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In Eating to Learn, Learning to Eat, historian A. R. Ruis explores the origins of American school meal initiatives to explain why it was (and, to some extent, has continued to be) so difficult to establish meal programs that satisfy the often competing interests of children, parents, schools, health authorities, politicians, and the food industry. Through careful studies of several key contexts and detailed analysis of the policies and politics that governed the creation of school meal programs, Ruis demonstrates how the early history of school meal program development helps us understand contemporary debates over changes to school lunch policies.
?"Exceedingly well-written, Eating to Learn, Learning to Eat is an excellent piece of scholarship that fills an important gap in the literature on school lunches."
— Ian Mosby
"A valuable, engaging volume for anyone interested in the interconnected histories of scientific research and US policy. Eating to Learn, Learning to Eat is an important historical work that is relevant to many contemporary policy debates around health, education, poverty, and nutrition."
— Deborah Levine
"Over the course of about 70 years, school lunches grew from local experiments to a federal entitlement. Eating to Learn, Learning to Eat charts this process masterfully, in fascinating detail. Ruis dissects broad historical movements and events, including first-person accounts that anchor matters of policy in tangible reality."
— The Lancet
"Chronicling in rich detail the origins, composition and challenges these early school food programmes faced, Ruis offers a history that deepens our understanding of mid-century federal legislation and informs present day policy decisions."
— Social History of Medicine
"Eating to Learn, Learning to Eat succeeds in bringing a larger historical perspective to the problems of today’s school lunches. By reaching back to the Progressive Era, Ruis reveals a history that rhymes with our own state of affairs."
— Nursing Clio
"In Eating to Learn, Learning to Eat, A. R. Ruis, a historian of medicine and public health and an education researcher at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, provides a thorough overview of the history of school lunch policy."
— Health Affairs
"This is a deeply researched, well-written book, which provides a compelling and nuanced historical perspective on current debates about school lunch. By doing so, it illuminates broader historical (and contemporary) social and political questions, such as the responsibilities of government, the separation of the public and the private realm, and the moral imperatives constituted by want."
— The Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences
"This book fills a gap in the literature on school lunch by exploring three models for lunch programs that predate the 1946 establishment of the National School Lunch Program (NSLP)."
— The Bulletin of the History of Medicine
"A worthwhile and engaging read that is a meaningful addition to the literature."
— The Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth
"Eating to Learn, Learning to Eat is a worthwhile and engaging read that is a meaningful addition to the literature."
— Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth