Abigail Carroll: Three Squares - The Invention of the American Meal (Burlington)

Event date: 
Thursday, November 14, 2013 - 7:00pm

As a nation, we are obsessed with our food. We post pictures of spectacular meals to social media, blog about our latest adventures in the kitchen, and spend hours watching people cook for sport on TV. Food is not a mere necessity—it’s a way of life. After all, we are what we eat, as the saying goes. But we are also how we eat, and when, and where. Americans’ eating habits reveal as much about our shared history and current societal norms as the food on our plates. Our daily eating rituals seem so innate to us that most of us couldn’t explain why we drink orange juice in the morning, eat sandwiches for lunch, and enjoy a large hot family meal in the evening. It has just always been that way. Or has it? Find out at this event with Abigail Carroll.

In her new book Three Squares: The Invention of the American Meal, food scholar and historian Abigail Carroll fills us in on the story behind our modern eating habits, serving up a soup-to-nuts history of the American meal, from pease porridge and cornmeal mush to tuna-noodle casseroles and TV-Time Popcorn. Along the way she helps relieve the guilt many of us feel over such supposed transgressions as repeatedly failing to keep to the “sacred” family dinner, snacking between meals, and eating on the go. Carroll explains that our eating habits have never been stable and that the eating patterns we try so hard to adhere to today are relatively recent inventions that evolved over time and will continue to evolve going forward.

Abigail Carroll is an author and food historian who has taught in the Gastronomy Program at Boston University and has published articles in a variety of publications, including the New York Times. She holds a PhD in American Studies from Boston University and makes her home in Vermont.

Event address: 
191 Bank Street
05401 Burlington
Three Squares: The Invention of the American Meal Cover Image
ISBN: 9780465025527
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Basic Books (AZ) - September 10th, 2013

“I was enthralled by this account of how radically America’s meals have changed over time, from dinner pails to TV dinners…With warmth and scholarship, Abigail Carroll persuades us that much depends on breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as all the snacks in between.”
—Bee Wilson, author of Consider the Fork

“In Three Squares, Abigail Carroll has filled a gaping hole in our fetish for food histories. There are books on peanut butter, pumpkins, pancakes, milk, fried chicken, chocolate—the list goes on—but now we have the big picture. Learn here how the Industrial Revolution, television, and Mad Men affected how, when, and what we eat. You’ll never look at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and between-meal snacks the same way again.”
—Mark Pendergrast, author of For God, Country & Coca-Cola and Uncommon Grounds

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