Food Chains

Food Chains : From Farmyard to Shopping Cart

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In recent years, the integrity of food production and distribution has become an issue of wide social concern. The media frequently report on cases of food contamination as well as on the risks of hormones and cloning. Journalists, documentary filmmakers, and activists have had their say, but until now a survey of the latest research on the history of the modern food-provisioning system-the network that connects farms and fields to supermarkets and the dining table-has been unavailable. In Food Chains, Warren Belasco and Roger Horowitz present a collection of fascinating case studies that reveal the historical underpinnings and institutional arrangements that compose this system.
The dozen essays in Food Chains range widely in subject, from the pig, poultry, and seafood industries to the origins of the shopping cart. The book examines what it took to put ice in nineteenth-century refrigerators, why Soviet citizens could buy ice cream whenever they wanted, what made Mexican food popular in France, and why Americans turned to commercial pet food in place of table scraps for their dogs and cats. Food Chains goes behind the grocery shelves, explaining why Americans in the early twentieth century preferred to buy bread rather than make it and how Southerners learned to like self-serve shopping. Taken together, these essays demonstrate the value of a historical perspective on the modern food-provisioning system.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 304 pages
  • 152.4 x 226.06 x 20.32mm | 476.27g
  • University of Pennsylvania Press
  • Pennsylvania, United States
  • English
  • 26 illus.
  • 0812221346
  • 9780812221343
  • 1,578,813

Review quote

"Food Chains is a significant achievement, reflecting original work from a variety of disciplines and offering penetrating insights on the complex connections among the different components of food-supply chains."-Business History Review "The essays in this book . . . help us to discover what we might learn from the past and identify what might aid us in interpreting our food provisioning system in the future."-Food and Foodways
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About Warren Belasco

Warren Belasco is Professor of American Studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and author of Meals to Come: A History of the Future of Food. Roger Horowitz is Associate Director of the Hagley Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society and author of Putting Meat on the American Table: Taste, Technology, Transformation.
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Table of contents

1. Making Food Chains: The Book
-Roger Horowitz
2. How Much Depends on Dinner?
-Warren Belasco
3. Analyzing Commodity Chains: Linkages or Restraints?
-Shane Hamilton
4. Lard to Lean: Making the Meat-Type Hog in Post-World War II America
-J. L. Anderson
5. The Chicken, the Factory Farm and the Supermarket: The Emergence of the Modern Poultry Industry in Britain
-Andrew C. Godley and Bridget Williams
6. Trading Quality, Producing Value: Crabmeat, HACCP, and Global Seafood Trade
-Kelly Feltault
7. Anchovy Sauce and Pickled Tripe: Exporting Civilized Food in the Colonial Atlantic World
-Richard R. Wilk
8. What's Left at the Bottom of the Glass: The Quest for Purity and the Development of the American Natural Ice Industry
-Jonathan Rees
9. Provisioning Man's Best Friend: The Early Years of the American Pet Food Industry, 1870-1942
-Katherine C. Grier
10. Empire of Ice Cream: How Life Became Sweeter in the Postwar Soviet Union
-Jenny Leigh Smith
11. Eating Mexican in a Global Age: The Politics and Production of Ethnic Food
-Jeffrey M. Pilcher
12. The Aristocracy of the Market Basket: Self-Service Food Shopping in the New South
-Lisa C. Tolbert
13. Making Markets Marxist? The East European Grocery Store from Rationing to Rationality to Rationalizations
-Patrick Hyder Patterson
14. Tools and Spaces: Food and Cooking in Working-Class Neighborhoods, 1880-1930
-Katherine Leonard Turner
15. Wheeling One's Groceries Around the Store: The Invention of the Shopping Cart, 1936-1953
-Catherine Grandclement
List of Contributors
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Rating details

9 ratings
4 out of 5 stars
5 11% (1)
4 78% (7)
3 11% (1)
2 0% (0)
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