PERFECTION SALAD by Laura Shapiro

PERFECTION SALAD

Women and Cooking at the Turn of the Century

KIRKUS REVIEW

Another in Gourmet editor Reichl’s new Food series of reprints (see Charpentier, above), this time a somewhat academic study chronicling the standardization of American cuisine at the turn of the century: a movement, based on supposedly scientific principles, that resulted in simply bland food. Kirkus (Jan. 1, 1986, p. 43) summarized Shapiro’s argument: the rise of domestic “science” spread from cooking schools to women’s magazines, hoping “to turn every home into a little laboratory.” Detailing some of the more risible facts gleaned from Shapiro’s narrative, we noted her account of the home-economics movement and “its apotheosis”—“the TV dinner.” But we also thought that too much was being “juggled” here, and that, “like a home economist’s menu,” Shapiro’s account failed to come up with “palatable or even digestible reading fare.” The aftereffect? “Dyspeptic.”

Pub Date: April 23rd, 2001
ISBN: 0-375-75665-5
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Modern Library
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2001




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