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date: 27 October 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The years between 1880 and 1930 have been characterized not only as "Hell with the lid taken off" but also as a consumer revolution. Until recently, however, little attention has been paid to how industrialization changed the foods available to Americans. This article examines what Americans were eating in the first half of the twentieth century. It first defines industrial foods as foods that are mass produced in a factory setting and require no or very little cooking to make them edible. These foods are also packaged which make them highly portable. Examples of industrial foods are commercially canned goods; frozen foods; ice cream; breads, cakes, and pies purchased at bakeries and/or groceries and supermarkets; cake mixes; hot and cold cereals; instant mashed potatoes; pastry/pie shell mixes; and jams and jellies. Industrial foods are considered products of the Cold War and the Baby Boom Generation, rather than the Gilded Age or the Progressive Era. This article also discusses home economics, food consumption, and the national diet.

Keywords: industrialization, industrial foods, canned goods, frozen foods, ice cream, Cold War, Baby Boom Generation, home economics, food consumption, national diet

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