Current Issue Article Abstracts
October 2018, Vol. 142, No. 3
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pp. 233 - 235
Pennsylvania: The Foundation of American Cuisine
pp. 237 - 238
This article examines the overlapping histories of health, spirituality, technology, and taste that transformed the American bottled water industry in the nineteenth century. The search for curative mineral waters originated in ancient times, and by the end of the eighteenth century, chemists found a way to artificially carbonate water, which, they correctly assumed, purified it as well. A Philadelphia perfumier, Eugene Roussel, introduced sweetened carbonated beverages to American consumers and helped revive a domestic glassworks capable of producing bottles on a massive scale. Sweeter drinks, exotic flavors, and savvy marketing fueled the fizzy water business, and Philadelphia stood at the nexus of those developments. Centuries of commoditization have depleted this most basic human necessity, and the US is primarily responsible for this overconsumption. As Americans move forward in the twenty-first century, they must reassess their relationship to drinking water and decide whether access to it is a human right or a paid privilege.
This essay surveys the work of black public waiters in nineteenth-century Philadelphia and considers how they transformed menial domestic jobs into lucrative businesses. The work of public waiters in this era helped develop a catering trade for which the city became well-known. Sources such as print culture, financial records, censuses, and directories reveal a transitional period in which public waiters negotiated a new role. From the 1820s through the antebellum era, as public waiters developed entrepreneurial catering businesses, they also helped build the black community, effect social mobility, and change eating culture.
Sophisticated mid-twentieth-century food critics—those who ate where Chinese Americans ate and ordered the dishes Chinese Americans ordered—wrote disparagingly of the chop suey that middle America adored. In the half century that followed, the story goes, white American taste slowly caught up with the critics. This paper changes the familiar story arc by beginning in the early twentieth century, an era of virulent anti-Chinese prejudice, when white Americans first took note of Chinese dishes and looked beyond their image as reviled immigrant food. Laundrymen exchanged their ironing boards for woks and opened Chinese American restaurants in cities and towns across the commonwealth, serving real Chinese food adapted to white American tastes. Pennsylvanians loved the food, but they were reluctant to patronize establishments they perceived to be dens of vice. Chinese Americans launched a systematic, coordinated effort to overcome the racist stereotypes. Despite their best efforts, few restaurateurs were successful. Chop suey eventually took its place on Pennsylvania tables, but it did so in the form of a deracialized concoction sold in the canned food aisle of grocery stores.
Over the course of the twentieth century, Hershey became synonymous with chocolate in America. Americans saw the company's founder, Milton Hershey, as a great industrial philanthropist, and the town flourished as a tourist attraction. This article shows how Hershey chocolate became American, traces the history of the town as a destination, and explores the way Hershey's industrial and imperial past has been obfuscated in favor of a narrative grounded in the brand's place in American culture and Mr. Hershey's personal legacy. Commitment to welfare capitalism, the desire for Americans to visit the town and the factory, and the Hershey Company's intentionally folksy self-promotion worked to establish the brand as part of American popular culture.
This article examines how the policy known as "bring your own bottle" (BYOB) developed in Philadelphia's restaurant industry in the decades after Prohibition (1920–33) and how, over time, the policy grew into an important feature of the city's dining-out culture. More, this article positions BYOBs as places where chefs enjoyed creativity and experimentation free from corporate oversight and where patrons not only saved money but also affirmed their cultural tastes through appreciation of food and wine. Largely an affluent phenomenon, the increase in the number of BYOBs after the mid-1990s reveals the ways in which Philadelphia and its restaurant community adapted to changing economic patterns and consumer tastes.
Consuming the Orient at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition
pp. 390 - 392
The Pennsylvania Food Conservation Train
pp. 402 - 404
pp. i - iii
pp. 412 - 413