Skip to content

Deconstructing Dinner – Grain | Bread | Tomato | Erie Canal | Culinary History

December 28, 2009

December 17, 2009
“EATING HISTORY w/ ANDREW SMITH”

LISTEN TO ARCHIVED VERSION

download/open | stream

Eating History This episode is truly in the spirit of “deconstructing” our food and features a talk delivered by Andrew Smith – a writer and lecturer on food and culinary history. His latest book is Eating History – 30 Turning Points in the Making of American Cuisine. The diet of the modern American wasn’t always as corporate, conglomerated, and corn-rich as it is today. Smith demonstrates how, by revisiting this history, we can reclaim the independent, locally sustainable roots of American food.

Andrew was recorded speaking in November 2009 at the Kansas City Public Library in Kansas City, Missouri.

Voices

Andrew Smith, author Eating History: 30 Turning Points in the Making of American Cuisine (New York, NY) – Andrew teaches Culinary History at the New School in New York City. He’s the editor-in-chief of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America and he’s the author or editor of 14 other books including The Tomato in America: Early History, Culture and Cookery, and Popped Culture: A Social History of Popcorn in America.


Musical Selection (name/title/album/label)
Theme/Soundclip – Adham Shaikh, Infusion, Fusion, Sonic Turtle (CDN)

Sylvester Graham

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Reverend Sylvester Graham (July 5, 1794 – September 11, 1851) was an American dietary reformer. He was born in Suffield, Connecticut, and was ordained in 1826 as a Presbyterian minister. He entered Amherst College in 1823 but did not graduate. He was an early advocate of dietary reform in the United States and was most notable for his emphasis on vegetarianism and the temperance movement, as well as dietary habits.

In 1829 he invented Graham bread, and the recipe first appeared in The New Hydropathic Cookbook (New York, 1855). It showed that Graham bread was made from unsifted flour and free from chemical additives such as alum and chlorine. Graham argued that chemical additives in bread made it unwholesome. The use of additives by bakeries was a common practice during the Industrial Revolution to make bread whiter in color, and more commercially appealing. Darker wheat bread was considered the fare of country rubes. Refined bread was a status symbol of the middle class because of its “purity and refinement” in its color and was purchased, rather than home-made. Graham believed that a firm bread made of coarsely ground whole-wheat flour was more nutritious and healthy.

Graham was also inspired by the temperance movement and preached that a vegetarian diet was a cure for alcoholism, and, more importantly, sexual urges. The main thrust of his teachings was to curb lust. While alcohol had useful medicinal qualities, it should never be abused by social drinking. For Graham, an unhealthy diet stimulated excessive sexual desire which irritated the body and caused disease. While Graham developed a significant following known as Grahamites, he was also ridiculed by the media and the public for his unwavering zealotry. According to newspaper records, many women fainted at his lectures when he aired opinions both on sexual relations and the wearing of corsets.

In 1837 he had difficulty finding a place to speak in Boston because of threatened riots by butchers and commercial bakers. In 1850 he helped found the American Vegetarian Society modeled on a similar organization established in Great Britain. He died the following year, at the age of 58, in Northampton, Massachusetts, where a restaurant, Sylvester’s, now sits on the former location of his house. Graham influenced notable figures in America, including Horace Greeley and John Harvey Kellogg of Battle Creek Sanitarium fame.

Of his numerous writings, the best known were Lectures on the Science of Human Life (Boston, 1839), of which several editions of the two-volume work were printed in the United States and sales in England were widespread, and Lectures to Young Men on Chastity.

Today, Graham is best known as the father of Graham crackers.[1]

Advertisements
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: