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“Eating the Past: Why and How To Study Food History” by Dr. Megan J. Elias


– It gives me great, great pleasure to welcome you to the 19th lecture of the Presidential Lecture series. We started these lecture
series in the year 2000 when I first became
President of Queensborough. For the purpose of
bringing to your attention the level of quality
that exists in the CUNY faculty community and in
Queensborough community as well, and the purpose of these
lectures are really precisely to do that. Really to celebrate our faculty. To celebrate our faculty
from the university at large and in the Fall semester,
we have a lecture that we invite someone
from another institution to come and speak to us. These are generally
distinguished professors or we invite someone who has
something to do with CUNY and can advance, if you will,
the mission of the university. We’ve had some wonderful speakers here. Names like John Mollenkopf, and if you know anything about demography, you know that he’s one of
the most quoted individuals in terms of demographics
for New York City. We’ve had David Nasaw who wrote two wonderful seminal books. One is The Chief and the
other one’s Carnegie, and I recommend them to you. They are wonderful reads. Last year, we had Michio Kaku who is one of the string theory developers and who is really looked at
as the Carl Sagan of Physics. Somebody who has taken a very
complex theory of physics and has made it so that
people can understand it, appreciate it, and he has his
radio program and a TV program and it was very exciting. And in the spring time,
we’ve had individuals from our own faculty who’ve frankly, and I’m not biased, are as exciting and as stimulating as the ones
that I have just mentioned. And I can mention a number of them. I know if I start mentioning names, I’m gonna forget somebody so
I’m gonna mention departments, like Art, Chemistry, Music, English, History, and today, we have someone again from
the History department, someone who I believe is a rising star in our institution. Someone who came in and
it’s unbelievable to me that she already has tenure. She already is an associate professor. And as you can see from the display has written books about nutrition
and the history of food. The title of today’s lecture is Eating the Past: Why and
How We Study Food History? And I believe that the combination of nutritional insight
and obviously historical, anthropological insight,
it’s a wonderful combination to understand the history
in a different way. So it gives me a great pleasure to introduce to you, again,
one of our rising stars, one of the wonderful professors
of our History department, Dr. Megan Elias. Megan? (applause) – So, you can hear me? Everybody, you can hear me? Okay, thank you very much for
that really kind introduction and for inviting me to do this. I’ve been looking forward
to it actually all semester as a chance to just share
with the college community and the wider community what I love to do, which is studying food history. And that the title of the
lecture is very grand, and I don’t know if I
can tell you exactly why to study of food history. What I thought I would do is give example of how I study food history and hope that that can inspire all of you and all of your
disciplines to look at food and think about food. I’m hoping to make some
converts here today so I have a larger community to work with. So you’re all gonna have
your minds changed, I hope. I wanted to talk first
about how I got into this and then to give an example, just to look at one meal, which is lunch, and to talk about how looking
at the history of lunch shows you what food history can do, what looking at history
through the lens of food or through the node of food or however you wanna think about it, can take you to lot of unexpected places and show you things about the past that you might not have noticed otherwise. So, I have for a couple of years now, I’ve been talking about food at events, public events, and I keep
finding myself saying, don’t get me started
talking about sandwiches. So today, I would really
just talk about sandwiches and just give over my whole
self to the sandwich talk. So that’s what the whole
lunch business is about. Also, lunch is interesting
’cause it’s a public meal. It’s really the meal that we most often, in contemporary society, take in public. And that makes it noticeable, I guess. So how I got here, how I got to this sort of topic is through writing this book, which I only have one copy of. You can’t have it. Through writing a book about
the history of home economics. Home economics was a movement to make the ordinary stuff of
everyday life academic. So to bring the attention
of scientists and scholars to home life, to food and home life, to bacteria, to relationships, to just take the home as a
serious subject of study. So as writing this history
about home economics, and in order to do that, I
was reading a lot of cookbooks and these were cookbooks that
were designed as textbooks, which is an interesting concept. And I thought, well, I
really need to understand how the women, mostly women, some men, who wrote these books about food, how they were thinking about food to understand their whole philosophy. So first of all, what do
they think is food, right? What is edible and what is not edible? What do you not find in their cookbooks and what do you find
and how is it treated? And I also found that my
research was making me ravenous, really, really hungry. And I was sneaking snacks into archives which is wrong. You should never ever do and I did it. I was not like exactly eating
in the stacks but close. It was terrible. And at the same time, I
was reading other scholars who’d written about Home Ec, talking about how nutritionists
have no sense of taste. And Home Economists, Domestic Scientists, they just hated food. They wanted to suck all
the pleasure out of food and just make people eat
what was good for them. And I couldn’t kinda
square these two feet, you know, this critique with my hunger. Either there’s something
really wrong with me or there’s something wrong
with these critiques. So I thought I’d take a closer look at what we call the food
ways of Home Economists. What was their cuisine? What was their idea about the
proper way to prepare food? They were idealists, afterall, so they’re thinking, whatever
they’re thinking about food. If they’re thinking, this
is the right way to do it, this is the perfect way to do it, this is the way we have to
teach other people to do it. So I got into that and here I was helped tremendously by a concept that was
developed by one of CUNY’s own, Dr. Anne Hauck-Lawson,
Haulck Lawson, sorry. Anne Haulck Lawson. I always get this wrong. Who teaches in the food,
science, and nutrition department at Brooklyn College. And she developed this
idea of the food voice, which is a really, really fun concept that I hope you take home with you and do something creative with. The food voice is the idea that the way we prepare food,
the way that we buy food, the way that we present
food is our own voice. Now, each one of us here has a food voice. So whatever we’re doing with food is an expression of
something about who we are, not just our culture but
our personalities as well. So I tried to sort of apply
this idea of the food voice to Home Economists. Okay, so that got me
thinking about American food. And then I was lucky enough
to get to write this book which is a history of just eating in the United States from 1890 to 1945. And it was in the process of writing that that I was asked by the publisher to follow each meal. So a history of breakfast, which I could also talk about for hours, and history of lunch and
the history of supper or dinner in America. And so I wanted to just
zero in on lunch for today because again, it is a public meal. And this lecture is oddly
timed for lecture about lunch. You probably all had it already, so you have lunch memories and we’re moving into tea
time, which will follow this, I guess. And tea-time of course,
