Program Title: The Making of Modern American Vegetarianism
Speaker: Adam D. Shprintzen
Date: Monday, January 13, 2014
Location: New York University Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health
Vegetarianism has been practiced in the United States since the country’s founding, yet the early years of the movement have been woefully misunderstood and understudied, argued Adam Shprintzen. As he led us through the Vegetarian Crusade from 1817 to 1921, Shprintzen pointed out that up until the Civil War, the vegetarian movement focused on social and political reform, but by the late nineteenth century, the movement became a path for personal strength and success in a newly individualistic, consumption-driven economy. This development led to greater expansion and acceptance of vegetarianism in mainstream society.
The author discussed the history and development of early American vegetarianism and social reform from Bible Christians to Grahamites, and from the American Vegetarian Society to the Battle Creek Sanitarium. He explained how each of these groups used diet as a response to changing social and political conditions. He illustrated how an idea grew into a nationwide community united not only by diet, but also by broader goals of social reform.
Among the dishes served at the reception was Special K Meatloaf. [link]