American Food by the Decades

By Cassidy, Brian E. | Reference & User Services Quarterly, Fall 2012 | Go to article overview

American Food by the Decades


Cassidy, Brian E., Reference & User Services Quarterly


American Food by the Decades. Ed. by Sherri Liberman. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Greenwood, 2011. 250 pages. Acid free $85 (ISBN 978-0-313-37698-6). EBook available (9780-313-37699-3), call for pricing.

For as long as human culture and society have existed humans have had an interest, if not an obsession, with the food they eat. Whether it was the star chefs of the kitchens of the elite in Ancient Rome or the gourmands and foodies of the last century one can see that people love their food. As such, food is not just to keep our bodies living but it is for social and spiritual nourishment as well.

Sherri Liberman's work, American Food by the Decades, covers the food related trends, brands, companies, technology, and celebrities of the United States in the 20th Century. The author states "what we consume says volumes about who we are as a people and nation" (vii). With this statement in mind Liberman takes us on a splendid, well researched tour of who we were and are. The book is compact at 250 pages, but succeeds in fulfilling the author's purpose in an easy to read and understand format.

The chapters of the book cover each decade of the twentieth century. Each chapter begins with a several page long introduction to the decade covering historical, cultural, and, of course, food trends. Following this is an alphabetical listing of entries of the important foods, brands, companies, technology, and notable people of each decade. …

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