Savory Suppers and Fashionable Feasts: Dining in Victorian America

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9780394545714: Savory Suppers and Fashionable Feasts: Dining in Victorian America

Savory Suppers and Fashionable Feasts offers a delightfully flavorful tour of dining in America during the second half of the nineteenth century. Susan Williams investigates the manners and morals of that era by looking at its eating customs and cooking methods. As she reveals, genteel dining became an increasingly important means of achieving social stability during a period when Americans were facing significant changes on a variety of fronts - social, cultural, intellectual, technological, and demographic. Focusing on the rapidly expanding middle class, Williams not only examines mealtime rituals, but she looks at the material culture of Victorian dining: the furniture, the furnishings, and the growing array of accouterments - from asparagus tongs to sardine servers and lace doilies - that supported genteel expectations for tableside behavior. She also explores changing ideas about meals - how they fit into the daily schedule and what kinds of food and drink came to characterize specific meals and menus. Complementing Williams's analysis and descriptions is a lavish array of illustrations, as well as a rich sampling of recipes from the diaries and cookbooks of the era. The result is at once an informative look at life in Victorian America and a sumptuous celebration of a key moment in the country's culinary experience.

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About the Author:

Susan H. Williams is the Walter W. Foskett Professor of Law at Indiana University School of Law-Bloomington.

From Library Journal:

This lively and informative volume gives a good general picture of the eat ing patterns of the middle and upper classes in late 19th-century America. Separate chapters are devoted to "The Victorian Middle Class," "Etiquette of the Table," "Dining Rooms and Their Furnishings," and "Fashions in Food and Drink." The book concludes with a discussion of typical menus and a selec tion of period recipes. The final copy apparently will contain numerous black-and-white photographs and line drawings, although this reviewer has not seen them. With its many choice quotations and entertaining anecdotes, this well-written book should appeal to a wide audience. Highly recommend ed. Joyce S. Toomre, Russian Re search Ctr., Harvard Univ.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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