This should have been a fascinating visual treat of food ads but unfortunately it only half works because it is the wrong size. Amazon doesn't give the dimensions but with a page size of 6.5 inches deep by 5.25 wide it really is just too small to take the two or three ads that appear on at least half the pages. Even the ads that are one to a page seem too small to appreciate the over-the-top graphics and text.
Author Adeena Sussman writes some interesting but very generalised copy for each of the four chapters (in excessively long paragraphs, too) and I guess the most important thing about these contrived foods was the consistency, month after month, year after year the product was assured to be the same unlike fresh produce which could vary enormously according to the seasons and the type of retail outlet. Fresh also implied lots of preparation time. All the photos in these ads show serving suggestions that any housewife could aspire to.
Regrettably none of these colourful ads have a date so that changes from illustration to photography (in the mid-fifties) can be followed, likewise with the small page size very little of the ad copy can be read so the only thing you'll really notice is the overall predominance of red in food selling. The contents certainly cover the market but I was really disappointed that the book wasn't larger to really make these ads sing out.
Adverts presented in book form can be quite fascinating, have a look at 'All-America Ads: 40s' (ISBN 3822814687, 754 pages) and 'All-American Ads: 50s' (ISBN 3822811580, 926 pages) both books cover food ads and everything else the consumer might desire. The big page size, 10 inches deep by 7.5 wide, means you can really enjoy a nostalgic trip backwards.
BTW If you are interested in the history of instant grub check out 'Better than homemade' (ISBN 1931686424) by Carolyn Wyman, a handsome looking paperback detailing the history of forty-six of the most popular supermarket factory foods.
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