Drinking History: Fifteen Turning Points in the Making of American Beverages

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Columbia University Press, Dec 4, 2012 - Cooking - 352 pages

A companion to Andrew F. Smith's critically acclaimed and popular Eating History: Thirty Turning Points in the Making of American Cuisine, this volume recounts the individuals, ingredients, corporations, controversies, and myriad events responsible for America's diverse and complex beverage scene. Smith revisits the country's major historical moments—colonization, the American Revolution, the Whiskey Rebellion, the temperance movement, Prohibition, and its repeal—and he tracks the growth of the American beverage industry throughout the world. The result is an intoxicating encounter with an often overlooked aspect of American culture and global influence.

Americans have invented, adopted, modified, and commercialized tens of thousands of beverages—whether alcoholic or nonalcoholic, carbonated or caffeinated, warm or frozen, watery or thick, spicy or sweet. These include uncommon cocktails, varieties of coffee and milk, and such iconic creations as Welch's Grape Juice, Coca-Cola, root beer, and Kool-Aid. Involved in their creation and promotion were entrepreneurs and environmentalists, bartenders and bottlers, politicians and lobbyists, organized and unorganized criminals, teetotalers and drunks, German and Italian immigrants, savvy advertisers and gullible consumers, prohibitionists and medical professionals, and everyday Americans in love with their brew.

Smith weaves a wild history full of surprising stories and explanations for such classic slogans as "taxation with and without representation;" "the lips that touch wine will never touch mine;" and "rum, Romanism, and rebellion." He reintroduces readers to Samuel Adams, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and the colorful John Chapman (Johnny Appleseed), and he rediscovers America's vast literary and cultural engagement with beverages and their relationship to politics, identity, and health.


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1 Colonial Diversity
2 An Essential Ingredient in American Independence
3 Tea Parties
4 Tarantula Juice
5 Ciders Last Hurrah
10 The Temperance Beverage
11 To Root Out a Bad Habit
12 Youth Beverages
13 Judgment of Paris
14 The Only Proper Drink for Man
15 The Cofee Experience

6 The Most Popular Drink of the Day
7 Natures Perfect Food
8 The Most Delightful and Insinuating Potations
9 Unfermented Wine
Perspectives on Culinary History

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About the author (2012)

Andrew F. Smith teaches food history at the New School in New York. He is the author or editor of twenty-six books, including Eating History: Thirty Turning Points in the Making of American Cuisine. He has a website, www.andrewfsmith.com.

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