this a totally anomalous for Americans. A meal we don’t usually take,
but you’re gonna take it today ’cause hopefully, the
talk will make you hungry. And there will be snacks afterwards. So lunch, okay. Lunch in America is a descendant of obviously of lunch in Northern Europe. So this is not say that
there aren’t other ways of thinking about lunch
in American culture, but our kinda mainstream
American food waves come from Northern Europe. So I wanted to start there and then kinda see what
happen to lunch in America. And I have these good pictures. Okay, so I’m gonna start with this one. As you can see, this is the
painting called The Harvesters. It’s in the Metropolitan Museum of Art on the second floor to the left. You go in and you’ll see it when you go in and you’ll look at it
differently now, I hope. This is lunch in the 16th century. Here they are. They’re sitting down to eat. These are peasants. They’re harvesting wheat, and the wheat is gonna be used to make a white flower that
they are never gonna get to eat themselves. There is something called
the hierarchy of bread in Europe in the 16the century. And the peasants who
actually harvested the wheat ate much darker, denser grains. Things like rye, primarily rye, barley. Stuff that just doesn’t have
the right gluten to rise. So if you know the
expression the upper crust, is that like hopefully out of date? The elite got not only the whitest bread and the lightest bread, but
the top part of the bread. That was considered the best, the part that had risen
the most, the upper crust. So if you’re upper crust, you’re the person who
gets to eat that stuff. So they’re not upper crust. They’re sitting in the field having lunch. How do I know it’s lunch? You can answer that. How do I know it’s lunch? – [Audience] It’s daytime. – It’s daytime. Yes, and there are still
people working, right? So if it was supper, they’d be, everybody would be somewhere else inside. If it’s a breakfast, they
wouldn’t be there either. So it’s lunch time and
the peasants in the corner are eating from a bowl. I don’t know if you can tell that, but there are these bowls
and they’re eating from them. They’re eating pottage, which was just basically
a stew like oatmeal. You put in it whatever you had. If you had some beans, you throw those in. If you have a little bit of
meat, you are very lucky. Just throw some of that in. So they’re eating
pottage, and they’re also, this is the good part over here. This basket, this woman is cutting. There’s a large loaf
of bread and a cheese. So they’re having cheese
and bread and pottage, and then you really can’t see this. But here in the middle,
there’s some pears. They’re having cheese, bread, and pears. It’s not that bad a lunch,
if you think about it. It’s actually very similar to
the lunch I had myself today. This is what they would’ve had. Where did it come from? They probably brought it with
them in that basket, right? They brought it along with them knowing that they’re gonna need something in the middle of the day. And I just wanted to show you that cheese. So that’s the cheese they
would’ve been eating. This is probably, right? This is Edam cheese. It’s made in the part of the world where this painting was also made, and it was the most
popular cheese in the world for a couple of hundred years, because it had a long
shelf life, you could say. It lasted, and it specially
lasted on long ocean voyages. I’m gonna exaggerate here. This is the cheese that made it possible for Europeans to explore
the rest of the world and eventually find America. That’s huge exaggeration. The cheese is responsible. Okay, and that lunch, it’s very similar to this classing Ploughman’s lunch, which was, in English standard, lunch. A cheese, a piece of bread and apple, and in England, some kind of pickle. Branston pickle or some
kind of tomato chutney and that beer. That’s also very important. It’s important to the Ploughman’s lunch, and it’s important to these guys. Let’s see. Sorry about this, but up here, do you see this guy? He’s tipping a big jug into his mouth? That’s beer, most likely. Before the 19th century, before the discovery of bacteria, basically, all people knew about water was that if it had been
sitting out and you drank it, you would get sick, whereas if you drank beer,
you wouldn’t get sick. In fact, you’d feel pretty good. So beer was the drink, right? Beer was what was safe to drink. And so workers drank beer. Everybody drank beer all day long. So that’s what they’ve
got in their jugs there. And we’re gonna get into talking about how that has changed. I did not have beer with
my Ploughman’s lunch today. You’ll be happy to hear it. So the big question is, this is what the peasants are having. What about the guy who owns the fields? The guy who owns the fields and his lady and his family and his entourage are not eating lunch. Lunch is a meal that
is needed by these guys ’cause they’re doing the work. But the man who owns the fields, the elite, the nobility,
he’s not eating lunch because he doesn’t need to refuel. He’s waking up late in the
day and having something, something huge, right? Several barns worth of animals are gonna be killed for his breakfast and then lounging around,
maybe having servants bring him snacks during the day. But not a meal. He doesn’t have the mid day meal that his peasants, his workers have. Then on to supper, a nice
big supper in the evening. So lunch was something. It was a meal that was
taken in midday by workers, by people who needed it. And that’s all gonna
change, as you can see. Okay, so there’s a Ploughman’s again, and there’s an actual plowman. I’m actually happy to find this picture, an English plowman about 1900 sitting in the middle of a field and you can tell he’s English
as he’s drinking tea, right? Having nice cups in the middle of a field. That’s such an English thing to do, such an English food way, right? So what happens is that
Americans bring these food ways. Not Americans, sorry. Northern Europeans bring these food ways with them when they come to America. And so all of those food customs, the eating, the lunch, and the field, the elite, not stopping for a midday meal but having huge breakfast,
gigantic breakfast. Food that would feed us
for weeks at this point and then having dinner, having supper kinda followed with them
as they cross the Atlantic. Here’s an image of a woman calling in field hands from the field to come in for their lunch. And then this is a picture of George Washington on his plantation. You may have seen this picture before. It’s not painted by
someone who’s contemporary of Washington. It’s painted in 1851, and it’s
Washington on his plantation. So it’s very 1851. It’s sort of pro-slavery propaganda. In the middle of the picture, you can see a woman has brought water to the enslaved workers who are working Washington’s plantation. And this is how food would be brought out to agricultural workers. So free workers, you know,
people who hired themselves out were often called back into
a farm house for lunch. Unfree workers were fed in the field. You wanna get the most labor out of them that you possibly can. So you don’t want coming back
and forth to lunch, basically. So this is how agricultural, oh. Is that for me? Oh, thank you. It’s better. Okay, thanks. Is it better? Yeah, it’s green. Okay. Do you want me to go back? Okay, so there is the water. There is the guy drinking the water. This job, the job of carrying
water out to the field, on plantations, was often a job that was given to small children. It was often the first job that they got the first time that they knew
they were in fact enslaved, that they were laborers for somebody else. So you’d get six-year-olds. Imagine trying to get a six year old to carry a bucket of water. But this was done. Not these guys. These are obviously not enslaved workers, these little guys here. So food tended to come out
to the field for agricultural workers for their lunch time. In non-agricultural settings,
food came in and out all throughout the day. So where you had workshops, the American colonies and
then the American states had a fairly diverse kind of
