Historic (rec.food.historic) Discussing and discovering how food was made and prepared way back when--From ancient times down until (& possibly including or even going slightly beyond) the times when industrial revolution began to change our lives.

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  #16 (permalink)   Report Post  
Old 14-11-2003, 05:05 AM
ASmith1946
 
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Default History of Counterculture Food

This may be just a semantic difference. There were certainly food reform
efforts in America before the 1960s and to some extent every reform effort is
countercultural by definition.

But the term "counterculture" was raised to specifically describe a broad
phenomena that began in the '60. It wasn't really a food reform effort, at
least it wasn't like Graham's or Kellogg's previous efforts. It was a political
movement -- with the anti-Vietnam War being the driving force. It certainly had
social and economic dimensions-- the attempt to create a better world through
communal living and the destruction (or replacement) of the capitalist economic
system. Food was just a side order.

As soon as Vietnam War ended, so did the counterculture movement, although
there are indeed remnants still around today.

Recent food fights-- re GMOs and globalization-- do have some similar
characteristcs as did the efforts during the '60s and '70s, which is why I
added them to my original list.

However, I'm tempted now, due to Bob's comments, to just define counterculture
food as what happened during the '60s and 70s.

Many, many thanks to all who have commented.

Andy Smith


Counterculture food started in America during the late sixties and early
seventies.


I don't think so. Note Pastorio's mention of Kellogg and Graham, who
were certainly "counterculture" in America in the 19th century. Here's
an interesting reference:





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Old 14-11-2003, 09:53 AM
bogus address
 
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Default History of Counterculture Food


This may be just a semantic difference. There were certainly food
reform efforts in America before the 1960s and to some extent
every reform effort is countercultural by definition.
But the term "counterculture" was raised to specifically describe
a broad phenomena that began in the '60. It wasn't really a food
reform effort, at least it wasn't like Graham's or Kellogg's previous
efforts. It was a political movement -- with the anti-Vietnam War
being the driving force. It certainly had social and economic
dimensions-- the attempt to create a better world through communal
living and the destruction (or replacement) of the capitalist economic
system. Food was just a side order.
As soon as Vietnam War ended, so did the counterculture movement,
although there are indeed remnants still around today.


I think you're isolating something that wasn't seen as a distinct
phenomenon at the time, or (in its food-related aspects) as very
different from what came before. Nor I am I convinced Vietnam had
much to do with it.

I arrived in the US in 1974, from Australia and NZ, and stayed two
years, moving on to the UK. It struck me immediately that there
was much *less* of an active counterculture in the US than I was
used to, and what there was was mostly driven by black activism
rather than anything to do with the war. The communal values that
were being promoted as radical alternatives either came from Afro-
American culture or were perceived as doing so. (And insofar as the
US influenced radical movements in the rest of the developed world,
it was again black politics, with its agenda for social change, that
had more effect than the more limited politicized pacifism of the
white anti-war movement). Others (like the collective-food-buying
efforts that operated fitfully in all four countries I lived in round
then) seemed to come out of forms of community organization moulded
during prolonged strikes, dating back a few decades.

I left shortly after the end of the Vietnam war, and in the UK the
politicized-eating scene took off to a much greater extent after I
got there - in the late 70s and into the early years of the Thatcher
regime. And this was largely continuous with movements that came
before and continued after; most of the wholefood co-operatives and
"fair trade" initiatives that started then are still in operation in
much the same way. (There have not been many new ones, you'd have
a point there).

I don't think the social movements of the late 60s and 70s would have
been very different if the Vietnam War had never happened.

======== Email to "j-c" at this site; email to "bogus" will bounce ========
Jack Campin: 11 Third Street, Newtongrange, Midlothian EH22 4PU; 0131 6604760
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Old 14-11-2003, 03:40 PM
Michael Ackerman
 
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Default History of Counterculture Food

There are some useful history books on this subject:

Warren Belasco's _Appetite for Change: How the Counterculture Took on the
Food Industry_ views the food reform movement of the 1960s and 1970s as many
of the previous respondents do: as a leftist, pro-environmental,
anti-corporate crusade against agribusiness and the food industry.

James Whorton's _Crusaders for Fitness_ looks at the health reform tradition
in America that originated in the first half of the 19th century. (He
discusses Graham, Kellogg, etc.) Although the book does not go beyond the
1920s, in the book's conclusion and in other writings, he links the
post-1960s food reform movement to this tradition. He sees the movement as
basically concerned with health and, in particular, with fears about the
impact of urban-industrial society on health.

Next month, I believe, an article that I wrote on the subject will be
published in Robert Johnston's _Politics of Healing_, an anthology of
articles on alternative medicine in the US in the 20th century. I examine
(what I call) the modern health foods movement, which originated in the
1930s in the wake of the discovery of vitamins and related nutritional
matters. (The organic foods movement in the US was one part of this
movement.) I discuss both the scientific aspect of the movement, and the
ideological aspect (which is definitely anti-modernist and
pro-environmental, but not fundamentally leftist -- in the 1950s the
movement had close links to the far right). Although my articles stops in
1965, I believe that the food ideas embraced by the youth counterculture in
the 1960s came mainly from the post-1930s health foods movement. (One
difference: the post-1960s movement endorsed vegetarianism, while the
earlier movement did not.)

I'd also like to disagree with those who claim that the countercultural food
movement died after the 1970s. Organic/sustainable agriculture, opposition
to bioengineered foods, the slow-foods movement, etc. are all in the same
anti-modernist ideological tradition as both the pre-and-post-1960s health
foods movement.

Michael Ackerman
Grad Student, Dept. of History
University of Virginia


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Old 14-11-2003, 05:37 PM
Bob Pastorio
 
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Default History of Counterculture Food

Michael Ackerman wrote:

There are some useful history books on this subject:

Warren Belasco's _Appetite for Change: How the Counterculture Took on the
Food Industry_ views the food reform movement of the 1960s and 1970s as many
of the previous respondents do: as a leftist, pro-environmental,
anti-corporate crusade against agribusiness and the food industry.


Did the counterculture really "take on" the food industry or did it
simply opt out? Some of both?

James Whorton's _Crusaders for Fitness_ looks at the health reform tradition
in America that originated in the first half of the 19th century. (He
discusses Graham, Kellogg, etc.) Although the book does not go beyond the
1920s, in the book's conclusion and in other writings, he links the
post-1960s food reform movement to this tradition. He sees the movement as
basically concerned with health and, in particular, with fears about the
impact of urban-industrial society on health.


Lamentably, most of those pioneers were simply wrong about most of
their tenets. No science to speak of but a great deal of conviction.
Think Salisbury's steaks, Graham's flour that lives on as a sugary
cookie, Kellogg's empty cereals and Post's ersatz grain products.

Next month, I believe, an article that I wrote on the subject will be
published in Robert Johnston's _Politics of Healing_, an anthology of
articles on alternative medicine in the US in the 20th century. I examine
(what I call) the modern health foods movement, which originated in the
1930s in the wake of the discovery of vitamins and related nutritional
matters. (The organic foods movement in the US was one part of this
movement.) I discuss both the scientific aspect of the movement, and the
ideological aspect (which is definitely anti-modernist and
pro-environmental, but not fundamentally leftist -- in the 1950s the
movement had close links to the far right). Although my articles stops in
1965, I believe that the food ideas embraced by the youth counterculture in
the 1960s came mainly from the post-1930s health foods movement. (One
difference: the post-1960s movement endorsed vegetarianism, while the
earlier movement did not.)


And, I think it's fair to say, they also adopted other ways of eating
because they were other ways. Macrobiotic and the like.

I'd also like to disagree with those who claim that the countercultural food
movement died after the 1970s. Organic/sustainable agriculture, opposition
to bioengineered foods, the slow-foods movement, etc. are all in the same
anti-modernist ideological tradition as both the pre-and-post-1960s health
foods movement.


I agree that it's still alive. The Staunton, VA farmers' market where
I live (and used to sell my products) shows it (about an hour from
Charlottesville). There are conventional producers selling their
wares, but also artisans who make baked goods, cheeses, soaps, etc.
And other farmers who grow antique varieties of commodity plants.
Others who grow livestock on open range. Not only health, but quality.
Better flavors. Better utility. Better appearance. Closed for the
season, unfortunately. Back up in april.

Pastorio


Michael Ackerman
Grad Student, Dept. of History
University of Virginia




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Old 14-11-2003, 06:31 PM
Peggy
 
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Default History of Counterculture Food

Bob Pastorio wrote:

Michael Ackerman wrote:

Next month, I believe, an article that I wrote on the subject will be
published in Robert Johnston's _Politics of Healing_, an anthology of
articles on alternative medicine in the US in the 20th century. I
examine
(what I call) the modern health foods movement, which originated in the
1930s in the wake of the discovery of vitamins and related nutritional
matters. (The organic foods movement in the US was one part of this
movement.) I discuss both the scientific aspect of the movement, and the
ideological aspect (which is definitely anti-modernist and
pro-environmental, but not fundamentally leftist -- in the 1950s the
movement had close links to the far right). Although my articles
stops in
1965, I believe that the food ideas embraced by the youth
counterculture in
the 1960s came mainly from the post-1930s health foods movement. (One
difference: the post-1960s movement endorsed vegetarianism, while the
earlier movement did not.)



