Dining in America, 1850-1900


Following Susan R. Williams's excellent scholarly introduction, W.J. Rorabaugh shows how the Victorian middle class tried to reinforce its own dominant moral position in American culture by urging temperance at a time when immigrant drinking patterns and the rise of the saloon presented an obvious contrast. David W. Miller demonstrates how technological development in the production of utensils and the preparation of food transformed the kitchen, although not always in the directions envisioned by some domestic scientists. Eleanor T. Fordyce traces the history of nineteenth-century American cooking by examining contemporary cookbooks and the influence of the cooking-school movement. John F. Kasson discusses dining etiquette, which became a defining characteristic of middle-class culture and hence essential training for every upwardly mobile American. Clifford E. Clark, Jr., explores the tremendous changes in ideas about the home and the symbolic position of the dining room within it. Dorothy Rainwater discusses the forms and functions of Victorian dining-room silver and its role in expressing power and wealth.

Co-published with the Margaret Woodbury Strong Museum.

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