Eating in Eden

Drawing from interests in utopian communities and religious history, Madden & Finch highlight in Eating in Eden American food practices that range from those of colonial English Puritans and Spanish Catholics to those of more recent groups of European Jews and Indian Hindus. The collection of thirteen essays, interdisciplinary in scope, begins with an introduction that provides an overview of food studies and views of utopian life in America. Other chapters discuss topics as rich and varied as male dining clubs in Revolutionary America and 19th-century women’s colleges, tv cooking shows, vegetarian cookbooks, and food co-ops. The Shakers, Oneida Community and the Amana Colony of Inspirationists are among the more traditional communal groups considered.

Contributors include Martha L. Finch, Phillip H. Round, Trudy Eden, Mary Rizzo, Kathryn McClymond, Ellen Posman, Jonathan G. Andelson, Priscilla J. Brewer, Wendy E. Chmielewski, Monica Mak, Maria McGrath and Debra Shostak.

(U Nebraska Press 2006)

What readers are saying about Eating in Eden

Susan Wiggins, Gastronomica

“the good intentions of the middle class often fail to reach poor, ethnic populations that struggle with diabetes and childhood obesity. Slow Food members may celebrate indigenous foodways, artisan breads and cheeses, and prefer buying organic, but encouraging people to pay more for less food or to take the time to make meals from scratch and grow their own vegetables is not realistic for many Americans. Yet, the belief that the quality of food affects one’s quality of life remains pervasive. There will always be new groups that proclaim the benefits of new diets, and one can always be sure that they are participating in a very old practice.”

- Susan Wiggins, Gastronomica

Abigail Carroll, Material Culture

“Scholarly, yet easy to read, Eating in Eden will appeal to a broad range of readers, especially those interested in American culture and food history. . . . the book’s composite portrait of American experimental idealism is substantial, and its focus on food, pioneering.”

- Abigail Carroll, Material Culture

CHOICE Magazine – S. C. Hardesty, Georgia State University

“thought-provoking to those with an interest in food studies and role of food in these types of communities. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers; upper-division undergraduates through faculty.”

- CHOICE Magazine – S. C. Hardesty, Georgia State University

Rebecca Oppenheimer, Arbutus Times

A mainstay of cold-weather holidays from Thanksgiving turkey to New Year’s champagne is the feast. In “Eating in Eden” (University of Nebraska, $34.95), editors Etta M. Madden and Martha L. Finch have compiled 13 lively, original essays on American culinary culture. This is a trendy subject, but “Eating in Eden” is broader, deeper and more eclectic than other recent volumes. The contributions explore immigrant foodways, ideological struggles within utopian communes, counterculture cookbooks and cooking on public television — to name only a few topics. History buffs and food enthusiasts will relish these journeys off the beaten path of American cuisine.

- Rebecca Oppenheimer, Arbutus Times

University of Nebraska Press

“This theoretically informed, interdisciplinary collection of thirteen essays broadens familiar definitions of utopianism and community to explore the ways Americans have produced, consumed, avoided, and marketed food and food-related products and meanings to further their visionary ideals.”

- University of Nebraska Press