Public Appetite: Dining Out in Nineteenth-Century Boston
Quadrant: Design, Architecture, and Culture
This project focuses on the phenomenon of public eating in nineteenth-century Boston. Professor Erby explores how Americans learned to eat outside the home during the 1800s, a practice that both reflected and contributed to major transformations sweeping through the nation in these years, including the spread of consumption, the altered nature of the family, changing racial, gender, and economic relations, as well as overall societal shifts toward both greater homogeneity and greater segmentation. Erby looks at the spread of eateries in Boston from 1790 to 1890 and, considering elite restaurants, plebian, and ethnic eating venues, explores the defining sagas of practice and ritual that have played a quiet but vital role in shaping the texture of life in the United States.