Belle Cushing, Bon Appétit
Fifty years ago this Sunday, 73 million viewers tuned in to watch The Beatles perform on The Ed Sullivan Show. It was the largest TV audience to date. In 2014, last week's Super Bowl clocks in as the most watched event, attracting 111.5 million viewers -- more actual eyeballs glued to the screen in 2014, to be sure. But in terms of relative influence, of percentage of all eyeballs in America huddled around a TV set tuned in to the same station, of how truly important this live event was -- well, today's TV doesn't even compare.
In celebration of the 50th anniversary, CBS will pay tribute to the performance this Sunday; many, if not quite as many, people will gather around screens big and small to watch the Fab Four. Many of them, as in 1964, will likely be eating dinner, but what they'll be eating and how they'll be thinking about it feels worlds away from what the cool cats and skirts were eating back in '64. Heck, there's been a whole food revolution since then! The sixties saw the rise of Julia Child, Craig Claiborne, and a slew of crunchy granolists. There were still some Jell-O molds kicking around the suburbs, and eaters were also wowed by insta-dinners and the novelty of diet fizz. There was an affinity for all things French, no one respectable ever ate in Brooklyn, and intrepid eaters took their first tastes of global cuisine at the World's Fair in Queens -- and proclaimed it pretty boss.
Here's a look at how we were eating in 1964, and how it's changed--or hasn't--today.