Eating in Eden: Food and American Utopias

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Etta M. Madden, Martha L. Finch
U of Nebraska Press, 2006 - Cooking - 291 pages
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Perennially viewed as both a utopian land of abundant resources and a fallen nation of consummate consumers, North America has provided a fertile setting for the development of distinctive foodways reflecting the diverse visions of life in the United States. Immigrants, from colonial English Puritans and Spanish Catholics to mid-twentieth-century European Jews and contemporary Indian Hindus, have generated innovative foodways in creating ?new world? religious and ethnic identities. The Shakers, the Oneida Perfectionists, and the Amana Colony, as well as 1970s counter-cultural groups, developed food practices that distinguished communal members from outsiders, but they also marketed their food to nonmembers through festivals, restaurants, and cookbooks. Other groups?from elite male dining clubs in Revolutionary America and female college students in the late 1800s, to members of food co-ops; vegetarian Jews and Buddhists; and ?foodies? who watched TV cooking shows?have used food strategically to promote their ideals of gender, social class, nonviolence, environmentalism, or taste in the hope of transforming national or global society.

This theoretically informed, interdisciplinary collection of thirteen essays broadens familiar definitions of utopianism and community to explore the ways Americans have produced, consumed, avoided, and marketed food and food-related products and meanings to further their visionary ideals.


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New World Utopias Cultivating Immigrant Identities through Food
Fasts and Thanksgivingsin Early New England
2 Faith Flatulence and Fandangos in the SpanishAmerican Borderlands
Philip Roths Antipastorals
Negotiating Hindu Utopias in Atlanta
Communal Utopias Eating In but Not Of the World
Debates over Meatless Diets in NineteenthCentury Shaker Communities
Utopianism and Alternative Eating in Vegetarian NaturalFoods Cookbooks 197084
Strategic Utopias Cooking Up Values for a New World
The Ideals and Realities of Republican Virtue in EighteenthCentury America
The Evolution and Meaning of the Spread at Northern Womens Colleges 18701910
Food Class and Radicalism in the Minneapolis Coop Wars of the 1970s
Food as World Transformer in Contemporary American Buddhism and Judaism
PBS Television Cooking Shows and Sensorial Utopias

Food Sex and Gender at the Oneida Community
7 Food and Social Relations in Communal and Capitalist Amana

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About the author (2006)

Etta M. Madden is a professor of English at Missouri State University and the author of Bodies of Life: Shaker Literature and Literacies. Martha L. Finch is an assistant professor of religious studies at Missouri State University.

The contributors to this volume include Jonathan G. Andelson, Priscilla J. Brewer, Wendy E. Chmielewski, Trudy Eden, Martha L. Finch, Etta M. Madden, Monica Mak, Kathryn McClymond, Maria McGrath, Ellen Posman, Margaret Puskar-Pasewicz, Mary Rizzo, Phillip H. Round, and Debra Shostak.

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