Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2002


In Copyright


Between 1910 and 1930, urbanization, changing gender roles, and increased culinary standardization and commercialization led Americans to lament the demise of home cooking. Gone, they claimed, were large country kitchens, run by full-time housewives, serving home-baked bread and made from scratch pies. In a successful publicity campaign in the 1920s, the restaurant industry capitalized on this discontent by promising to restore to the nation a sense of nineteenth-century domesticity. With hearty foods, matronly servers, and cozy d'cor, they recreated the aura of a nostalgic premodern kitchenthe very institution that they had helped to destroy. In the 1930s and 40s, restaurants would continue to attract patrons by promising to revitalize traditional gender roles and domestic relationships. In one of the great ironies of the modern social experience, Americans were lured into restaurants by promises of home.

Publication Title

Gastronomica, The Journal of Food and Culture

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Required Text

Published as Samantha Barbas, Just Like Home: ‘Home Cooking’ and the Domestication of the American Restaurant, Gastronomica, v. 2, n. 4, at 23 (Fall 2002) . © 2002 by the Regents of the University of California. Copying and permissions notice: Authorizati