American Cuisine and How It Got This Way
For decades, skeptical foreigners, even many Americans themselves, have doubted the existence of American cuisine, believing that hamburgers, hot dogs, and pizza define the nation’s palate. Not so, says leading food historian Paul Freedman, whose book chronicles American culinary habits from the early days of the new republic to the present. Showing how regional dishes like New England clam chowder and Louisiana gumbo yielded to powdered milk, ketchup, and packaged baloney, Freedman traces the twentieth-century rise of processed food, standardization, and fast-food restaurants. With the recent farm-to-table movement, a culinary revolution, however, has now transformed the way Americans eat. Whether analyzing how corporations and advertisers used seduction and guilt to dictate women’s food-shopping habits, exploring how class has always determined what Americans eat, or documenting the countless contributions provided by a never- ending stream of immigrants who have actually created America’s unique cuisine, Freedman has written a landmark work revealing an astonishing history most of us thought we never had.
Ten Restaurants That Changed America
Combining a historian’s rigor with a foodie ’s palate, Ten Restaurants That Changed America reveals how the history of our restaurants reflects nothing less than the history of America itself. Whether charting the rise of our love affair with Chinese food through San Francisco’s fabled The Mandarin, evoking the richness of Italian food through Mamma Leone’s, or chronicling the rise and fall of French haute cuisine through Henri Soulé’s Le Pavillon, food historian Paul Freedman uses each restaurant to tell a wider story of race and class, immigration and assimilation. Freedman also treats us to a scintillating history of the then-revolutionary Schrafft’s, a chain of convivial lunch spots that catered to women, and that bygone favorite, Howard Johnson’s, which pioneered midcentury, on-the-road dining, only to be swept aside by McDonald's. Lavishly designed with more than 100 photographs and images, including original menus, Ten Restaurants That Changed America is a significant and highly entertaining social history.
Food: The History of Taste
This richly illustrated book is the first to apply the discoveries of the new generation of food historians to the pleasures of dining and the culinary accomplishments of diverse civilizations, past and present. Editor Paul Freedman has gathered essays by French, German, Belgian, American, and British historians to present a comprehensive, chronological history of taste from prehistory to the present day. The authors explore the early repertoire of sweet tastes; the distinctive contributions made by classical antiquity and China; the subtle, sophisticated, and varied group of food customs created by the Islamic civilizations of Iberia, the Arabian desert, Persia, and Byzantium; the magnificent cuisine of the Middle Ages, influenced by Rome and adapted from Islamic Spain, Africa, and the Middle East; the decisive break with highly spiced food traditions after the Renaissance and the new focus on primary ingredients and products from the New World; French cuisine's rise to dominance in Europe and America; the evolution of modern restaurant dining, modern agriculture, and technological developments; and today's tastes, which employ few rules and exhibit a glorious eclecticism. The result is the enthralling story not only of what sustains us but also of what makes us feel alive.
Out of the East
The demand for spices in medieval Europe was extravagant and was reflected in the pursuit of fashion, the formation of taste, and the growth of luxury trade. It inspired geographical and commercial exploration ,as traders pursued such common spices as pepper and cinnamon and rarer aromatic products, including ambergris and musk. Ultimately, the spice quest led to imperial missions that were to change world history. This engaging book explores the demand for spices: why were they so popular, and why so expensive? Paul Freedman surveys the history, geography, economics, and culinary tastes of the Middle Ages to uncover the surprisingly varied ways that spices were put to use--in elaborate medieval cuisine, in the treatment of disease, for the promotion of well-being, and to perfume important ceremony.
Images of the Medieval Peasant
The medieval clergy, aristocracy, and commercial classes tended to regard peasants as objects of contempt and derision. In religious writings, satires, sermons, chronicles, and artistic representations peasants often appeared as dirty, foolish, dishonest, even as subhuman or bestial. Their lowliness was commonly regarded as a natural corollary of the drudgery of their agricultural toil. Yet, at the same time, the peasantry was not viewed as “other” in the manner of other condemned groups, such as Jews, lepers, Muslims, or the imagined “monstrous races” of the East. Several crucial characteristics of the peasantry rendered it less clearly alien from the elite perspective: peasants were not a minority, their work in the fields nourished all other social orders, and, most important, they were Christians. In other respects, peasants could be regarded as meritorious by virtue of their simple life, productive work, and unjust suffering at the hands of their exploitive social superiors. Their unrewarded sacrifice and piety were also sometimes thought to place them closest to God and more likely to win salvation. This book examines these conflicting images of peasants from the post-Carolingian period to the German Peasants’ War. It relates the representation of peasants to debates about how society should be organized (specifically, to how human equality at Creation led to subordination), how slavery and serfdom could be assailed or defended, and how peasants themselves structured and justified their demands. Though it was argued that peasants were legitimately subjugated by reason of nature or some primordial curse (such as that of Noah against his son Ham), there was also considerable unease about how the exploitation of those who were not completely alien―who were, after all, Christians―could be explained. Laments over peasant suffering as expressed in the literature might have a stylized quality, but this book shows how they were appropriated and shaped by peasants themselves, especially in the large-scale rebellions that characterized the late Middle Ages.
The Origins of Peasant Servitude in Medieval Catalonia
This 1991 book describes the history of peasants in Catalonia, the wealthiest and politically dominant part of the medieval Kingdom of Aragon, between the ninth and fifteenth centuries. It focuses on the period from 1000 to 1300, when free peasants who had held property under favourable frontier conditions were progressively subjugated by their lords. Between 1462 and 1486 Catalan peasants mounted the most successful peasants' war of the Middle Ages, and achieved the formal abolition of servitude. Professor Freedman seeks to explain both the process by which servitude was strengthened over the centuries, and its eventual weakening before a direct moral and military challenge. He addresses both the causes of enserfment and the limitations on its effectiveness. The book integrates archival evidence with the theories of society elaborated by medieval jurists. Comparisons are drawn between Catalonia and other regions, and its experience is situated within a spectrum of different social and economic conditions.