wealthy British (marker of social status and sophistication)
-France developed forks with 4 curved tines to keep food from falling off
-Spread through Germany, England, America



Developed 5000 years ago in China
-Hasty eaters broke twigs off trees to retrieve food from large pots that retained heat well

400 BCE: large pop and dwindling resources in China forced people to conserve fuel
-Food chopped into small pieces --> cooked more rapidly and no need for knives


King Louis XIV and utensils

-1699: ordered that all table knives have rounded edges to make eating less dangerous
-First person in Europe to offer guests a place setting with a fork, knife, and spoon


Describe the Europeans colonization of America in relation to their food consumption and survival.

-Europeans colonized a land that already had native food cultures and traditions
-Clung to their European tastes and food conventions
-Inability to adapt killed many of the early settlers
-For 2 centuries, English food traditions dominated in America
-Late 1700s: American realization that there was a need to adapt in order to survive
-Learned from Native Americans to adapt their diets and eat unfamiliar items (beans, corn, squash, berries, fish, deer, rabbits, turkeys)


Typical colonial meals

-Breakfast = cider or beer with a bowl of porridge
-Dinner = stews, breads, cold meets, roots, pickles, vinegar, salt and cheese
-Supper = dinner leftovers, pottages, gruel


Beverage of choice for colonials in America



Luxuries for colonials in America

Butter, spices, sugar, sweetmeats, coffee, tea, chocolate


What were the 4 major early American food traditions?

-New England Tradition
-Southern Tradition
-Middle Atlantic Tradition
-Frontier/Backcountry Tradition


New England Tradition

-New England = extensive sea coasts
-Settled by Puritans (stubborn in their ways)
-Diet stressed boiled/baked meats and seafood, boiled veggies, baked breads and pies
-Didn't cook on Sundays (Sabbath)


Southern Tradition

-Mix of Native American, African, English, French, Spanish, Indian foodways
-Uses basic, inexpensive ingredients and simple, direct seasonings and spices
-Staples = oysters, shrimp, crab, fish, fowl/game, corn, sweet potatoes, beans, peas, pumpkins, okra, rice
-Emphasizes slow cooking, frying, simmering
-Uses lots of spices unlike New England and Middle Atlantic Traditions
-Ex) Cajun food (gumbo, jambalaya)


Middle Atlantic Tradition

-Strongly influenced by the Quakers (simple living)
-Diet reflects traditions of frugality and economy
-Emphasized boiling (boiled puddings, dumplings, porridges)


Frontier/Backcountry Western Tradition

-Earliest concept of fast foods (stressed griddle cakes, quick breads, grits, greens, wild game, fish, and whatever else was available)
-Diet included many ingredients that the English considered animal feed (potatoes, corn, greens)
-Native American and Mexican influence


Nicoles Appert

Invented canning in 1810


Canning and mass production

-Late 1800s: food began to be mass produced, marketed, and standardized
-Factories processed, preserved, canned and packaged a wide variety of foods to make them portable and increase shelf life


Refrigerated transportation

-1878: Gustav Swift commissioned engineer Andrew Chase to design a refrigerated railroad car
-Wanted to transport meat and fruit
-Meat packing industry born in Chicago
-Allowed fruit to be shipped long distances (most was grown in CA and FL)


Industrialization of Meat Processing

-Gustavus Swift: organized large-scale slaughter and processing of cattle in the Midwest (Chicago) and shipping products to East Coast
-Mechanized the meat packing business
-Ushered in the "era of cheap beef"
-Pioneered the use of animal by products for the manufacture of soap, glue, fertilizer, etc. (didn't want to waste any part of the animal)


Upton Sinclair

-1906: "The Jungle" (meat packing industry)
-Led to the passage of the Federal Food and Drugs Act and the creation of the FDA


Automat NY

-Cafeteria with prepared foods behind glass windows
-Establishment of the earliest chain of cafeterias and lunch counters


White Castle

-1921 (relatively soon after "The Jungle")
-People were unease about the meat packing industry
-"White" supposed to evoke cleanliness and food safety
-First fast food chain
-"Less work for mother"
-Pioneered the use of franchising


Clarence Birdseye

1924: Invented a system of packing fresh food into waxed cardboard boxes and quick-freezing under high pressure


Frozen foods

-Before quick freezing, foods were frozen at a fairly slow rate which causes large ice crystals to form
-Ice crystals rupture the cell membranes of foods and leak out the food's flavor and texture


Health Food Movement

-Around this time the choice of foods often took on moral overtones
-Vegetarianism, avoidance of spice/condiments, crusaders of temperance


Sylvester Graham

-Presbyterian minister who preached the virtues of a vegetarian lifestyle as a way to salvation (aid in suppressing carnal urges like lust)
-Grahamites = his following
-Developed graham flour and made graham crackers as a way to help people combat lust/desire


James Caleb Jackson

-First person to manufacture and market the first health food in America (Granula)
-Granula = breakfast cereal made by baking Graham flour and water
-Founded Our Home on the Hillside Sanitarium in NY (one of the largest spas in the world)


Sister Ellen White

-Preached against the consumption of meat, alcohol, tobacco, spices
-1866: opened the Western Health Reform Institute in Battle Creek


John Harvey Kellogg

-Staff physician of Battle Creek Sanitarium (obsessed with the bowels)
-Advocate of vegetarianism and exercise
-Used radiation therapy for cancer patients
-Invented the flaked cereal (corn flakes)
-Developed a biscuit made of oats, wheat, and corn meal that he called Granola --> sued by Caleb Jackson for infringement of his brand name Granula


Élie Metchnicoff

-Claimed Bulgarians were the longest-lived Europeans because they ate a lot of yogurt
-Studied bacteria in yogurt


Temperance Movement and alcohol

-Advocated habitual moderation in the indulgence of a natural appetite or passion
-Largely fueled by women who endured the effects of unbridled drinking of many of their men
-18th amendment banned sale and consumption of alcohol in the U.S., but 21st amendment repealed that later


Carry A. Nation

-Famous for carrying a hatchet and a bible
-Preached against alcohol


Henry Perky

-Advocated whole wheat as a healthy food
-Invented a wheat shredder in Denver, Colorado
-Started National Biscuit Company (Nabisco) and marketed shredded wheat
-First to mass produce and nationally distribute a ready-to-eat cereal


Charles W. Post

-Unsuccessfully treated at The Sans for 9 months --> opened a competing mental health clinic in Battle Creek
-Sold powdered molasses and bran as a coffee substitute called Postum
-Crumbled baked wheat and sold the crumbs as Grape Nuts