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The Great Migration and the Democratic Party
The Age of Andrew Jackson
Presidential Speechwriting
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The Wrong Stuff
War in East Texas

Eating Right in AmericaEating Right in America

The Cultural Politics of Food and Health

Charlotte Biltekoff

Narrated by Caroline Miller

Available from Audible

Book published by Duke University Press

Eating Right in America is a powerful critique of dietary reform in the United States from the late nineteenth-century emergence of nutritional science through the contemporary alternative food movement and campaign against obesity. Charlotte Biltekoff analyzes the discourses of dietary reform, including the writings of reformers, as well as the materials they created to bring their messages to the public. She shows that while the primary aim may be to improve health, the process of teaching people to "eat right" in the U.S. inevitably involves shaping certain kinds of subjects and citizens, and shoring up the identity and social boundaries of the ever-threatened American middle class. Without discounting the pleasures of food or the value of wellness, Biltekoff advocates a critical reappraisal of our obsession with diet as a proxy for health. Based on her understanding of the history of dietary reform, she argues that talk about "eating right" in America too often obscures structural and environmental stresses and constraints, while naturalizing the dubious redefinition of health as an individual responsibility and imperative.

Charlotte Biltekoff is Assistant Professor of American Studies & Food Science and Technology at the University of California, Davis. Previously, she was a chef at Greens, a well-known vegetarian restaurant in San Francisco.


Eating Right in America is a must-read for anyone interested in modern dietary reform. I say that as a scholar who has studied the subject for more than twenty-five years. This concise, well-researched, and provocative book is an instructor's dream, and it is certainly a book that every student and practitioner of nutrition, dietetics, and food science should read and ponder.”

—Warren Belasco, author of Meals to Come: A History of the Future of Food

“This is the book I dreamed of—without having the grown-up words for it—when I was a chubby little kid who rode her bike everywhere and ate her veggies and still got picked on for being fat. A brilliant, intersectional analysis and a thoroughly enjoyable read, Eating Right brings long-overdue skepticism to the insalubrious history of food– and weight–related finger wagging in America.”

—Marilyn Wann, author of FAT!SO?

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University Press Audiobooks