Friday, August 3, 2007

Food in the sixties

In America, food underwent incredible changes in the 60's. In the fifties, most people ate in local diners on those rare occasions when they didn't eat their mother or their wives cookery. For special occasions they went to nicer restaurants with traditional American fare. The only chain most people went to was Howard Johnson's, and that was only when traveling. The sixties saw fast food chains become the casual dining choice of the masses, spurred on by baby boomers and their new driving privileges.
Chinese and other ethnic foods became more sophisticated in the sixties. In the Chinese restaurant of the fifties and early sixties my father always ordered pepper steak and I always had chow mein, all eaten with forks. In the late sixties, pseudo sophisticated young people went to the cities and ate Moo Goo Gai Pan with chopsticks. During this era the falafael was born. Eating at the communal table of the Paradox on East 7th Street was the hip thing to do.
Italian restaurants cropped up that served more than spaghetti. Calimari became acceptable outside of the old Italian neighborhoods. Cooking shows entered America's picture tubes with Julia Child leading the way.
As the sixties culture came into fruition, soul food, macrobiotics, and vegetarianism entered the scene. Stores where you ground your own peanut butter emerged in the bohemian neighborhoods of our towns. Skippy was relegated to the children and Grandma. The malt shops of Ozzie and Harriet were closed. Of course in the seventies, America became nostalgic about the fifties and old fashioned diners became hip again.
Editor's note: This is my most popular post. Must be the Google references. I am currently working on Hard Times, a blog about modern times.

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