small scale manufacturing, economy in the North East, and there you would find workshops where craftsmen taught their apprentices how to make something: clocks, chairs, tables, shoes, whatever they were making, they all made it together. And they’ll eat together
throughout the day. So you had the woman of the house would be the craftsman’s wife, coming in and out with meals. They did not sort of
go often to her kitchen because her kitchen would be
far too busy during the day. It was her own workshop. So she’d bring them food, usually something like
the Ploughman’s lunch, maybe a meat pie and they drink. So that tradition of drinking beer throughout the workday continued not only on the agricultural setting but inside workshops too. There is a very kind social
feel and a familial feel to the workplace. So lunch was something that happened when everybody was ready for it. It didn’t have a set time. You stop to eat lunch when you got to a good finishing place. When everybody was ready for it, you’d stop and you’d have some beer and you’d talk, maybe
even take a little snooze, and then to continue with your work. The whole pace of work including lunch was set by the workers themselves. And I have a little example here. I’m just gonna show you guys the schedule, and then what I’d like to do is to read out the description. You’ll see, you’ll see
what’s happening here. Okay, so this is from a
shipyard in New York City. So in our yard, half past 8AM, Aunt Arlie Mcvane , a clever, kind-hearted but awfully uncouth,
rough sample of Ireland would make her welcome
appearance on the yard with two great baskets, stowed and checked off
with crullers, doughnuts, ginger-bread, turnovers, pies, and a variety of sweet cookies and cakes. And so everybody in the shipyard stops. They’ve been at work since sunrise. It’s now about 8:30 and they stopped for all these pastries. And she just shows up. She wonders in and they
all stopped and they eat. The great quote here is no one ever hurried during cake time to take a little break. After this was over,
we would fall to again until interrupted by John Gogean, the English candyman who came in always about half past 10, so that was only after
about an hour later. They’ve been having cake for an hour, and then they got back to work and then they get the candy man. The candy man, these are
grown men, by the way. The candyman comes in with an extension tables slum before him, covered with all sorts of stick and several of sticky
candy and one cent lots. So he’s selling candy. They spend about 15
minutes to half an hour eating the candy. He goes out around 11 o’clock and that’s when you go
out for the whiskey. So you stop around 11 o’clock for whiskey. You come back who knows when. It’s absolutely not
clear from this testimony when people came back from whiskey. And then you work a little bit more and then half past three,
they have cake lunch. So more cake. And that’s provided by
someone who’s retired from working in the Shipyards. So now he’s making his living feeding cake or selling cake to former coworkers. And then about five o’clock,
the candyman comes back in. He spent a little bit more
time buying and consuming candy and then sundown, everybody
goes home to super. So what’s happening here? It sounds great to me, right? Doesn’t that look a lovely workday? That people are constantly
coming and bringing food and you get to eat some
and then you go on working. So it’s like this preindustrial workshops, where there’s always someone coming in. The food is coming in,
people are coming in with it. You know, these characters
appear with food. Johnny the candyman, Aunt Arlie McVane with her cakes. See, there’s a kind of
fluidity to the workplace that ceases to exist
with industrialization. So what’s happening, this is from the 1830s. This is during a transitional period. Beginning in the 1820s in America, there’s what I would call
the great lunch divide. So lunch changes dramatically. It changes when American
manufacturing industrializes, when you start to see factories, when the quantity of
goods that you produce is more important than
the quality of goods. So factory owners, men who can invest in larger establishments and the machinery that runs these factories, what they produce is a
workplace where workers are, they’re working to the
pace of the machinery and not to the pace that set communally. So you keep the machinery going and the early factory machinery
was run with water power. So as long as the river is running, the machines are running too. And you wanna keep that production going. So there’s this radical shift in lunch, among other things. What it means is that you
wanna shut all the machines up at the same time, right? And then start them up
again at the same time. You don’t want people
wandering in and out. So lunch gets a time. It gets a moment, when
everybody has to go out and then everybody has to come back in. There’s a bell that rings you out and a bell that rings you back in. And the lunch then is not
something that’s taken by everybody communally. It’s the moment, the great lunch divide, is when the workers and the employers started having their lunches separately. And I’ll show you, okay. This is, as you can see, workers leaving the Pullman factory. This is a factory where
Pullman cars were made for railroads in the town
of Pullman in Illinois. This is about 1907. You can see the photographers
written noon hour on the picture. So what happened at noon exactly at noon was that the doors open and all the workers come
out, hungry for lunch, knowing they have to be
back really, really quickly. And this is just because the factory owner wants to keep them working as fast and as long as they possibly can. So the casual lunch happens
when we want it to happen, and with all these sorts
of other characters, that just disappears. That’s done. I’m sorry. I’m wrapping up. Okay, what was unfortunate for these guys in the Pullman factory is that there was no cafeteria there, so they had to find their own lunch. And they go out into the street. There’s a little wagon there. Here, which it’s possible
this was a lunch wagon. This factory was surrounded, the roads around it were
surrounded at lunch time by wagons that sold food. I’m not sure that that one actually is but it’s in the right location for a Pullman lunch
wagon to be other kinds. Okay, here. These are some food carts. So this is in lower Manhattan, around the same time, and these are just lunch carts that sprung out that never existed before industrialization. But they now provide a really quick lunch for somebody who’s just
getting out of the factory and going back into the factory and needs to be fed cheaply. So this is the beginning of the appearance of the lunch carts and the hotdog wagons and all that stuff that so much a part of our urban landscape today. And also, not just lunch
wagons but saloons. So enterprising saloon,
enterprising, I don’t know, capitalists open up saloons. They open them up really
close to factories so that you can get out of your factory and enter your saloon
during the lunch hour. And they provide that mythical
thing, the free lunch. So they put up signs in the window that say free lunch. You go into the saloon hungry in search of your free lunch and they do indeed give you something. And what they give you is something very, very, very salty, right? So that you need to buy the beer. And buying the beer is not something you didn’t want to do anyway because in fact, working in the factories of the early industrial
era, it was very tiring. It was very nerve-racking,
it was dangerous, it was boring, it was all
of the kinds of things that a beer makes you forget, quickly. Sorry. It’s true. It’s true, though. So a place like this
would bring in workers during lunch time. And here’s another one
that I love, this picture. This is Gerrity’s Saloon, the guys out front are
street cart workers. So these are the guys who are
running the street railroad. They stop for lunch at Gerrity’s and it’s a saloon, right? It’s main business is selling beer, but the awning there
