The Man' in the Kitchen: Government Attempts to Change Foodways in the Rural 1930s South

Ali Katherine Nabours, University of South Carolina


This thesis examines the way in which the federal government, primarily through the United States Department of Agriculture, the Bureau of Home Economics, and the Cooperative Extension Services' state-run home demonstration programs, attempted to change foodways in the rural South during the Great Depression under the New Deal government. It argues that the federal government became more broadly and actively involved in the lives of Southern farm women, but that these women, in their interests, needs, and personal preferences, shaped the federal program for themselves. The intermediaries between the federal initiatives and the women are key to the story. County home demonstration agents interacted directly with the women and adapted their methods to appeal to their local target groups.