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Casseroles, Can Openers, and Jell-O


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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Part I. Setting the Table

1. Food Is a Weapon

2. From the Factory to the Suburbs: New Social Roles for Women

3. Little Girls Make Fluffy Jell-O Desserts: Little Boys and Their Fathers Grill Steaks

Part II. Sitting Down and Unfolding Our Napkins

4. “If I Knew You Were Comin’, I’d Have Baked a Cake”: Cookbooks, Cooks, and Cooking

5. “Honey, I’m Home. What’s for Dinner?”: The 1950s American Diet, Part I

6. SPAM® and Jell-O Tell Their Stories While We Sit Back and Enjoy a Cola: The 1950s American Diet, Part II

7. Fancy Appetizers, Beef Stroganoff, and an Atomic Cocktail: Fun and Elegant Entertaining in the Suburbs, Part I

8. More Parties, the Cult of the Chafing Dish, and the Suburban Luau: Fun and Elegant Entertaining in the Suburbs, Part II

9. Foreign Foods? Chop Suey, Tamale Pie, Chef Boy-Ar-Dee, and Some Curry

Part III. Indigestion

10. Selling Plymouths to Men, Electric Can Openers to Women, and Televisions for All

11. Step Away from the Donuts: The Importance of Staying Healthy (in Case the Cold War Turns Hot)

Part IV. Watching History Unfold with an After-Dinner Drink

12. The Kitchen Debate: Vice President Richard M. Nixon and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev Meet in a Lemon-Yellow Kitchen, July 24, 1959


About the Author

Elizabeth Aldrich is Curator Emeritus of Dance at the Library of Congress. She is the author of From Ballroom to Hell: Grace and Folly in Nineteenth-Century Dance.


"A much-needed addition to the literature of the field. … It will be useful to university professors who teach culture in the Cold War, a growing field. In addition, with the playful quality of recipe inclusion, the book should appeal to general readers." — Victoria Phillips, author of Martha Graham's Cold War: The Dance of American Diplomacy

"Of interest to educated readers from among the baby boomer generation who would like to think about this mid-century through the perspective of food. For students, classes that focus on food history, postwar America, and perhaps women's studies would benefit from this book." — Anna Zeide, author of Canned: The Rise and Fall of Consumer Confidence in the American Food Industry

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