By Andrew P. Haley
Within the 19th century, eating places served French nutrition to upper-class american citizens with aristocratic pretensions, yet via the 20th century, even the easiest eating places dished up ethnic and American meals to middle-class urbanites spending an evening in town. In Turning the Tables, Andrew Haley examines the transformation of yankee public eating at the beginning of the 20th century and argues that the beginning of the fashionable American eating place helped identify the center type because the arbiter of yankee tradition.
Early twentieth-century battles over French-language menus, clinical consuming, ethnic eating places, unescorted ladies, tipping, and servantless eating places pitted the center category opposed to the elite. United by way of their shared personal tastes for less complicated food and English-language menus, middle-class diners defied confirmed conventions and effectively stressed restaurateurs to include cosmopolitan principles of eating that mirrored the personal tastes and needs of middle-class patrons.
Drawing on culinary magazines, menus, eating place journals, and newspaper bills, together with many who have by no means prior to been tested by way of historians, Haley lines fabric alterations to eating places on the flip of the century that exhibit that the conflict among the higher classification and the center category over American buyer tradition formed the ''tang and feel'' of existence within the 20th century
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Additional resources for Turning the Tables: Restaurants and the Rise of the American Middle Class, 1880-1920
They worried about the cost of raw materials, experienced hardships during economic downturns, and were pragmatic about government regulations (endorsing, for example, pure food laws and opposing Prohibition). Nor were restaurants isolated from larger shifts in urban culture. Changes in restaurant dining were closely tied to all aspects of public life, and the restaurant was often the public proving ground at the center of controversy. Debates about the role of women, public smoking, tipping, nationalism, internationalism, and nutrition accompanied the growth of restaurants in the twentieth century.
11 Yet these were intangible characteristics and hardly exclusive to the wealthiest Americans. To distinguish themselves publicly, members of the upper class engaged in unprecedented conspicuous consumption. 12 Not every newly minted businessman sought the social sanction that prodigal spending might bring, but a signiﬁcant number— calling themselves “Society”— did, and once “Society” had taken root, it inspired competition and even more extravagant acts of splendor. 13 Lavish consumption had a practical purpose.
56 A 1900 textbook used by primary school teachers to teach domestic science repeated the well-worn tale. [sic], in [the] seventeenth century,” the textbook claimed, “when the nobles vied with each other in compounding delicate dishes. . After the Revolution, the cooks of the nobles, being obliged to provide for themselves, established restaurants where the most delicate and elaborate products of their skill were at the service of the one who could pay the price. ”57 But there was no truth to the legend.
Turning the Tables: Restaurants and the Rise of the American Middle Class, 1880-1920 by Andrew P. Haley