Hungry for History: Articles and Exhibits on the History of Food
The history of food offers a window into past cultural preferences, government control, and food production changes over time. Today we take a quick look at an upcoming exhibit from the National Archives and link to a few other history of food resources.
National Archives: “What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?”
The National Archives’ “What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?” exhibit will go on view from June 10, 2011 through January 3, 2012, and will examine the U.S. “government’s effect on the American diet” from the Revolutionary War through the Cold War. It will delve into “the production, regulation, research, innovation, and economics of our food supply” and even how the government has tried to influence “the eating habits of Americans.” Learn more in their press release.
In preparation for the exhibit, the National Archives has created a Flickr set of food-related documents and images. Within it you’ll find things like a food group chart from the 1940s (which gave butter its own group and suggested you eat some every day), a recipe for New England fish chowder from John F. Kennedy’s presidential papers, and a mug shot of John L. McMonigle who violated the Oleomargarine Act of August 2, 1886.
Find other history of food resources online, like:
- White House Cookbook
Google Books offers access to some historic cookbooks, like the complete 1887 White House Cookbook, which offers all sorts of menus for holidays (Christmas, New Years Eve, Washington’s Birthday), each month, wedding lunches, dinners of over 1,000, as well as interesting recipes like “walnut ketchup.”
Find WWI propaganda posters about food profiled at the Serious Eats blog and at this online exhibit.
Sarah Lohman regularly prepares historic recipes and documents them on her “historic gastronomy” blog Four Pounds Flour.
- American Historical Review
The AHR has featured numerous articles on food in the past, including two in the June 2010 issue (“‘A continuall and dayly Table for Gentlemen of fashion’: Humanism, Food, and Authority at Jamestown, 1607–1609” by Michael A. LaCombe and “‘If You Eat Their Food . . .’: Diets and Bodies in Early Colonial Spanish America” by Rebecca Earle) and “The Foreign Policy of the Calorie” by Nick Cullather in April 2007 issue. Readers may also be interested in the fascinating set of articles in the April 2011 issue of the AHR, which focus on the senses, without which, of course, food cannot fully yield its pleasures.
This post first appeared on AHA Today.
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