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Science brought a wealth of new possibilities into the food world—now, consumers could have genetically engineered wheat, organic milk, and grass-fed beef. They wondered what each term meant for their health, for animal welfare, and for the environment. And slowly, through beef boycotts and deforestation protests, consumers realized that they could make a difference.

For the first time since the Industrial Revolution, individual consumers felt like they—not the manufacturers—had power.

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Not only could they choose different products and different brands; they could opt out altogether and direct their capital towards a food system they believed in. Many people even started gardens of their own to supplement what they bought. And with that, Vileisis brings us to today. Though modern, affluent Americans can be confident that their food is safe and wholesome, we still have to contend with issues of obesity and climate change.

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Your Message. Serving independent schools and colleges with since Login Search Feed. Articles Share now on:. International Cuisine: Lebanon Previous post. This history gives me the facts--even if they are even more unsettling than I had imagined--with which to encourage people to get back to real food! Cooking from scratch is a good thing, for me, for my friends, for local farmers and creameries and artisan bakeries.

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Reducing or eliminating cow and pig meat from our menus would be a big move toward addressing climate change if each and every one of us made that change. Reducing and preferably eliminating carbon-based fertilizers and pesticides from food production is equally important.


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  3. On Our Shelves: Kitchen Literacy.

This books shows you why, and points to pathways we can take so that we can get back our knowledge about where our foods come from and how we can cook them in our own kitchens. Sep 16, Sharon rated it liked it.

Kitchen Literacy reads almost like a dissertation and has the copious endnotes to complete this presentation of research on the evolution of the American meal from colonial times to the present. Historian Ann Valeisis' goal, as noted in the subtitle, is to explain "how we lost knowledge of where food comes from and why we need to get it back.

Everything eaten Kitchen Literacy reads almost like a dissertation and has the copious endnotes to complete this presentation of research on the evolution of the American meal from colonial times to the present. Everything eaten by Martha's family was produced on their farm or a neighbor's. In the next few decades, industrialization -- particularly the advent of rail -- begins to distance Americans from the source of their food, and the process accelerates in the 20th century as more people move to cities and suburbs.

The author provides much detail, some of which can seem repetitive or distracting and warrants skimming. The last chapter -- the prescription for restoring kitchen literacy -- will not be a newsflash to anyone even marginally acquainted with the work of Alice Waters, Michael Pollan, the Organic Consumers Association, the Slow Food movement, etc.

If the reader needs additional incentive for doing those things, Valeisis provides it with a history of food regulation and consumer protection in the 20th century. Reading about the failures of regulatory apparatuses to protect consumers from harmful substances made me want to keep my foodshed as close to home as possible.

May 06, Melissa rated it it was amazing. I was very happy to read this as part of a 'blind date with a book' offer from the publisher, and I'm so very glad it was in a subject area I'm passionate about. Omitting the current resurgence in urban agriculture, for most city dwellers, knowledge of where food comes from is an abstract concept, at best. Visions of bucolic farms with the requisite chickens, cows and pigs as well as appeals to the 'natural' provenance of the contents, are standard fare in packaged and processed food.

Vileisis h I was very happy to read this as part of a 'blind date with a book' offer from the publisher, and I'm so very glad it was in a subject area I'm passionate about. Vileisis has done her research exceedingly well. Her book easily could have been a Ph. It's very evident in the first couple chapters where she cites source materials, rare diary entries from the late 18th century, regarding the ways in which a wife and mother grew, gathered, rarely purchased, slaughtered, planned and prepared food for her family.

She knew the terroir or her region intimately, and recognized the differences between one valley, one stream, one farm and another. From this point on, knowledge of one's foods' origins becomes increasingly abstracted as food purchasers became progressively reliant on advertising and marketing and the 'advice' of food experts. Whilst the book is weighty in its informational content, it's informationaly dense and would be appropriate for a class on food history and food systems development. Knowledge is power, and Vileisis' book definitely is a must for the dedicated foodie wishing to learn more about how we arrived at the current mess we are in today as we take back control of our food system.

