Dreams of good food, writes Aaron Bobrow-Strain, are powerful social forces, which “arise out of particular constellations of power and interests that can be analyzed and understood.” This article focuses on a specific food item—Vitamin Bread (leĥem ĥai), developed by Moshe Wilbushewich in 1920s Palestine—as embodying notions of “good food” premised on the tenets of rational nutrition. I show how the development of the bread was informed not only by a nutritional discourse, which counted energy units and analyzed nutrients, but also by a colonial discourse about Jewish and Arab physical and mental difference, about the role of science in colonization, and by the interests of Jewish settlement. For its inventor, Vitamin Bread embodied the attempt to compensate for the physical inferiority of civilized Jewish settlers compared to indigenous Arabs by means of their intellectual advantage, namely, by recruiting science in the service of improving Jewish nutrition.
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