says Gerrity’s Buffet. It’s really a lunch place. Sure it is. You go in, you get your salty food. I mean, this is why the
pretzels and the beer are so such good friends, right? So that’s what a free lunch is. And it is true that
there is no free lunch, unless you wanna just
eat a lot of salty food and then go back to work. Now, these establishments, these saloons with the free lunches, present
a problem for women workers. So women factory workers
were not supposed to go into saloons. Essentially throughout the 19th century, if you were female and
you set foot in a saloon, your reputation goes up in smoke, right? Unless you’re there with a hatchet like Carrie Nation to
destroy the entire place. But if you’d go in looking for lunch, you can forget any
decent marriage proposal you were thinking of. I’m again exaggerating, but not that much. So what women have to do is they really just have to make do. They have to huddle. This is a great painting
of women workers in Wigan, which is in England
near the industrial city of Manchester. They’re having their lunch outside, right? The Dinner Hour. Dinner is the English term for lunch. So they’re sitting outside. They’ve got their buckets with them. I’ll show you a nice lunch bucket. There’s our little lunch bucket, and somewhere lunch bucket, they were improvised. They were just pails, cans that
were used for other things. That’s a coffee can. Here’s a cigar box. Pretty, right? You can just stick a handle on it and you can take your lunch. This is a nice one. This is for much later, a photo from 1942 from Puerto Rico. And this is maybe a more
familiar look, right? And it’s not til the 1950s til 1954 that lunchbox started being
made out of tougher material. They were made out of tin for a while, and then they got made
out of a stronger material when somebody accidentally
crushed his lunchbox. So a place like this
is a kind of in between the open lunch cart and the saloon. And it’s just about
acceptable for a young woman factory worker to get her lunch from something like this. The Owls, the lunch owls started appearing in the 1890s. The first one, I think, was
in Western Massachusetts, and they’re called owls
’cause they were first provided to sell food to night workers. So people who’ve been working
in factories all night and come out hungry, they’re really more of a breakfast wagon to begin with. And that’s something new, the ability to have your
factory running all night long. What do you need for that? Electricity, right? You need the kind of
lighting that isn’t gonna catch fire like candles. So this is the new
world, the morning people coming off the night
shift and wanting food. The owls then started
showing up at lunch time, the ordinary lunch time, noon. And they developed, right? This is another nice little truck. This is from World War I from Washington to provide the huge numbers of people who came to Washington to work
during the World War I. I just like the name of it, that it was A Noon Time Friend. Your sandwich is ready for you. And a lady, right? Ladies can respectively
buy from these things. And this is a lunch
truck that happens to be pretty dear to my heart. I ate a lot of disgusting food out of it while I was in college. We have our own lunch truck, right? Right down on the edge of campus, which is also a great place. And I’m sure that if
there are students here, you have formed your bond
with that lunch truck, and if you give a lecture like this, you’ll be showing your own. I had to show Louie, so I really did. Louie’s has milkshakes,
hot subs, cold subs, cold drinks, coffee, and cigarettes. Yes, you can get your
cigarettes from the truck. Okay, now this is the opposite, right? So when the workers start going out for this very limited lunch break, and they have to come back
as quickly as they can, the owners have a whole
different lunch culture. So the owners no longer
sitting with their workers and sharing their beer
and sharing their bread and sharing their cheese together. The owners are now
socializing with each other. They have nothing to
do with their workers. They’re not responsible for
their moral character anymore. They’re not training them up
to be professional equals. They’re just separate. So the factory owners can
now hang out together. This is a picture of Delmonico’s which is the most famous
of this kind of lunch place in New York and maybe even in the world. It was established by some Swiss immigrant and it was established to serve really the owning class. This is a special event, obviously, and this is a menu from
a similar special event in another place, which is the Union Club. Kinds of things are they’re eating there? Fancy stuff, right? Stuff that you can’t just
get out of that little van. You couldn’t pull a broiled spring chicken or a grow set out of the Noon Time Friend. This needed a little bit more preparation. There are sandwiches, as you can see. But it’s kind of grand, and it’s also, as you can
see from all the bottles all over the table, it’s liquor soaked. It’s not just a pint of beer. It’s wine, it’s brandy,
it’s all of these stuff. And why is it that way? ‘Cause these guys don’t
have to go back to work. It doesn’t matter when they
go back to work, right? They’re just enjoying
each other’s company. They’re not essential really to the running of their factories. They’ve hired, by this point 1876, they’re hiring managers to
do the managing for them, to tell the workers when to ring the bell to bring them back in from lunch. And what develops in the
19th century over lunch is this push and pull
over the issue of drinking during the day time. It’s okay for these guys, they feel, to get drunk at lunch. It’s practically a responsibility. But for the workers to
go out to the saloons and get a little relaxed
by the pint of beer maybe two or three, is not okay ’cause when they come
back into the factory, they mess things up, right? And not only things, themselves. They lose a limb in a machine or they knock over somebody else’s work. So factory owners, these guys, get really concerned
with the drinking habits, the lunch time specifically, lunch time drinking
habits of their workers. And they start pushing
coffee, the opposite. So they’re pushing coffee for the workers and not at all for themselves. They’re meanwhile enjoying this, you didn’t know this was a
political lecture, right? Let’s see. This is a more modest menu. This is the kind of place that men of the managerial class
would go out to for lunch. And how could you tell
it’s a male restaurant? Cigars. Exactly, right? The cigars, the oysters
too, are pretty male. They’re considered a
pretty male sort of food in the 19th century. Though most people eat oysters
at some point in America. But yeah, the cigars and tobacco, that really gives it away that this is a man’s place. So again, there’s a new class emerging, the managerial class, and
some of them are women. But they can’t go to places like this. So there have to be new
kinds of establishments. Oh, this is not for the managerial class. Another thing that’s
happening then is that the ownership class, the
men who own the factories, their wives are now
finding themselves alone during lunchtime. And lunch was really never a meal that women took, say, in the 18th century when women were much more
involved in production in the household. They’re making stuff all day long. They’re eating a little bit of dinner while they’re cooking it, but they’re not sitting down and stopping and taking what we are
now in the 21st century call the me time or anything
as indulgent as that. In the second half of the 19th century, as men leave the home and have this kind of public lunch life, women are left behind. Middle class women are left behind. And another thing that’s
leaving them alone at home is public education. So their kids are more and
more often out of the house. They don’t have children to look after. And so the middle of the afternoon becomes this very female time at home. They start inviting their friends over and preparing meals that
are specially for women. So you get a lot of things like this, and this. Very delicate. And there are a lot of people who are extremely
critical of this cuisine. I mean, it really is a specific cuisine, middle class women’s lunch food. And what they don’t think about which is something that
I’ve started to write about is that these are women
who are alone at home but dining with other women so they can have this specific
aesthetic for themselves. They’re showing off to other women. Hey, look what I can do. And jell-o, by the way, was this fantastic new food technology that people had not been able to do this before, to suspend vegetables like that, wow. It was amazing. Look, is it there, is it not there? It was like magic. So they’re showing off their
skills to their friends and something essential to remember about middle class 19th
century American women is that they wore corsets. They wore corsets that were like cages squeezed around their
middles all day long. And when you wear one of these things, it’s hard to eat, right? It’s hard to digest. It’s not healthy at all. So to slip a little jell-o down the gullet would be much less trouble, much less later discomfort
than some of this stuff. The small steak or the liver in bacon that men are eating at the same time. And that’s something I
think it’s really worth thinking about as you think about food. Always remember, what are
people doing during the day and what do they have to wear? What are their physical constraints on what they can eat? So this is a lovely jell-o salad. This is the kind of thing
you would serve to a friend. I have a nice little menu
from a cookbook I found in the Schlesinger cookbook collection which is up in Massachusetts. This is probably one
of my favorite lunches. Okay, this is a cookbook
that has a section for lunch and this is described as a
lunch menu for a few friends with the idea of course it
would just be women friends. What you get if you go
over to this woman’s house is peanut wafers, sponge cake,
chocolate with whipped cream and pineapple lemonade. It’s like a kid’s fantasy of lunch. It’s all sweet and light
and fluffy and pretty food. So this is the kind of stuff that women are doing at home, as the men are out, having cigars, and eating oysters. Their food culture is totally divided. The food of the one is anathema the other. For those women who are not at home, who are out in public, who are working as secretaries, there have to be safe places. This is a wonderful
Edward Hopper painting. You’ve probably seen it before, but I’m hoping we’re
giving it a new context. This is Tables for Ladies. Restaurants would advertise this, exactly. We have tables for ladies. It allowed young women who
were kind of struggling up into the middle class, it allowed them to think
that they could be safe in a restaurant. Women were very afraid of
what would happen to them if they went into restaurants. Would strange men talk to them? Would they sit down at
the table with them? Would men see them eating food, right? Would this be unattractive? And you know, some of these concerns sort of linger if you check
out women’s magazines lately. So this is a safe space. The idea that there’s a place for a lady can eat unmolested, and that was the word that was often used to
describe these spots. This is a nice one. This is Sylvia Sweets Tea Room. This is from Brockton. And again, it’s advertising
that kind of lady life affair, the light stuff, the sweet stuff, and that’s not something
that a lot of the young women who probably went to this place, it’s a sort of aspirational
cuisine for them. That those peanut wafers
and pineapple lemonade of the middle class ladies cookbook, but they could find a
kind of cheaper imitation in a place like this. Now, another thing that happens towards the end of the 19th century is that those women,
the middle class women, who have suddenly all the free time start using it to go out. And they find that they’ve
got a new role in society, which is shopping. So they start going to
the new department stores that are created just for them. Great, big palaces of
pleasure and consumption. So they go to these shopping places and the owners of the department stores start to discover that there’s a problem. Women get hungry shopping and they leave. So they go out to a
place like Sylvia Sweets. So what you wanna do if
you own a department store is keep them inside. Give them a little snack and then hope that they will get back to the shopping. You know these places, right? These were some of my
favorite places as child. There was one in Bloomingdale’s that I thought was heaven. Do you remember 40 Carats? (Woman speaking off microphone) – Oh, wow. Yeah, people have very strong feelings about these places. This is the Wanamakers’s tea room. If any of you are from Philadelphia, you’re dying now. So this is a place for a lady to stop in for a little bite and then she continues her shopping. They’re often really kind
of buried in the store so that you can’t get out afterwards. You know, you had your
food and you’re still stuck in the maze of the department store. Here’s a menu. I don’t know if you
can see that very well. There are eggs, there’s chicken broth, there are lobster croquet. Croquets were the food for ladies round the turn of the century. It’s basically chopped off stuff with bread crumbs and some egg fried up into a little delicate thing. We don’t eat croquets anymore, by the way. Dry toast, I mean it’s
all pretty light stuff, and then there’s a nice big section of, how does that work? Green thing? Come on, help me. Okay, there you go. Doughnuts, lady fingers, macaroons. What is that? Euchred figs, chocolate eclair, all of this stuff. Raisin cake, tooty-fruity, cocoa. Again, very sweet light stuff. Occasionally, you’ll find a
steak on a menu like this, but not too often. There’s tongue there, little heavy. Small portions, yeah. So don’t be afraid. You’re not gonna get tired. You’re still gonna have
shopping power left at the end of the day. So again, the worlds of
lunch are really diverging in the late 19th century. And then this happens, right? World War II. In World War II, I’m sure you all know, it was necessary for national, for the economy, for national security to replace men who’d
left to fight in the war with women factory workers. So all of a sudden, lots and lots of women leaving the house everyday to do the exact kind of work that women weren’t supposed
to do, heavy lifting. And that this is like one
of the most famous picture from the era, right? What I care about in this picture today, most of all, is this. What is it? A sandwich. Is it dainty? No, it’s not at all, right? It’s a hefty sandwich. It’s more like the Ploughman’s. Big chunks of bread and maybe some meat and maybe some cheese. This is not a lady sandwich at all. And here are, oops. Too many clickers. There they are, the real Rosies. So these are some women who
worked in San Francisco in, what are they making there? I mean, they’ve got their visors on and forgetting what they actually make. Building ships, right, in
San Francisco, of course. Thank you. They’ve got some sandwiches and they’ve got their thermoses and their big heavy lunchboxes. They’re just sitting on the floor. Think about the difference between that and that. But it’s ladies. How can it be? It is because it was necessary. All of these gender assumptions that make the Wannamaker’s tea room happen have to be put aside momentarily, briefly to build the airplanes,
to build the ships. So we set that aside. And all of a sudden,
this is a great moment for reading American cookbooks. You suddenly find all these
chapters about sandwiches, and people hadn’t really
cared about sandwiches before. But suddenly, it’s this
whole category, right? You have to make sandwiches
to go in the lunchboxes to take to the factory. Some factories provided food. They provided food on special carts that were brought around just to make sure the factory workers
didn’t leave the premises at any time, so they stayed there. And you can see these ladies
are, like these women, are staying there to eat there lunch. These are also some war time workers, and again, it’s a very