Vilesis takes her readers back to the late 's to show how we as individuals have moved from being intimately familiar with the food we eat - growing, harvesting, tending and slaughtering nearly every foodstuff, to the modern, processed, advertising-driven industry. Along the way we read excerpts from an 18th century farmwife, discuss how sugar became one of the first non-native foodstuffs the average person ate in any quantity discounting spices.

Finding Our Way Back To Food With Author Ann Vileisis | The Garden of Eating

She also explains how canning food required labeling - therefore leading to the advertising industry. Oleomargarine and maraschino cherries are presented as manufactured food and how we now tend to "eat with the eyes" - allowing the visual appearance of food to override the taste and nutrition aspects. This book covers some of the same ground as The Omnivore's Dilemma and the like, but I still found it a worthwhile read and learned some new tidbits along the way.

Sep 10, Kate rated it liked it Shelves: from-the-library , nonfiction-food , books-to-change-your-life , women-authors. Well researched, with lots of endnotes and directions for further reading on the topic. I loved the first few chapters about what it was like procuring food from the colonial to turn-of-theth-century eras; these chapters were not only interesting, but provided a detailed look inside the 19th century kitchen that I haven't seen before in books of this genre.

The remaining chapters covering roughly to the present were well done, but the history of the industrial agriculture complex has a Well researched, with lots of endnotes and directions for further reading on the topic. The remaining chapters covering roughly to the present were well done, but the history of the industrial agriculture complex has already been covered by lots of other books Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us , Food Inc.

Unlike the bright packaging of cereals at the supermarket, Vileisis' treatment of this time period did not jump out at the reader from the sea of others. Jul 07, Shannon rated it liked it Shelves: read-nonfic , read-audio.

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Synthesis of detailed personal records was the most interesting part of this book. We followed a midwife in the s and a butcher in the s, so I'm not sure why this strategy was not maintained throughout the book. Interesting: The theories and issues common in current conversations about foo Synthesis of detailed personal records was the most interesting part of this book.

Love the integrated worldview of the s-era midwife and butcher, contrasted with the essentially dis-integrated philosophies of both industrialists and conservationists. Nov 17, Heather rated it liked it Shelves: non-fiction , food , history. I learned some fascinating history about our relationship to food in the nineteenth century and early twentieth centuries, as well as the relationship of advertising to food, and the processing that has developed over the decades. While I enjoyed the book and its plethora of factoids and examples, I wouldn't necessarily give it high ranking for prose.

We have a complex history with the business of food and grocery, and Vileisis taps into a lot the minutiae of some of America's favorite brands. S I learned some fascinating history about our relationship to food in the nineteenth century and early twentieth centuries, as well as the relationship of advertising to food, and the processing that has developed over the decades.

She does bring your attention to some details that many of us may not realize about the processing of food or we choose to ignore. The bulk of the history is centered in Yankee New England, so perhaps a bit of the cultural history is still missing.

I do recommend history buffs and foodies alike to pop their heads into this book. It's a good jumping off point for a lot of deeper research, and she gives you plenty of places to go given that over a fifth of the pages in this book are dedicated to foot notes and citation. Jun 09, John rated it liked it Shelves: , food-history , american-studies , food.

Kitchen literacy takes the read on a quick tour through over years of American's relation to their food.

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Starting in Colonial times, Ann Vileisis describes how women were accustom to growing and knowing their food sources, a comfort that was hard to break up to the first World War. From the Industrial Revolution up to today the book looks at how manufacturing and advertising were able to convince the country that canned and packaged food was a safer and cheaper alternative to the farmers m Kitchen literacy takes the read on a quick tour through over years of American's relation to their food.

From the Industrial Revolution up to today the book looks at how manufacturing and advertising were able to convince the country that canned and packaged food was a safer and cheaper alternative to the farmers markets and rustic food sources.