And, I think it's fair to say, they also adopted other ways of eating
because they were other ways. Macrobiotic and the like.


As I recall, as macrobiotics we ate our share of chicken and fish, along
with the dreaded tofu and great, disgusting wads of brown rice (which we
cooked on a word-burning stove -- it took hours!). And pre-1960s, let's
remember Adele Davis. Raw liver for breakfast, anyone? I think it's
interesting that the gurus of both these "movements" died rather young.

Peg

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Old 14-11-2003, 09:47 PM
ASmith1946
 
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Default History of Counterculture Food


I arrived in the US in 1974, from Australia and NZ, and stayed two
years, moving on to the UK. It struck me immediately that there
was much *less* of an active counterculture in the US than I was
used to, and what there was was mostly driven by black activism
rather than anything to do with the war. The communal values that
were being promoted as radical alternatives either came from Afro-
American culture or were perceived as doing so.


While Vietnam "fell" in 1975, American troops were generally out in 1973, and
the major anti-war demonstrations were over by then.

As Warren Belasco points out in "Appetite for Change," the commune period was
1971-72. That you found little in 1974 doesn't surprise me and it seems that
this supports my original statements.

During the mid-70s, black power was a major focus, but I don't recall that it
had many food dimensions other than inventing "soul food" and creating culinary
traditions for Kwanza. (Okay-- you can all jump on this)


I don't think the social movements of the late 60s and 70s would have
been very different if the Vietnam War had never happened.


We disagree. I don't think the social movements of the '60s and '70s would not
have taken the turns that they did without the Vietnam War. The war radicalized
people. Once people lost faith in one aspect of the "system," it was easier to
question other aspects and justify violent action, a la the Weathermen, and
SDS. And violence turned many Americans against the radicals.

Andy Smith

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Old 15-11-2003, 12:36 PM
ASmith1946
 
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Default History of Counterculture Food


I'd also like to disagree with those who claim that the countercultural food
movement died after the 1970s. Organic/sustainable agriculture, opposition
to bioengineered foods, the slow-foods movement, etc. are all in the same
anti-modernist ideological tradition as both the pre-and-post-1960s health
foods movement.



Michael:

I look forward to reading your article. Your above statements, however, appear
to me to disagree with Warren Belasco's views presented in "Appetite for
Change." Warren points out that the core of the countercultural movement was
the hippies, who stressed communial experiences. J. I. Rodale et al in organic
gardening promoted the Jeffersonian ideal of the yeoman farmer, which is very
different.

Lumping very diverse groups who espouse very different ideals --communes, small
organic farmers, anti-gmo and anti-globalization types -- simply because you
define them as "anti-modernist" doesn't seem to me to be particularly helpful
or insightful. Or am I misunderstanding your point?

Andy Smith
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Old 23-11-2003, 09:41 PM
Mark Zanger
 
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Default History of Counterculture Food

As soon as Vietnam War ended, so did the counterculture movement, although
there are indeed remnants still around today.

Food was one of the most enduring legacies of the 60s. The movement to
"natural" food quickly spread (I have an all-organic recipe in a far-right
religious pamphlet of the mid 70s) and continues to play out.


--
-Mark H. Zanger
author, The American History Cookbook, The American Ethnic Cookbook for
Students
www.ethnicook.com
www.historycook.com

"ASmith1946" wrote in message
...
This may be just a semantic difference. There were certainly food reform
efforts in America before the 1960s and to some extent every reform effort

is
countercultural by definition.

But the term "counterculture" was raised to specifically describe a broad
phenomena that began in the '60. It wasn't really a food reform effort,

at
least it wasn't like Graham's or Kellogg's previous efforts. It was a

political
movement -- with the anti-Vietnam War being the driving force. It

certainly had
social and economic dimensions-- the attempt to create a better world

through
communal living and the destruction (or replacement) of the capitalist

economic
system. Food was just a side order.

As soon as Vietnam War ended, so did the counterculture movement, although
there are indeed remnants still around today.

Recent food fights-- re GMOs and globalization-- do have some similar
characteristcs as did the efforts during the '60s and '70s, which is why I
added them to my original list.

However, I'm tempted now, due to Bob's comments, to just define

counterculture
food as what happened during the '60s and 70s.

Many, many thanks to all who have commented.

Andy Smith


Counterculture food started in America during the late sixties and early
seventies.


I don't think so. Note Pastorio's mention of Kellogg and Graham, who
were certainly "counterculture" in America in the 19th century. Here's
an interesting reference:








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