GardenShare

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Monday, September 5, 2016

New book "A Square Meal"



Like us today, during the Great Depression our grandparents grappled with a barrage of advice from nutritionists on the best foods to eat. A new book, “A Square Meal” by Jane Ziegelman and Andrew Coe is an absorbing account of how the Depression changed American eating habits. The Depression gave reformers the opportunity not simply to try to avert hunger, Ziegelman and Coe write, but to change the way America eats. These reformers believed that modern scientific research on nutrition offered the key to improving a misguided and wasteful American diet. First, Wilbur Atwater at Wesleyan University established baseline calorie needs and measured the caloric value of common foods.; then Elmer McCollum and others figured out which vitamins and trace elements were important. They argued that milk was the most perfect food. Armed with this information, nutritionists, home economists, and government officials convinced food companies to fortify their foods and advised homemakers on the best diets for their families. In the process, regional home cooking drowned in a sea of creamed casseroles and milky chowders, the authors assert.

Source: Wall Street Journal, 8/17/16, Depression Dining