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  • Print publication year: 2007
  • Online publication date: August 2009

Ch. 24 - THE GLOBALIZATION OF PLENTY

Summary

The world of food requires unobtrusive erudition. It is well known that curiosity is the basic thrust toward knowledge, which in turn is the necessary precondition for pleasure.

Giovanni Rebora

AS WE JUST SAW, American anguish about weight and well-being has prompted scientific probes into obscure food-related alleyways. It also did much to advance food globalization in America. During the 1950s, Americans with a hankering for the foreign had pizza parlors for eating out and canned chow mein and chop suey for eating in, but most were still meat and potatoes people. It was a time when nobody used garlic and only winos drank wine. But this stolid unimaginative image was chipped away at beginning with the refined tastes of highly visible Jacqueline Kennedy and her fondness for French, Italian, and even British foods. Moreover, Americans took a good look at their waistlines, had their hearts checked, worried about their fat consumption, and began in earnest to adopt foreign foods increasingly thought to be healthy.

A stick prodding the public in this direction was the controversial 1977 document entitled Dietary Goals for the United States, published by the Senate Select Committee headed by George McGovern. Its 1978 bombshell edition alleged that the nation was under siege from an epidemic of “killer diseases” – heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes, and obesity brought on by changes in the American diet during the preceding half-century. The document called for a more “natural” diet, as well as more nutritional research to counter the epidemic.

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A Movable Feast
  • Online ISBN: 9780511512148
  • Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511512148
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