Holy Food

Holy Food : Recipes and Foodways from Cults, Communes, and New Religious Movements

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Holy Food explores the influence of newer and unorthodox beliefs on modern American food. Beginning with the infamous strawberry shortcake that sated visitors to the Oneida Community in the late 1800s to the celebratory cakes of the Unarius practitioners in present-day California, Ward shows us a range of feasting and fasting.
Religious beliefs have been the source of food "rules" since Pythagoras told his followers not to eat beans (they contain souls), Kosher and Halal rules forbade the shrimp cocktail (shellfish are scavengers, or maybe G-d just said "no"), and a long-ago Pope forbade Catholics to eat meat on Fridays (one should fast to atone for committed sins). In America, where the freedom to believe whatever you want and worship the god of not only of your own choice but of your own making embraced old traditions and invented new ones.
Holy Food looks at how the explosion of new religious movements since the Great Awakening birthed a cottage industry of food fads that gained mainstream acceptance. And at the obscure sects and non-religious communities of the 20th Century that dabbled in vague spirituality that used food to both entice and control followers. Ward skillfully navigates between her vast cookbook collection, academic texts, and interviews to make sharp observations and new insights in this highly readable journey through the American kitchen.
Included are examples of rare cookbooks, interviews, and updated versions of holy recipes, and a lively narrative that weaves it all together.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 240 pages
  • 178 x 254mm
  • English
  • 1934170860
  • 9781934170861

Review quote

American Advertising Cookbooks "A photograph of a luncheon-meat salad mold is scarcely more horrifying than the details that led to the creation of the dish. There is much to learn in this book.--Florence Fabricant "New York Times "
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