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During WWII, a whole host of new food technologies were developed to aid the war effort. In this podcast we’re going to explore how these technologies became the template for American eating in the postwar era. We’ll see how freeze-dried and convenience foods, TV dinners, and chain restaurants shaped food culture. Then we’ll take a look at the phenomenon of fast food and the McDonald’s business model that became a global phenomenon.
Images for this Episode:
Culinary Activities for this Episode:
• Experiment: Is Fast Food Really So Fast? A Hamburger Race
Find a partner to challenge in this race. Each of you should have 10 dollars and your own separate cars. Start the timer. Competitor one will go to the closest fast-food outlet and come back with as many hamburgers as can be bought with 10 dollars. Competitor two will go to the nearest grocery store and will purchase ground beef, buns, ketchup, lettuce, and pickles. Then, come home and cook hamburgers as quickly as possible, either inside in a pan or outdoors on a grill. This is partly a competition to see which is faster, but also compare how many hamburgers you could get for 10 dollars.
Compare the taste of the hamburgers, too. Which was the better option? Which involved more time, labor, and forethought? Which ultimately “cost” more, not merely in terms of money, but also in expenditure of labor? If the competition was fairly close, why do people rely so much on fast food? Is it merely good advertising and the idea of convenience?
Belasco and Scranton, Food Nations: Selling Taste in Consumer Societies.
Bobrow-Strain, White Bread: A Social History of the Store-Bought Loaf.
Counihan, Food in the USA: A Reader.
McFeeley, Can She Bake a Cherry Pie?
Rosenblum, Olives: The Life and Lore of a Noble Fruit.
Zweiniger-Bargielowska, Food and War in Twentieth Century Europe.
Images courtesy of: