Eating in Eden: Food and American Utopias (At Table) by Etta M. Madden, Martha L. Finch

By Etta M. Madden, Martha L. Finch

Perennially considered as either a utopian land of ample assets and a fallen country of consummate shoppers, North the USA has supplied a fertile surroundings for the advance of targeted foodways reflecting the varied visions of lifestyles within the usa. Immigrants, from colonial English Puritans and Spanish Catholics to mid-twentieth-century eu Jews and modern Indian Hindus, have generated leading edge foodways in developing “new international” non secular and ethnic identities. The Shakers, the Oneida Perfectionists, and the Amana Colony, in addition to Seventies counter-cultural teams, constructed foodstuff practices that special communal contributors from outsiders, yet in addition they advertised their foodstuff to nonmembers via fairs, eating places, and cookbooks. different groups—from elite male eating golf equipment in innovative the USA and feminine students within the past due 1800s, to individuals of foodstuff co-ops; vegetarian Jews and Buddhists; and “foodies” who watched television cooking shows—have used meals strategically to advertise their beliefs of gender, social type, nonviolence, environmentalism, or flavor within the desire of reworking nationwide or worldwide society.This theoretically educated, interdisciplinary choice of 13 essays broadens ordinary definitions of utopianism and group to discover the methods american citizens have produced, ate up, refrained from, and advertised meals and food-related items and meanings to extra their visionary beliefs.

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Carlo Petrini, Slow Food: The Case for Taste, trans. William McCuaig (New York: Columbia University Press, 2001), 4. 2. Many scholars, journalists, and others have discussed the “McDonaldization” phenomenon. , McDonaldization: The Reader, 4th ed. (Thousand Oaks ca: Pine Forge Press, 2004); David Bell and Gill Valentine, Consuming Geographies: We Are Where We Eat (London: Routledge, 1997); and Elspeth Probyn, “Feeding McWorld, Eating Madden and Finch 25 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 r 5 Ideologies,” in Probyn, Carnal Appetites: FoodSexIdentities (New York: Routledge, 2000), 33–57.

5 Moreover, the communal avoidance of food on fast days contributed to community building. Like enjoying the pleasures of a thanksgiving feast with family and friends, suffering with others the discomforts of food deprivation also produced intense feelings of social bonding. 6 Devout New Englanders’ food practices displayed to themselves and others meanings about their individual and group identities, such as a member’s social status and the community’s belief they had been chosen by God for a special purpose in New England—meanings that changed over time.

Additionally, a fast entailed four other self-denying activities: limiting one’s sleep in order to pray; not wearing “costly apparell . . ”10 Nevertheless, in denying themselves the pleasurable fulfillment of natural desires for food, sleep, fine clothing, sex, and secular activity, participants understood that they were separating themselves from “the world” and its comforts and purifying themselves of bodily and spiritual sin. Each individual, then, carried responsibility for maintaining the moral and physical integrity of the entire godly community on fast days; in order to purify the church as a whole, each member purified his or her heart, or moral soul, by purifying his or her body.

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