A Square Meal: A Culinary History of the Great Depression
James Beard Foundation Book Award Winner
From the author of the acclaimed 97 Orchard and her husband, a culinary historian, an in-depth exploration of the greatest food crisis the nation has ever faced—the Great Depression—and how it transformed America’s culinary culture.
The decade-long Great Depression, a period of shifts in the country’s political and social landscape, forever changed the wayculture.The ...more
I was not disappointed. A Square Meal chronicles American diets in the early 20th century, tells the history of hoboes in America (and the important differences between hoboes and tramps and bums), touches on the popularization of canned and frozen foods, ...more
This is not a bad book, but it is not a good book. After being a little all over the place, it ends very abruptly. Does not sufficiently discuss the history of the food theories that lead to the Depression menus and comes off as very surface-level. Though the writing was engaging enough, I could not shake the feeling that this book was using the 1930s to comment on today more than anything else.
I went into this seeking a culinary ta ...more
"Food, like language, is always in motion, propelled by the same events that fill our history books" (189).
This work of non-fiction covers the culinary habits of a nation in the wake of World War I and through the Great Depression. Before the depression, America had an abundance of food, although rural and urban areas had very different habits concerning meals. Yet the economic downturn left many malnourished and starving. Fo ...more
As a mix of recipes, songs, photos, oral history, scholarship, science, nutrition, and American history, it is totally fascinating.
After the Depression hits, we learn about programs that formed before, and as part of, the New Deal, like the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA), the school lunch program, and the Food Stamp Plan, as well as the beginning of industry and consumer culture, as the Good Housekeeping Seal of Ap ...more
This book doesn't only explore what kind of food pe ...more
What this book really is is a history of American cuisine from World War I through the Great Depression, as well as a look at the attitudes of Amer ...more
If anyone needed a historical reason for not donating to the American Red Cross this week, this book will give you plenty. And hopefully make you re-think everything you thought you knew about the Roosevelt administration. But you probably already knew what a loser Hoover wa ...more
It's really not until the scope of the era is right up in your face that you KNOW know. For those of you not fortunate enough to have had parents/grandparents around from the Greatest Generation/Silent Generation, Ziegelman's book is the remedy, providing a comprehensive guide that covers subjects ranging from "public policy to hobo lore" (ix).
In fact, the relationship between policy and actual life is scarier than you imagine. The H ...more
'A Square Meal' purported to look at the eating habits of people in the US and how they especially changed by the Great Depression. How the economics changed, how people ha ...more
“A Square Meal: a culinary history of the Great Depression,” by Jane Ziegelman and Andrew Coe (Harper, 2016). It is more than that. Because the authors need to create the context in which to understand the Depression, they have to describe the history of food in the US, at least from the Civil War era onward. Farm women’s main occupation was preparing the daily meals. Most of the US was rural and farmland, and the great majority of people ate what they produced. Farm meals tended to be huge, bec ...more
When I think of the Depression, I often envision so-called "bread lines" and the hard times of The Grapes of Wrath, but the idea of this book intrigued me - how did this period of extreme want affect the food and eating culture of my country?
Turns out, it affected it a lot. This book is really two major things: the progression and preparation of the food itself, what it consisted of, how people made do with very limited ingredient choices, how was food preserved ...more
This is a fairly well written and researched approach to Depression history. People carry their history in their food and as attitudes change so do recipes. This book addresses a particularly evolutionary time in American history through this lens. I'm looking forward to more along this line.
Her writing on food has appeared in numerous publications. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.