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Ch. 23 - THE PERILS OF PLENTY

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 August 2009

Kenneth F. Kiple
Affiliation:
Bowling Green State University, Ohio
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Summary

These same forces – improvements in transportation, preservation, and distribution – liberating Americans from seasonality also continued to free them from the dictates of regional geography.

Harvey Levenstein (1993)

IT IS WORTH REPEATING that many of the breakthroughs in nutritional science paradoxically occurred during the depression years of food riots, soup kitchens, and breadlines, where the hungry in the cities shoved aside dogs and cats to get at the contents of garbage cans, and rural folks ate wild roots and plants. These were years when morbidity and mortality rates caused by pellagra, scurvy, and rickets were rising alarmingly, and bowleggedness continued to be a common sight.

Needless to say, it was not a time for experimenting with foreign foods, nor were the food-rationed war years that followed. Despite rationing, however, Americans ate better than ever during the war although this did not prevent the “experts” from touching off a brief episode of vitamin hysteria, beginning in 1943 when the Food and Nutrition Board erroneously told Americans – now back to work with plenty of money to spend – that their diets were dangerously deficient in many of the chief nutrients. Such foolishness only underscores the fact that the functions and chemistry of vitamins and minerals were still poorly understood. So did proposals for widespread vitamin supplementation, with bread, cereals, milk, and oleomargarine all fortified during the war.

Type
Chapter
Information
A Movable Feast
Ten Millennia of Food Globalization
, pp. 253 - 266
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2007

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  • THE PERILS OF PLENTY
  • Kenneth F. Kiple, Bowling Green State University, Ohio
  • Book: A Movable Feast
  • Online publication: 22 August 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511512148.025
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  • THE PERILS OF PLENTY
  • Kenneth F. Kiple, Bowling Green State University, Ohio
  • Book: A Movable Feast
  • Online publication: 22 August 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511512148.025
Available formats
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  • THE PERILS OF PLENTY
  • Kenneth F. Kiple, Bowling Green State University, Ohio
  • Book: A Movable Feast
  • Online publication: 22 August 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511512148.025
Available formats
×