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The Serious Side of Food Reading Series w/ Jane Ziegelman and Andrew Coe

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From our organizers:

Embark with food historians Jane Ziegelman and Andrew Coe on a literary journey to explore an aspect of our culture that we often take for granted: food. Beginning in September, DORIS will be hosting a reading and discussion series sponsored by Humanities New York. During the 6-session program, the group will examine the multitude of complex interactions and entanglements which lie under the surface of our source for both nourishment and pleasure.

The program includes appetizers, beverages, guest speakers and surprises.

Books are available for borrowing at the September 20th session.

This six-month reading series is being held in conjunction with our exhibit, Feeding the City: The Unpublished WPA Federal Writers’ Project Manuscript, which showcases vintage recipes and photographs, bold and colorful advertising brochures, and excerpts from the unpublished Feeding the City manuscript. Exhibition also features materials from the NYC Unit of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) Federal Writers’ Project.

Sept. 20th

Authors Jane Ziegelman and Andrew Coe – the hosts of the reading series – will introduce the texts that will be read and discussed over the next six months, while offering some insight into their selection process.

Ziegelman and Coe will also read from their 2016 book, A Square Meal: A Culinary History of the Great Depression. The work explores the greatest food crisis the nation has ever faced and how it forever changed America’s culinary culture. Their work features research conducted at the NYC Municipal Archives and Library and, in particular, material from the Feeding the City collection.

Copies will be available for sale and signing, following the event.

Oct. 18th

In Defense of Food – Michael Pollan

Michael Pollan is concerned that the focus on nutrition and food science has replaced old-fashioned healthy eating, leading to his mantra: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

Nov. 15th

The Jungle – Upton Sinclair

Sinclair’s classic novel of turn-of-the-century Chicago focuses on the exploitation of immigrant workers and unsanitary conditions at the city’s famous stockyards and slaughterhouses.

Dec. 20th

The Road to Wellville – T. C. Boyle

Boyle’s comic novel satirizes the health craze of the early 20th century, poking fun at such practitioners as John Harvey Kellogg, founder of the famous cereal company. But Boyle forces us to ask: how different are we from these characters of a century ago?

Jan. 17th

Diet for a Small Planet – Frances Moore Lappe

Diet for a Small Planet was at the forefront of the movement in the 1970s that lead to a rethinking — both in terms of health and environmental impact – of our diets and relationship to food.

Feb. 21st

Diet Cults: The Surprising Fallacy at the Core of Nutrition Fads and a Guide to Healthy Eating for the Rest of Us – Matt Fitzgerald

This critique of various “diet fads” examines the rhetoric and faults of each, ascribing “cult” status to them — for they all claim to be the “one true way” to eat healthy.

Mar. 21st

Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health – Marion Nestle

Marion Nestle’s contemporary classic exposes how corporations and food companies influence politics in order to improve their bottom lines – no matter what the cost to the health of ordinary Americans.


NYC Department of Records and Information Services
31 Chambers Street Rebecca Rankin Reading Room, Suite 111
New York, NY 10007 United States
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