Savory Suppers and Fashionable Feasts: Dining in Victorian America

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Univ. of Tennessee Press, 1996 - History - 335 pages
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Savory Suppers and Fashionable Feasts offers a delightfully flavorful tour of dining in America during the second half of the nineteenth century. Susan Williams investigates the manners and morals of that era by looking at its eating customs and cooking methods. As she reveals, genteel dining became an increasingly important means of achieving social stability during a period when Americans were facing significant changes on a variety of fronts - social, cultural, intellectual, technological, and demographic. Focusing on the rapidly expanding middle class, Williams not only examines mealtime rituals, but she looks at the material culture of Victorian dining: the furniture, the furnishings, and the growing array of accouterments - from asparagus tongs to sardine servers and lace doilies - that supported genteel expectations for tableside behavior. She also explores changing ideas about meals - how they fit into the daily schedule and what kinds of food and drink came to characterize specific meals and menus. Complementing Williams's analysis and descriptions is a lavish array of illustrations, as well as a rich sampling of recipes from the diaries and cookbooks of the era. The result is at once an informative look at life in Victorian America and a sumptuous celebration of a key moment in the country's culinary experience.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - RachelfromSarasota - LibraryThing

An antiquarian’s joy, this lovely book is an examination of the evolution of “fine dining” in Victorian-era America. From the furnishing of a middle-class dining room, to the proper etiquette for ... Read full review

Savory suppers & fashionable feasts: dining in Victorian America

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

This lively and informative volume gives a good general picture of the eat ing patterns of the middle and upper classes in late 19th-century America. Separate chapters are devoted to "The Victorian ... Read full review


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