different picture of eating. They’re just shoving that
food into their mouths. There’s nothing very delicate about them. Are they drinking beer? I wish. I wonder. I think it’s a soda fountain, but let’s say they’re drinking beer. So we get this fabulous book. This is a little bit later,
but it’s the sandwich manual. We all need the sandwich manual, I think. And you start to see, in the 40s, when people were writing about sandwiches, an assumption that men and women like different kinds of sandwiches, which from the picture of Rosie, you don’t get that at all. She’s eating a man sandwich. She’s doing a man’s job. But you start to see columns, male sandwiches, female sandwiches. Men were supposed to like meat sandwiches and woman had all these sandwiches that don’t exist anymore. Well, I mean, they exist,
but people don’t eat them. Things like chopped
steaks and cream cheese or a walnut spread with lettuce. And there’s always this
idea that women only like this light, dainty stuff. Which by the 40s, they’re not
as constrained physically. They don’t have the corsets on anymore. It’s possible to eat a good meat sandwich. I wanted to give an example, oh I’m running out of time. See, I could talk about
sandwiches forever. Okay, this is from a school. So this is actually in
1925, a little earlier. There was a kind of flurry of excitement about sandwiches when
sliced bread was invented, as you can imagine in their early 20s, people really thought it
was the greatest thing since sliced bread. And started to think about, you know, once you get a loaf of
bread that’s sliced, you know exactly how many
sandwiches are in your future. So if you think about it,
that’s a pretty powerful knowledge to have. So this is from a manual
about school lunches. Boys like heavy meat
sandwiches thickly cut while girls prefer jam,
lettuce, and cream cheese sandwiches daintily served. So this is the assumption about the two, and unfortunately for the boys, this doesn’t really take into account the metabolism of the youngster that eating a great, big heavy meal in the middle of the day might not be so good for junior when he goes on to try and study math, that maybe the lighter lunch of the girl is gonna give her an advantage. But I’m, as you know, not
a nutritionist at all. It’s just a guess. Okay, I’m gonna finish now. Sorry. In the 20th century,
lunch has been politicized in a couple of different ways. You’ll know what I mean. This. So during the depression, many, many children were
only getting their meals from their schools, and teachers noticed this
especially home economists. Home Ec teachers realized that for many families, the only meal that the school child was getting was the meal that the
school was providing. So they became very interested in the nutrition of that meal and they became very
interested in spreading the school lunch program. Eventually, in 1946, there is a National School Lunch Act. So every child is supposed to have access to a cheap or free lunch. This becomes incredibly complicated because the school lunch program is also setup to deal with
surplus agricultural stuff. And so what the school
lunchroom is getting to make the lunches out of is whatever the farmers have too much of. And if you’ve been
keeping up with food news recently in America, you know that mostly, what farmers have too much of is corn. So we see a lot of overuse
of corn and corn syrup and lunches up to today as well. So there’s a federal School Lunch Act that’s supposed to feed hungry kids and this. These moments, which you’ve
seen again and again and again, but it’s lunch, right? All they want is to have lunch. This is probably the
most font lunch, right? So this is in Jackson,
Mississippi in 1963. A sit in just for the right to have lunch. And it’s something that
was mentioned a lot by servicemen when they
came home from World War II. African-American servicemen who had fought in the war for America, fighting fascism. They came home and then many of them remembered after the war, going to have lunch and not
being able to get lunch. And that not getting lunch was such an affront. So it’s not I think accidental at all that this happens in a
public daytime space, that it’s not a coincidence
that the sit-ins happened at lunch counters. And here’s one, an incredible picture. This is in Raleigh, North Carolina. Rather than serve
African-American patrons, they took the seats off the stools. No lunch for anybody if they can’t have just white lunch. And then, oh yes, okay (laughs). So by the 1950s, there’s this culture of the three martini lunch, the knowledge worker. Somebody who doesn’t have
to do any heavy lifting can just go out and get
plastered every day for lunch, and Madmen, the AMC TV series really celebrates this culture. It’s an interesting show because it shows that culture kind of on the wane. And there’s a scene
from Madmen that is far too disgusting for me to show you. But I’m going to describe it, which would be even worse. These two characters
are knowledge workers. They’re ad men, right? So all they have to do
is have brilliant ideas, and they can be drunk
while they’re doing it. It’s a great job. So they go out for lunch and there’s some personal
stuff between them that I won’t get into. But they’re challenging each other to eat more and more and more oysters. And they eat and they eat and they eat and they can do this, right? ‘Cause they don’t have
to do any heavy work. Then they go back to their office to meet a client and
the elevator’s broken. And they have to climb 26
stories up in the stairs. When they get to the top,
one of them, Roger, pukes. It’s disgusting. But he does because he’s
eating the wrong lunch for the kind of behavior that
he suddenly has to perform. It’s a very interesting
moment for a lunch historian but, really, really gross. So you’re happy I didn’t show you, right? And this is the kind of
thing that they’re having. I won’t bore you with another menu. Okay, this place. So this is the kind of place where that culture continues. The lunch where you get to show off how much time you can spend having lunch. And then, one last radical shift. I hope it works. Otherwise, I’ll just tell you. No, it doesn’t like to. It’s not going to. Sorry, I set it up, but it’s a movie Wall Street which is about the new
work culture of the ’80s. Go, go, go, go, go, right? No relaxing. And it’s the great line. Who knows what it is? Do you know what Gordon Gekko says? Gordon Gekko is the hero of the antihero. Yeah? (Audience speaking off microphone) Before greed is good. He’s on the phone with somebody, and, oh don’t worry about it. I can act it out. Yeah, yeah. I’ve been practicing. He’s on the phone with somebody. He’s making all these deals. He’s spending and losing
millions of dollars in half a second. And he’s on phone with
someone and he says, “Lunch? “Lunch is for wimps.” So this whole new culture. And that I think is the kind of culture that we’re living in today. That to be seen stopping for lunch is to show that you stopped
moving for a minute. You’re not making the killing that you’re supposed to be making. And so that’s really been
a kind of pervasive idea. People eating at their desks
to show that they’re not slacking off. More appropriations putting in lunchrooms so that people aren’t
leaving the premises. They could just grab
something and keep going. There’s a really funny little graphic of this little guy. I think we’ve all been
this sorry at some point. And then there’s this last
thing I wanted leave you with, which is a new movement
about school lunch, which is the Edible Schoolyard movement, started by Alice Waters
who’s a famous chef out in Berkeley, California. And it’s a movement
that’s kind of spreading across the country to get away from the reliance on agriculture
surplus for school food to combat childhood obesity, to make everything better basically, as far as Alice Water is concerned. To grow your lunch. So while I would not suggest that you all have to grow your own lunch, I would urge you to enjoy it, right? And that it’s not for wimps (laughs). So thank you very much for coming. Oh, you can ask questions. (applause) – Isn’t she great? Another round, please. (applause) How wonderful it is to take a topic and it brings out so many different issues from politics to relationships
at home to economics. Really wonderfully done, Megan. Thank you so very much for that very, very wonderful lecture. Before I start opening
the floor for questions, and I know that there are
gonna be a lot of questions, and I’m gonna try to do a Phil Donahue, for those of you who
remember Phil Donahue. I’ll try to give you the microphone. But I wanna ask the
members of the committee who chose Megan to give
us this wonderful lecture to please stand and be recognized. Dr. Gillespie. (applause) These are the people who had the idea and help me determine who
is gonna be the speaker. I also wanna ask the people
who have spoken before, those of you who have given
presidential lectures, please stand. I know Sasan is here. (applause) Well. I am certain the other ones
are plugged in via the Internet and are eating their lunch while they are watching Dr. Elias with her wonderful lecture. I will open the floor for questions. I know that a lot of you are hungry and there are gonna be
some refreshments outside. But let’s start out with you. – [Man] Everyone started to
drinking beer instead of water. Explain why. What are the reason for that? – Oh, why beer is better than water? – [Man] They were drinking
beer instead of water cause it’s alpha to drink beer than water. – Yeah, ’cause beer uses water but, well, I have a farmer student here who could probably enter the discussion, but I won’t put him on the spot. To make beer, you have to boil water so it becomes sterilized in the process, and then beer is alcohol, right? And alcohol prohibits
the growth of bacteria. So it’s safe, and it was nutritious too. I mean, it has a little but of nutrition. I don’t wanna push that issue too much, but yeah, it made people feel healthy and water made them feel sick. – Dr. Clingan? – [Dr. Clingan] Megan, you
touched a few times in your talk about relationship between
sleep cycles and meals, and I just wanna ask a question, in a time when artificial
lighting was expensive and rare, many people go to bed at sundown and then they would rise
in the middle of the night for maybe two or even three hours. To what degree was this
most private of meals, a midnight snack, institutionalized and then lost over time? – I don’t know. There’s a wonderful book called
the Watchers of the Night that just came out about
life during the night, and I really don’t know
about night time meals, ’cause they don’t appear in cookbooks, unless they’re on
purpose midnight suppers, which are very trendy at
the turn of the century. Those kinds of meals were
like the women’s lunches of the 18th century, that they’re just kinda snatched. You know, that served the
essence of the midnight snack. It’s not something you plan. You don’t shop for your snack,
or I don’t wanna presume. In general, I haven’t read about people making a shopping list that
includes their midnight snack. It’s usually what you eat, what’s left and often what you didn’t permit yourself to eat during the day, right? The ice cream. I’m just talking about the ice cream. – I think it’s also, yeah. – I know from reading
documents from England besides just Jane Austen that the middle class, the
gentry, the upper class would sometimes partake of nuncheon. – Right, right. – And I’m wondering what it’s… I couldn’t figure out what it was, either how it related to
luncheon or what they were eating because they never specify. – Yeah, it’s a peculiar word, and the whole etymology
of the word of lunch, it has a lot of different
possible ancestors, like most important words. We don’t know quite where it came from. So luncheon is kind of a formal thing. The meals that they’re eating are probably the first
meal of the day for them. It’s just a big thing,
like lots of roast birds and pies and meat pies
and all that kinda stuff. So luncheon would be
something that was more, a more kind of planned affair. It wasn’t something that
just happen everyday like dinner, which happens
for workers everyday but not for her class, right? Yeah, I’ve just been rereading Jane Austen looking for all the food in it. – [ Woman] And nuncheon,
it starts with an n, right? – Oh, right, yeah, okay. So that’s one of the
possible ancestors for it. That’s from the 16th century from Germany kind of a noon eating. The other possible ancestor
for lunch is lonja. It’s a Spanish word, forgive
my terrible pronunciation but I need to say the ja part to make sense of how it’s an
ancestor, which means slice. And so just like the slice that you eat during the middle of the day. And you have to remember
stuff like sandwiches, you know, the whole
mythology of the sandwich that’s invented by the Earl of Sandwich. That’s something he was
eating during a card game, so not sitting down,
definitely not at noon. Probably at three o’clock in the morning. And we know the actual
existence of sandwiches predates everything. I mean, if you’ve just had a seder, you know from your Halal
sandwich that they’ve been around before any Earls got to eating them. (audience speak off microphone) – Yes, yeah. (audience speak off microphone) – [Man] It’s just family service. So it’s gotta be a fast lunch. – Yeah, there’s a whole… – [Dr. Marti] Did you all hear that? – Oh yeah, he’s asking
about the luncheonette. Those places where there’s
a counter and little stools and you can kinda perch, and then leave and there are no tables to sit down. A little luncheon place, yeah. That’s a great way to think of it. So there’s this whole
history of the object of the place where you eat lunch, going from those wagons to
people using old train cars and then other people just thinking, oh train travel’s so glamorous. People really used to think that. I’m just gonna make my
restaurant look like a train car to attract customers. So there’s some of it is
actually old train cars used cause they’re cheap and others are imitation
because trains themselves were glamorous. But all places you could
get in fast, get out, it’s cheap, right? There’s not a lot of
overhead to the luncheonette. You don’t have to put out the table cloth or hire the chef and you can see the
person cooking the food so you know just how fast they’re moving. You know that you can get in and get out. So the rushed lunch just gets
faster and faster and faster through the 20th century. There used to be these ads on TV which I think they took away probably that I was so enraged by them. These things, these little
like cups of something that people were supposed
to knock back for lunch. This of a soup, but there’s no way you could’ve heated it. Do you remember these things? And it was always women shown eating them, that women are too busy to have lunch, and they just drove me crazy because nobody’s too busy for lunch. – [Dr. Marti] I’m starting to see some of the students are here and they’re probably thinking about when did McDonald’s begin
and what is the history of fastfood and its
relationship to luncheon? – Right. Do they have to? Yeah, okay. So fast food comes with
the highways, basically. Once people are traveling
by car, they need to eat. People open up little
places where you can, again, get in, get out, go on your journey. And the standardization of
them is because of travel. So instead of traveling
from state to state to state and just taking your chance
with Mo’s Luncheonette or Megan’s pie shop, who knows
what you’re gonna get there? If you’ve seen the establishment, Howard Johnson’s was one of the first. If you’ve seen it in your state and you see it on the next state, you know what it was like in your state, so you’re gonna be safe with it. It’s a fear of difference, right? It’s the fear of eating something that’s gonna make you sick, right? Paradoxically, it often makes you sick. – Every once in a while, every once in a while, I’ve been, although I don’t look
at and talk into going into an afternoon tea, I was just wondering, does
that any have correlations with lunch or is that an
