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Poppy Cannon was a food writer whose prominence was most felt in post-World War II America. Within the pages of her books and syndicated food columns, she positioned the use of newly available processed foods as uniquely modern. Cannon’s recipes, featuring packaged food, were not intended for the lazy cook looking to cut corners. Her use of manufactured food was instead meant to create gourmet meals, while all the while harnessing the power of an ongoing industrial phenomenon. Cannon assumed her readers were smart and literate, and in virtually all of her many cookbooks, she prefaced her recipes with references that presumed the reader was educated. Cannon eschewed folksiness, peppering her recipes with tales from Greek mythology, scraps of history and geography lessons, and musings on her own many world travels. Cannon’s recipes may have been simple, but her comments about the recipes lent her work a sophisticated air most assuredly appreciated by a population of women undergoing a complicated post-war transition. Cannon unapologetically elevated the use of manufactured foods, and did so under the assumption that her audience was literate and curious about the modern world unfolding around them.


This is the accepted manuscript of a work originally published in Consumption and the Literary Cookbook, available at



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