Establishing an interdisciplinary connection between Food Studies and American literary scholarship, Piatti-Farnell investigates the significances of food and eating in American fiction, from 1980 to the present day. She argues that culturally-coded representations of the culinary illuminate contemporary American anxieties about class gender, race, tradition, immigration, nationhood, and history. As she offers a critical analysis of major works of contemporary fiction, Piatti-Farnell unveils contrasting modes of culinary nostalgia, disillusionment, and progress that pervasively address the cultural disintegration of local and familiar culinary values, in favor of globalized economies of consumption.
In identifying different incarnations of the "American culinary," Piatti-Farnell covers the depiction of food in specific categories of American fiction and explores how the cultural separation that molds food preferences inevitably challenges the existence of a homogenous American identity. The study treads on new grounds since it not only provides the first comprehensive study of food and consumption in contemporary American fiction, but also aims to expose interrelated politics of consumption in a variety of authors from different ethnic, cultural, racial and social backgrounds within the United States.