It takes nothing more than cracking open an old high school yearbook to be met with the immediate, sometimes painful, truth that clothing and hairstyles, perhaps once cool beyond words, do not always remain that way.
Cuisine goes through the similar passing of trends and fashions. No matter how we may tend to romanticize, in due course much of what we grew up with and probably loved will suffer the inevitable fate of most fads. Not all trends are cringe-worthy, but those that are tend to be the most memorable and the most cherished.
Sylvia Lovegren—food writer and historian, cookbook collector, and contributor to Petit Propos Culinaire—explores here American culinary fads from the 1920s to the 1990s. While Lovegren notes that food fads are by no means “new,” the technological advances of the 20th century—phones, cars, radios, television—enabled a “virality” never before seen, paving the way for today’s even faster-paced, Instagram-oriented standards.
In a good-humored voice, Lovegren provides historical context to the hows and whys of these curious trends. Why were the salads in the twenties so unbearably disgusting with their myriad gelatin concoctions or mayonnaise-dressed combinations of bananas and popcorn? What didn’t they flambé in the ‘60s (although we’ll concede that the bacon-topped, rum-flambéed baked beans pique curiosity)? What caused the shift from the trendiness and greed of the ‘80s to the “cuisine of poverty” that exemplified the early ‘90s?
Plenty of recipes are provided. To be sure, not everyone will want to hazard them, but who knows?—there is material enough here for a memorable dinner party. Fashionable Food is certainly most suited for avid readers in social and culinary history. Filled with black and white photographs, period graphics and design, food advertising, and historical material throughout aid in telling a story in which we all live.
Here we are pleased to be offering the 1995 second printing in Very Good condition with a VG, price clipped dust jacket. A note of warning: you will immediately be reminded of exactly how old you are when you stop laughing at the foibles of past generations and start thinking, “Well, now what’s so strange about that?”