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Dining Out at the Dawn of the New American Century, 1900-1910

Michael Lesy (Author, Hampshire College), Lisa Stoffer (Author)

Overview | Inside the Book

What we ate, how we ate, and how eating changed during America’s first real food revolution, 1900–1910.

Before Julia Child introduced the American housewife to France’s cuisine bourgeoise, before Alice Waters built her Berkeley shrine to local food, before Wolfgang Puck added Asian flavors to classical dishes and caviar to pizza, the restaurateurs and entrepreneurs of the early twentieth century were changing the way America ate. Beginning with the simplest eateries and foods and culminating with the emergence of a genuinely American way of fine dining, Repast takes readers on a culinary tour of early-twentieth-century restaurants and dining. The innovations introduced at the time—in ingredients, technologies, meal service, and cuisine—transformed the act of eating in public in ways that persist to this day. Illustrated with photographs from the time as well as color plates reproducing menus from the New York Public Library’s Buttolph Menu Collection, Repast is a remarkable record of the American palate.

Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • October 2013
  • ISBN 978-0-393-07067-5
  • 7.9 × 9.6 in / 264 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Endorsements & Reviews

“[A] kaleidoscopic mix of contemporary news stories, research, and gorgeous reproductions of menus from the era, festooned with illustrations of everything from bluebirds to rakish swimmers.” — Melanie Rehak, Bookforum

“Concentrating on those [menus] from the fateful decade between 1900 and 1910, he and Stoffer, his co-author and wife, discover tales of class, gender and race, industrialization and progressivism, immigration and xenophobia—all the great themes of early-twentieth-century America and, of course, of today. The result is a portrait not only of a food and dining culture that would come, over the next hundred years, to dominate and shape the nation, but also of a nation that would come to dominate and shape the world.” — Brett Martin, GQ.com

“Lesy and Stoffer have written a fascinating account of the American dining experience at the beginning of the 20th century.” — Gwarlingo

Also by Michael Lesy All

  1. Book CoverLong Time Coming: A Photographic Portrait of America, 1935-1943


  2. Book CoverMurder City: The Bloody History of Chicago in the Twenties


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