What does the Erie Canal have to do with Wonderbread? Which American war gave us condensed soup? Why did American farmers turn away from organic farming in the first place? Andrew Smith’s presentation reveals thirty turning points that converted the American food system from one that was local, organic, and home-made toward one that is global, processed, and factory-made. It’s an action-packed presentation, filled with home economists and fancy restaurateurs, family farmers and corporate giants, street vendors and captains of industry, mom-and-pop grocers and massive food conglomerates, burger barons and vegetarians, the hungry and the affluent, hard-hitting advertisers and health food advocates—all contributors to the contentious American foodscape of the 21st century.
Andrew F. Smith is a frequent speaker for the Culinary Historians of Chicago, and teaches food studies at the New School University in Manhattan. He has written more than three hundred articles in academic journals and popular magazines and has authored or edited seventeen books, including The Oxford Encyclopedia on Food and Drink in America, a James Beard finalist in 2005. His latest books are Hamburger: A Global History and Eating History: Thirty Turning Points in the Making of American Cuisine.
Recorded Saturday, October 17, 2009 at Lexington College.