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Modern Food, Moral FoodSelf-Control, Science, and the Rise of Modern American Eating in the Early Twentieth Century$
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Helen Zoe Veit

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781469607702

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9781469607719_Veit

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Eating Cats and Dogs to Feed the World

Eating Cats and Dogs to Feed the World

The Progressive Quest for Rational Food

(p.37) 2 Eating Cats and Dogs to Feed the World
Modern Food, Moral Food

Helen Zoe Veit

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter shows that suggestions that Americans should eat cats, dogs, and a range of other seemingly bizarre foods were part of wide-ranging efforts in the first two decades of the twentieth century to establish rational justifications for the foods Americans ate, whether in the interest of health, economy, or patriotism, or—more nebulously but no less powerfully—in the interest of self-control as a moral virtue in its own right. Arguments for rational eating had circulated for decades, ranging from nineteenth-century health crazes to turn-of-the-century fad diets to long-standing attempts to get poor people to spend their food budgets more wisely to efforts to apply science to both agricultural production and industrial food processing.

Keywords:   moral virtue, agricultural production, rational eating, health crazes, fad diets, food budgets

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