"Grudge-stained Middle-class Tip": Class Warfare and Consumer Democracy in the Early Twentieth Century

Saturday, January 7, 2012 @ 4:00am

Event Info

Admission

$3; free to Kendall students and faculty with ID

Venue

Kendall College

900 N. North Branch Street

Chicago, 

IL 

60622

Presenter

Culinary Historians of Chicago
847-432-8255

This event will be recorded for WBEZ’s Chicago Amplified.

In first decades of the twentieth century, no issue inspired more acrimonious discussions and heated editorials than tipping. The American middle classes, eager to participate in the burgeoning restaurant culture of American cities, resented paying gratuities. Concerned that their social betters were buying the best service with exorbitant tips, worried that the cost of tipping might soon surpass the cost of dinner, and fearful that under-tipped waiters would spit in the their soup, middle class activists set out—with considerable enthusiasm—to end the “tipping evil.” Despite legislative victories and imaginative technological solutions, the struggle against tipping was not altogether successful; nonetheless, it demonstrates the degree to which the middle class believed in the ideal of a consumer’s democracy.

Andrew P. Haley is an associate professor of American cultural history at the University of Southern Mississippi where he studies class, culture, and cuisine from the late nineteenth century through the mid-twentieth century. His first book, Turning the Tables: American Restaurant Culture and the Rise of the Middle Class, 1880-1920, was published by University of North Carolina Press in May 2011, and he is currently working on a second book on food, Dining in High Chairs, that examines children and eating, both in public and in private.

This program is hosted by the Chicago Foodways Roundtable. To reserve tickets, please call 847-432-8255, then leave your name, telephone number, and how many people in your party. You may also email this information to chicago.foodways.roundtable@gmail.com.