Denied access to traditional advertising platforms by lack of resources, craft breweries have proliferated despite these challenges by embracing social media platforms, and by creating an obsessed culture of fans. In Craft Obsession, Jeff Rice uses craft beer as a case study to demonstrate how social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter function to shape stories about craft.
Rice weaves together theories of writing, narrative, new media, and rhetoric with a personal story of his passion for craft beer. He identifies six key elements of social media rhetoric—anecdotes, repetition, aggregation, delivery, sharing, and imagery—and examines how each helps to transform small, personal experiences with craft into a more widespread movement. When shared via social media, craft anecdotes—such as the first time one had a beer—interrupt and repeat one another, building a sense of familiarity and identity among otherwise unconnected people. Aggregation, the practice of joining unlike items into one space, builds on this network identity, establishing a connection to particular brands or locations, both real and virtual. The public releases of craft beers are used to explore the concept of craft delivery, which involves multiple actors across multiple spaces and results in multiple meanings. Finally, Rice highlights how personal sharing operates within the community of craft beer enthusiasts, who share online images of acquiring, trading for, and consuming a wide variety of beers. These shared stories and images, while personal for each individual, reflect the dependence of craft on systems of involvement. Throughout, Rice relates and reflects on his own experience as a craft beer enthusiast and his participation via social media in these systems.
Both an objective scholarly study and an engaging personal narrative about craft beer, Craft Obsession provides valuable insights into digital writing, storytelling, and social media.
In this lively and engaging history, Madelon Powers recreates the daily life of the barroom, exploring what it was like to be a "regular" in the old-time saloon of pre-prohibition industrial America. Through an examination of saloongoers across America, her investigation offers a fascinating look at rich lore of the barroom—its many games, stories, songs, free lunch customs, and especially its elaborate system of drinking rituals that have been passed on for decades.
"A free-pouring blend of astonishing facts, folklore and firsthand period observations. . . . It's the rich details that'll inspire the casual reader to drink deep from this tap of knowledge."—Don Waller, USA Today recommended reading
"A surprise on every page."—Publishers Weekly
"Here we get social history that appreciates the bar talk even while dissecting its marvelous rituals."—Library Journal, starred review
"Careful scholarship with an anecdotal flair to please even the most sober of readers."—Nina C. Ayoub, Chronicle of Higher Education
Feast or Famine is the first comprehensive account of food and drink in the winning of the West, describing the sustenance of successive generations of western pioneers. Drawing on journals of settlers and travelers—as well as a lifetime of research on the American West—Reginald Horsman examines more than one hundred years of history, from the first advance of explorers into the Mississippi valley to the movement of ranchers and farmers onto the Great Plains, recording not only the components of their diets but food preparation techniques as well.
Most settlers were able to obtain food beyond the dreams of ordinary Europeans, for whom meat was a luxury. Not only were buffalo, deer, and wild turkey there for the taking, pioneers also gathered greens such as purslane, dandelion, and pigweed—as well as wild fruits, berries, and nuts. They replaced sugar with wild honey or maple syrup, and when they had no tea, they made drinks out of sage, sassafras, and mint. Horsman also reveals the willingness of Indians to convey their knowledge of food to newcomers, sharing salmon in the Pacific Northwest, agricultural crops in the arid Southwest.
Horsman tells how agricultural expansion and transportation opened a veritable cornucopia and how the development of canning soon made it possible for meals to transcend simple frontier foods, with canned oysters and crystallized eggs in airtight cans on merchants’ shelves. He covers food on different regional frontiers, as well as the cuisines of particular groups such as fur traders, soldiers, miners, and Mormons. He also discusses food shortages that resulted from poor preparation, temporary scarcity of game, marginal soil, or simply bad luck. At times, as with the ill-fated Donner Party, pioneers starved.
Engagingly written and meticulously researched, Feast or Famine is a one-of-a-kind look at a subject too long ignored in histories of the West. By revealing the spectrum of frontier fare across years and regions, it shows us that the land of opportunity was often a land of plenty.
“We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink.”—Epicurus
This fascinating book examines the biology and culture of foods and beverages that are consumed in communal settings, with special attention to their health implications. Nina Etkin covers a wealth of topics, exploring human evolutionary history, the Slow Food movement, ritual and ceremonial foods, caffeinated beverages, spices, the street foods of Hawaii and northern Nigeria, and even bottled water. Her work is framed by a biocultural perspective that considers both the physiological implications of consumption and the cultural construction and circulation of foods. For Etkin, the foods and beverages we consume are simultaneously “biodynamic substances and cultural objects.”
The book begins with a look at the social eating habits of our primate relatives and discusses our evolutionary adaptations. It then offers a history of social foods in the era of European expansion, with a focus on spices and “caffeinated cordials.” (Of course, there were some powerful physiological consequences of eating foods brought home by returning explorers, and those are considered too—along with consequences for native peoples.) From there, the book describes “street food,” which is always served in communal settings. Etkin then scrutinizes ceremonial foods and beverages, and considers their pharmacological effects as well. Her extensive examination concludes by assessing the biological and cultural implications of bottled water.
While intended primarily for scholars, this enticing book serves up a tantalizing smorgasbord of food for thought.
"Thousands of years ago, before Christ or Buddha or Muhammad...before the Roman Empire rose or the Colossus of Rhodes fell," Eric Burns writes, "people in Asia Minor were drinking beer." So begins an account as entertaining as it is extensive, of alcohol's journey through world—and, more important, American—history. In The Spirits of America, Burns relates that drinking was "the first national pastime," and shows how it shaped American politics and culture from the earliest colonial days. He details the transformation of alcohol from virtue to vice and back again, how it was thought of as both scourge and medicine. He tells us how "the great American thirst" developed over the centuries, and how reform movements and laws (some of which, Burn s says, were "comic masterpieces of the legislator's art") sprang up to combat it. Burns brings back to life such vivid characters as Carrie Nation and other crusaders against drink. He informs us that, in the final analysis, Prohibition, the culmination of the reformers' quest, had as much to do with politics and economics and geography as it did with spirituous beverage. Filled with the famous, the infamous, and the undeservedly anonymous, The Spirits of America is a masterpiece of the historian's art. It will stand as a classic chronicle—witty, perceptive, and comprehensive—of how this country was created by and continues to be shaped by its ever-changing relationship to the cocktail shaker and the keg.