FOOD IN THE GILDED AGE: What Ordinary Americans Ate

Emeritus Professor of Anthropology
Illinois State University

America’s Gilded Age, the last quarter of the nineteenth century, is renowned for the excesses of robber barons and tycoons. The lavishness of their tables impressed contemporaries and historians alike. But what about the eating habits of ordinary people at the time? Robert Dirks, author of Food in the Gilded Age, poses that question and discovers some surprising answers by peering through the lens of what then was a newly emerging science of nutrition.

Robert Dirks, a member of Chicago Foodways Roundtable, grew up in suburban Milwaukee. After earning a Ph.D. in anthropology at Case Western Reserve University, he joined the faculty at Illinois State University. He retired from there in 2003 and moved to the New Eastside area of Chicago.

Professor Dirks has conducted research on various aspects of food and nutrition worldwide. His publications include papers in the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Current Anthropology, American Anthropologist, Journal of Nutrition, and Annual Review of Nutrition. His previous book, Come & Get It! McDonaldization and the Disappearance of Local Food from a Central Illinois Community, traced a changing American food culture from frontier days to the beginning of the twenty-first century.

Saturday, May 21, 2016 at 10 AM
Chicago History Museum
1601 N. Clark St., Chicago, Illinois 60614
(Intersection of Clark Street and North Avenue)
Cost: $3 per person

This program is hosted by the Chicago Foodways Roundtable. To reserve, please call (847) 432-8255, then leave your name, telephone number and how many people in your party or e-mail: