Posted by: Through the Eyes of Women | November 24, 2013

11-25-2013 Host Kathleen Marshall Speaks with Food Enthusiast and Historian Lisa Stoffer About Her New Book Repast: Dining Out at the Dawn of the New American Century, 1900 – 1910

Adobe Photoshop PDF    Lisa Stoffer grew up in a family of chefs.  Despite deciding that being a chef was just too much work, she did inherit a foodie’s sensibility and love of food.  That love, along with her passion for history which she shares with her husband and co-author, literary journalist Michael Lesy, gave birth to Repast: Dining Out at the Dawn of the New American Century, 1900 – 1910.

Lisa Stoffer and Michael Lesy

‘Repast’ tells the story of turn of the 20th Century America through the history of all things food.  Lisa Stoffer and Michael Lesy start with the end of the Spanish American War in 1898 and Teddy Roosevelt’s very public disgust with Army rations his soldiers were forced to eat (or throw out as was often the case).  They move on through the passage of America’s first Pure Food and Drug Act during Roosevelt’s presidency in 1906, to Upton Sinclair and his socialist indictment of capitalism, ‘The Jungle’.  Towards the end of the book, and the decade, they note the increasing popularity of home economists and cooking teachers like Fannie Farmer.  Finally, they delightedly reveal the long-lasting effects of the decade on the way we, as Americans, eat today.

‘Repast’ examines the forces at work during the industrial revolution, as well as the political, social and economic forces that started a food revolution.  One chapter is devoted to the history of women relative to social movements and food.  Inspired by Michael’s accidental discovery of the New York Public Library’s Buttolph Menu Collection, ‘Repast’ is beautifully illustrated with color reproductions of the menu’s in that unique collection.

Repast Menu

Lisa Stoffer is currently Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at Amherst College in Amherst, MA.  She is a graduate of Haverford College and received her Master’s Degree in Russian History from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.

Michael Lesy is a professor of literary journalism at Hampshire College.  He received a B.A. in theoretical sociology at Columbia University, an M.A. in American social history at the University of Wisconsin, and a Ph.D. in American cultural history at Rutgers University.


To listen to Kathleen’s conversation with Lisa Stoffer click the following link:    

To download this show go to the Entries RSS option under the META menu at right.

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