Edible Ideologies

Representing Food and Meaning

Edited by Kathleen LeBesco & Peter Naccarato

Subjects: Cultural Studies, Communication, Food, American Studies, American Culture
Paperback : 9780791472880, 266 pages, January 2008
Hardcover : 9780791472873, 266 pages, January 2008

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations
Kathleen LeBesco and Peter Naccarato
1. Men and Menus: Dickens and the Rise of the “Ordinary” English Gentleman
Annette Cozzi
2. “Food Will Win the War”: Food and Social Control in World War I Propaganda
Celia M. Kingsbury
3. Cooking In Memory’s Kitchen: Re-Presenting Recipes, Remembering the Holocaust
Marie I. Drews
4. “More than one million mothers know it’s the REAL thing”: The Rosenbergs, Jell-O, Old-Fashioned Gefilte Fish, and 1950s America
Nathan Abrams
5. Cooking the Books: Jewish Cuisine and the Commodification of Difference
Eric Mason
6. Typisch Deutsch: Culinary Tourism and the Presentation of German Food in English-Language Travel Guides
Lynne Fallwell
7. The Embodied Rhetoric of “Health” from Farm Fields to Salad Bowls
Jean P. Retzinger
8. Consuming the Other: Packaged Representations of Foreignness in President’s Choice
Charlene Elliott
9. From Romance to PMS: Images of Women and Chocolate in Twentieth-Century America
Kathleen Banks Nutter
10. Julia Child, Martha Stewart, and the Rise of Culinary Capital
Kathleen LeBesco and Peter Naccarato

Contributors explore the relationship between food and the production of ideology.


Edible Ideologies argues that representations of food—in literature and popular fiction, cookbooks and travel guides, war propaganda, women's magazines, television and print advertisements—are not just about nourishment or pleasure. Contributors explore how these various modes of representation, reflecting prevailing attitudes and assumptions about food and food practices, function instead to circulate and transgress dominant cultural ideologies. Addressing questions concerning whose interests are served by a particular food practice or habit and what political ends are fulfilled by the historical changes that lead from one practice to another in Western culture, the essays offer a rich historical narrative that moves from the construction of the nineteenth-century English gentleman to the creation of two of today's iconic figures in food culture, Julia Child and Martha Stewart. Along the way, readers will encounter World War I propaganda, holocaust and Sephardic cookbooks, the Rosenbergs, German tour guides, fast food advertising, food packaging, and chocolate, and will find food for thought on the meanings of everything from camembert to Velveeta, from salads to burgers, and from tikka masala to Campbell's soup.

At Marymount Manhattan College, Kathleen LeBesco is Associate Professor of Communication Arts, and Peter Naccarato is Associate Professor of English. LeBesco's previous books include Revolting Bodies? The Struggle to Redefine Fat Identity.


"The contributions to Edible Ideologies show a richness of concrete argument … Vividly and vibrantly, the essays … reveal multitudes of meaning. " — Gastronomica

"…this collection moves beyond the scope of 'food studies' to be of interest to readers in literature, gender studies, sociology, advertising history, and related disciplines. " — CHOICE

"This is a solid intervention in contemporary debates about food and representation in the Anglo-American world. The essays are historically rich, theoretically engaging, and unpredictable enough to be immensely readable. Who knew that a box of Jell-O would do so much harm to Ethel Rosenberg's case?!" — Krishnendu Ray, author of The Migrant's Table: Meals and Memories in Bengali-American Households