Fashionable Food: Seven Decades of Food Fads

Front Cover
University of Chicago Press, 2005 - Cooking - 455 pages
Though the Roaring Twenties call to mind images of flappers dancing the Charleston and gangsters dispensing moonshine in back rooms, Sylvia Lovegren here playfully reminds us what these characters ate for dinner: Banana and Popcorn Salad. Like fashions and fads, food—even bad food—has a history, and Lovegren's Fashionable Food is quite literally a cookbook of the American past.

Well researched and delightfully illustrated, this collection of faddish recipes from the 1920s to the 1990s is a decade-by-decade tour of a hungry American century. From the Three P's Salad—that's peas, pickles, and peanuts—of the post-World War I era to the Fruit Cocktail and Spam Buffet Party loaf—all the rage in the ultra-modern 1950s, when cooking from a can epitomized culinary sophistication—Fashionable Food details the origins of these curious delicacies. In two chapters devoted to "exotic foods of the East," for example, Lovegren explores the long American love affair with Chinese food and the social status conferred upon anyone chic enough to eat pu-pu platters from Polynesia. Throughout, Lovegren supplements recipes—some mouth-watering, some appalling—from classic cookbooks and family magazines, with humorous anecdotes that chronicle how society and kitchen technology influenced the way we lived and how we ate.

Equal parts American and culinary history, Fashionable Food examines our collective past from the kitchen counter. Even if it's been a while since you last had Tang Pie and your fondue set is collecting dust in the back of the cupboard, Fashionable Food will inspire, entertain, and inform.

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - pennsylady - LibraryThing

When I wanted to be entertained and learn a bit about American culinary history, Fashionable Food: Seven Decades of Food Fads (1995) was suggested Beginning in the 1920s, the reader observes the food ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Meisje - LibraryThing

A great review of cultural and technological development in the US from the 1920's to the '90's and how this has been reflected in popular foods. Also recipes! Read full review


The Thirties
Chinese Food in America
The Forties I
Fabulous Foods for the Richest Country on Earth
Nouveaux Gourmets
An Exotic Interlude II 268
The Seventies 300
Status Food and Comfort Food
l0 The Nineties

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2005)

A culinary historian and food writer, Sylvia Lovegren is an avid collector and reader of old cookbooks and has contributed to American Heritage and the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America.

Bibliographic information