Eating in Survival Town: Food in 1950s Atomic America

Tunc T. E.

COLD WAR HISTORY, vol.15, no.2, pp.179-200, 2015 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 15 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/14682745.2014.950239
  • Journal Name: COLD WAR HISTORY
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.179-200
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Nuclear anxiety, as crafted and perpetuated by the United States Federal Civil Defense Administration's programmes, not only informed how, and what, Americans ate in the 1950s, but also contoured their relationship with food. This culinary-based nuclear anxiety was reflected in government-sponsored programmes such as Grandma's Pantry, advice concerning the content of bomb/fallout shelter food stashes, and the cookbooks of the period. The federal government's obsession with atomic age cuisine saturated everything, from its promotion of canned convenience foods, to the question of what would happen if a pantry were exposed to a nuclear explosion as was the case in Operation Cue, to what Americans put on their plates and in their martini glasses.