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Short Synopsis
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.

Full Synopsis
The decade-long Great Depression, a period of shifts in the country's political and social landscape, forever changed the way America eats. Before 1929, America's relationship with food was defined by abundance. But the collapse of the economy, in both urban and rural America, left a quarter of all Americans out of work and undernourished—shattering long-held assumptions about the limitlessness of the national larder.

In 1933, as women struggled to feed their families, President Roosevelt reversed long-standing biases toward government-sponsored "food charity." For the first time in American history, the federal government assumed, for a while, responsibility for feeding its citizens. The effects were widespread. Championed by Eleanor Roosevelt, "home economists" who had long fought to bring science into the kitchen rose to national stature. Through the Bureau of Home Economics, these women led a sweeping campaign to instill dietary recommendations, the forerunners of today's Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

At the same time, expanding conglomerates introduced packaged and processed foods, which led to a new American cuisine based on speed and convenience. This movement toward a homogenized national diet sparked a revival of American regional cooking that continues to this day.

"A highly readable, illuminating look at the many ramifications of feeding the hungry in hard times." ---Kirkus

"Coe and Ziegelman have written an engaging social history illustrated throughout with historically authentic recipes." ---Publishers Weekly

"This thought-provoking work concerning the most important commodity during America's greatest economic crises will have wide appeal." ---Library Journal

"Narrator Susan Ericksen's clear diction and subtle level of drama add spark to this history of the American diet between the two World Wars." ---AudioFile

A Square Meal

A Culinary History of the Great Depression

Author Jane Ziegelman, Andrew Coe

Narrated by Susan Ericksen

Publication date Dec 20, 2016

Running time 11 hrs

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