November 13, 2017
by Lydia Lutz, Intern, ILS student
It seems like Thanksgiving will be here in the blink of an eye. Several thoughts may linger in your head this November: How hard should I really study for my finals? When should I start Christmas shopping? Can I bring out my winter wardrobe now? How can I participate in Native American Heritage Month? Probably the loudest thought is in regards to your Thanksgiving dinner: What will I eat?
Personally, one of my all-time favorite dishes at Thanksgiving were my Mamaw’s pies. She made the best pies (pumpkin, pecan, apple, cherry, coconut, etc.). Whilst pining for one of her pies, I came across an article about American food culture from 1866. The article is called “Concerning Restaurants,” and it appears in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, Vol. 32.
The author of the article, C. W. Gesner, mainly wished to discuss the restaurant scene in New York during the year 1866. Before discussing the latest roast beef trend, however, Gesner proceeds to rant about the American diet, specifically pies. Here are some things the author had to say:
We cry for pie when we are infants. Pie in countless varieties, waits upon us through life. Pie kills us finally…How can a person with a pound of green apples and fat dough in his stomach feel at ease? (Gesner, 1866, p. 592).
Gesner also comments that Americans are “the most unwholesome feeders in the world” (p. 591). Naturally, it isn’t news that America’s obesity rates have only increased, and it also isn’t news that the stereotypical family has Thanksgiving dinners that encourage overeating. What is interesting is how the media makes this out to be a new trend in our society, but I digress.
It is not my intention to make a big deal about our society’s diet trends. I simply thought it a hilarious coincidence to find an article about how abhorrent pies are this close to Thanksgiving. I am not asking you to give up pies in any way, shape, or form. In fact, I hope that you are able to indulge in pie of your choosing this year, whether it be fruity, meaty, fatty, healthy, or even gluten-free…just don’t eat too much.
Gesner, C.W. (1866, April). Concerning Restaurants in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, 32, 591-593. New York: Harper and Brothers.