The Joy of Eating

A Guide to Food in Modern Pop Culture

by Jane K. Glenn


In 2014, the final episode of The Great British Bakeoff drew a larger audience of viewers than the World Cup final.

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Cover image for The Joy of Eating

November 2019


Pages 400
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Topics Popular Culture/Media, Television, and Radio
  Health & Wellness/General
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This volume explores our cultural celebration of food, blending lobster festivals, politicians' roadside eats, reality show "chef showdowns," and gravity-defying cakes into a deeper exploration of why people find so much joy in eating.

In 1961, Julia Child introduced the American public to an entirely new, joy-infused approach to cooking and eating food. In doing so, she set in motion a food renaissance that is still in full bloom today. Over the last six decades, food has become an increasingly more diverse, prominent, and joyful point of cultural interest.

The Joy of Eating discusses in detail the current golden age of food in contemporary American popular culture. Entries explore the proliferation of food-themed television shows, documentaries, and networks; the booming popularity of celebrity chefs; unusual, exotic, decadent, creative, and even mundane food trends; food's rising stardom in books, magazines, websites, blogs, podcasts, and museums; and cultural celebrations of food such as festivals and mascots and in music.

The volume provides depth and academic gravity by tying each entry into broader themes and larger contexts—in relation to a food-themed reality show, for example, discussing the show's popularity in direct relation to a significant economic event, providing a brief history behind popular foods and types of cuisines, tracing the evolution of our understanding of diet and nutrition, and offering other notes about the cultural appeal of the subject.


  • Provides rare, in-depth coverage of a relatively modern pop culture trend
  • Gives academic gravity to seemingly superficial topics, tying elements of popular culture into deeper anthropological and sociological explorations of humans' relationship with and artistic depictions of food
  • Synthesizes a wide range of topics, which run the gamut from grilled cheese festivals to the international diplomacy of filming a fishing lesson in the Congo
  • Offers considerate, comprehensive coverage of influential individuals, movements, and trends in an often overlooked field
  • Presents academic, reference-style information engagingly and sometimes humorously
Author Info

Jane K. Glenn is a development editor in the field of academic publishing. Her career has entailed writing, producing, directing, and editing content for documentary and educational media, primarily in the arts, history, and social studies. A lifelong devotee of studying the stories that make us human, she majored in comparative literature at Hamilton College and studied documentary filmmaking at the Maine Media Workshops.

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