entity all to its self? – Yeah, that’s its own meal, and I’ll be happy to give another lecture about tea (laughs). I think I was talking about, I think I was talking about this, yeah, earlier this week to my class, we’re talking about
the American revolution and the importance of tea. Tea time is something
that you could afford or not afford, right? So it was sort of a way to show class, to show status. I can stop in the middle of the afternoon and somebody else can do my housework while I pause and refresh myself and have a little cake. And it’s really a wonderful thing, but it definitely is not just a meal; it’s a performance too, as you know, if you’ve been
to a professional tea place. There are all these rituals and what you can have
and what you can’t have, and you’re probably one of
the few male people there ’cause it’s associated with a woman’s day. And, you know, there are very different kind of history of tea for
the working class in England. There’s a wonderful book
called Sweetness and Power that talks about the history of sugar. And the use of a very, very sugary jam and sugar and tea to get workers through the last part of the day. It’s a complicated issue. Yeah, so you ventured out
of your gender territory when you went to the tea room. And those tea rooms were
meant to be safe spaces from people like you. – Any other questions? Yes? – [Man] Are there countries in the world that really have no lunch
tradition any longer? I would say countries that
are not as industrialized as the United States, perhaps. – I bet there are. I mean, I really don’t know about this, but lunch, yeah, the specific time, the kinds of things
you’re expected to eat, it’s very much tied to industrialism. And before that, it just happened before Europeans came to America. There are really people who lived here didn’t have set meal times. They have a bubbling
pot of something going and you just stopped in and ate it when you felt like eating it. The idea of meal times, of
cutting up the day like that is very modern. And yeah, there probably are. You should become an anthropologist and find out and tell me. Yes, okay, good, good. That was easy. – One more. – [Man] In some countries
specially Europe, the lunch time meal is like a full meal, and then in the evening,
you just have a salad or something light. We’re doing it a little different. – Yes, we are. We are. It’s part of the, sort of, well, some of us are doing it differently and some of us aren’t. You get the upper class who had, by the 18th century,
American upper classes having great big breakfast
and then great big dinner. And then they kinda just
add in a great big lunch. In general, the kind of the big lunch and the lighter supper is more, and it has to do with ideas
about leisure and work and whether it’s like,
how do you say this? Whether it’s appropriate
to talk about work and the kind of the sense of
democratization in America, that okay, everybody can afford to have, everybody should have a
baguette on every plate. That kind of idea. And you know there are
very different styles, different food ways in Europe and different parts of Europe. There’s that whole issue about how come French women don’t get fat? The talk with the little meals. And our big meals are part
of our idea about ourselves. We can do it. We have a lot of land. We can raise all those cows
and we can eat all those cows, all at the same time. But it’s a really interesting concept. – I said one more, but
I’d give you one more and that’s it. (man speaking off microphone) – 1891 is also the time when the medical community and the public became more aware of bacteria. And since lunches is a meal, you generally had no say in
terms of its preparation. – You? I do. – Well, no, with normal
people eating off vans. – Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. – [Man] Was there any
kind of coming together of two forces where
people would discourage the eating of out,
because of the weariness of micro-organisms, which
is becoming more and more… – Yeah, definitely. But at the end of the 19th century, people are really obsessed with germs, and that’s another reason
that the luncheonette has the open kitchen. The idea that if you can see
the guy making the lunch, it’s gonna be clean. You know that’s not true, right? But it’s just gonna, this
appearance of cleanliness. That’s also why people were
so excited about sliced bread and packaged bread. And this has really changed lately, where everybody in New York, they’re so excited
about the artisanal loaf and you can see the thumb
print of the baker in it. In the end of the 19th century, you did not wanna see the
thumb print of the baker ’cause it was dirty. You wanted it plastic and perfect. And it’s the same kind of thing
with the chain restaurants, the fast food restaurants, that it’s all exactly the same and it’s all shipped
together, hermetically sealed. Yeah, so that definitely the fear of germs affects our food aesthetic, really. And then it’s switching back. People want the dirtiness of
the farmer’s market carrots or you know. – I’m gonna be bad. One more and then that’s it (laughs). – Please stop. – You, you. – [Man] My question
relates to his in terms of like there’s this a lot
of talk in the Internet about having a better, bigger lunch, in terms of, comparing to dinner. I was curious from a nutritional
standpoint because they say but at dinner there’s a lot of calories that can’t convert overnight. Is it better to have a
bigger, better lunch than… – I have no idea. I’m not a nutritionist at all. I mean, I only know what I’ve
read from 1930s nutritionists, what they were saying, and they tested stuff on
rats and yeah, I don’t know. I don’t know. I’m not qualified to give any advice. I think there are people in the room who are qualified to
give that kind of advice and you can ask them. – Well, that’s gonna be the next lecture. We have some refreshments outside. Please join me in thanking Dr. Elias for a wonderful lecture. (applause) – Oh, I forgot. – I also believe that this is an example of why scholarship is so very important in community college education. Imagine what the students are getting when they are in class and they are talking to
Dr. Elias about history and some of them say anything about food and suddenly, there she goes. So thank you so very, very much. – I also have a book. – And if you wanna buy
the book, it’s right here. – I will sign it, but it’s
very expensive so don’t bother. Thank you so much. It was really a treat. I really value that.

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. She talked about the food evolution in the Unaited States, first she introducing about his trajectory. she pass a pictures and explain each. the picture show the fist activities of the people…farmers, livestock, etc..and the traditional cultives when corner and beens. she sample tyhe basket in a tirhd pictire and mencioned the lunch in this time, in the basket had cheese, pears and bread…its a very interesting conference becausse introducing the evolution of the society through the food.

  2. 34min,即红酒等消费品供管理阶层享用,而咖啡等能够提高工作效率的速食供工人食用。此为众多工业化为人类饮食习惯带来的变化之一。另外,欧洲本来没有午餐的习惯,每天的零食均为妇女在家准备,出现在劳作场所,此时即为用餐时刻,工人如此,而贵族更没有午餐一说,通常他们起床很晚,一顿丰盛早餐,若干零食,直至丰盛晚餐。这种饮食习惯被带入美国,随工业化程度提高,演变成工人定时定点吃午饭,今次能够保证工作效率与统一饮食的结合。

  3. Lunch in America is a descendent of lunch in Northern Europe, you mention. During what time period in Northern Europe?  Thanks!

  4. Terrible title for what was presented. Shouldn't this be European history or
    Western philosophy on food history?

  5. I love Dr. Megan J. Elias' presentation skills. She doesn't present, she tells a story. Of course, her story on lunch culture is very American-centric, and not necessarily relevant for European (let alone African or Asian) lunch culture. But it seems to be a very good summary of American lunch culture, and all things that influenced it. I have watched it until the end, even though I had the chance just to move on to one of those many other interesting videos. I will definitely watch more of her talks.

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