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Whitebread Protestants: Food and Religion in American Culture

whitebread.jpg (5746 bytes)Daniel Sack writes: "Somehow food seems to twine through my life in the church. I suspect that I am not alone."

"Americans, after all, love to eat. We devote large spaces in our homes and significant parts of our incomes to preparing meals. We spend increasing amounts of money on commercially prepared food. We write and buy hundreds of new cookbooks annually. And we are more likely to be overweight than people in any other society.

"Americans are also deeply religious. We have one of the highest church attendance rates in the world. We have built large institutions for religious practice and nurture. And, in a supposedly secular age, large numbers of Americans continue to identify religion as important in our lives.

"This book stands at the intersection of these facets of American culture. My experience—and the experience of many others—suggests that food plays many roles in white mainline Protestant church life. It is involved in rituals and informal social life. It carries profound political and ethical meaning. Sometimes, of course, it is just food. This is a history of religion and eating, the human encounter with food. While the actual food is important, it is eating that gives food meaning. Around the Communion table, bread and wine become a connection to God. In the social hall, coffee becomes community. In the soup kitchen, rice and beans become hospitality. To understand how this meaning comes to be, this book examines how white mainline Protestants have used and understood food in their religious lives, looking at eating in the church against the backgrounds of American religious history, food studies, and theology." (From the introduction)

Published by St. Martin's Press/Palgrave

To find out more, see the press's catalogue

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