NEGOTIATED TASTES: A STUDY OF THE AMERICANIZATION OF SOUTHERN AND EASTERN EUROPEAN IMMIGRANTS BY SOCIAL WORKERS, REFORMERS AND NUTRITIONAL SCIENTISTS.
Fronk-Giordano, Catharine Annemarie
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This thesis aims to prove that the efforts of settlement workers, immigrant aid organization workers, home economists, reformers and nutritional scientists to Americanize the foodways of the southern and eastern European immigrants between the 1890s and the 1920s was not a systematic and homogenous enterprise motivated by a single idea and driven by a single goal, but a far more nuanced and contested process in which social workers with various backgrounds and beliefs mediated between American identity, science and immigrant food culture. Far outnumbered by the new immigrants, the social workers concentrated on alleviating immediate needs of the poor in the industrial centers, focusing on increasing their buying power and improving the nutritional value of their diets. Servicing all immigrants as well as Americans, the social workers often adapted their teachings to respect the immigrant food cultures and tastes, some even praising ethnic cuisines over the American diet.