front cover of Adventures in Eating
Adventures in Eating
Anthropological Experiences in Dining from Around the World
Helen R. Haines
University Press of Colorado, 2010
Anthropologists training to do fieldwork in far-off, unfamiliar places prepare for significant challenges with regard to language, customs, and other cultural differences. However, like other travelers to unknown places, they are often unprepared to deal with the most basic and necessary requirement: food. Although there are many books on the anthropology of food, Adventures in Eating is the first intended to prepare students for the uncomfortable dining situations they may encounter over the course of their careers.

Whether sago grubs, jungle rats, termites, or the pungent durian fruit are on the table, participating in the act of sharing food can establish relationships vital to anthropologists' research practices and knowledge of their host cultures. Using their own experiences with unfamiliar-and sometimes unappealing-food practices and customs, the contributors explore such eating moments and how these moments can produce new understandings of culture and the meaning of food beyond the immediate experience of eating it. They also address how personal eating experiences and culinary dilemmas can shape the data and methodologies of the discipline.

The main readership of Adventures in Eating will be students in anthropology and other scholars, but the explosion of food media gives the book additional appeal for fans of No Reservations and Bizarre Foods on the Travel Channel.

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Alimentary Tracts
Appetites, Aversions, and the Postcolonial
Parama Roy
Duke University Press, 2010
In Alimentary Tracts Parama Roy argues that who eats and with whom, who starves, and what is rejected as food are questions fundamental to empire, decolonization, and globalization. In crucial ways, she suggests, colonialism reconfigured the sensorium of colonizer and colonized, generating novel experiences of desire, taste, and appetite as well as new technologies of the embodied self. For colonizers, Indian nationalists, diasporic persons, and others in the colonial and postcolonial world orders, the alimentary tract functioned as an important corporeal, psychoaffective, and ethicopolitical contact zone, in which questions of identification, desire, difference, and responsibility were staged.

Interpreting texts that have addressed cooking, dining, taste, hungers, excesses, and aversions in South Asia and its diaspora since the mid-nineteenth century, Roy relates historical events and literary figures to tropes of disgust, abstention, dearth, and appetite. She analyzes the fears of pollution and deprivation conveyed in British accounts of the so-called Mutiny of 1857, complicates understandings of Mohandas K. Gandhi’s vegetarianism, examines the “famine fictions” of the novelist-actor Mahasweta Devi, and reflects on the diasporic cookbooks and screen performances of Madhur Jaffrey. This account of richly visceral global modernity furnishes readers with a new idiom for understanding historical action and cultural transformation.

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All Manners of Food
Eating and Taste in England and France from the Middle Ages to the Present
Stephen Mennell
University of Illinois Press, 1985
So close geographically, how could France and England be so enormously far apart gastronomically? Not just in different recipes and ways of cooking, but in their underlying attitudes toward the enjoyment of eating and its place in social life. In a new afterword that draws the United States and other European countries into the food fight, Stephen Mennell also addresses the rise of Asian influence and "multicultural" cuisine.
Debunking myths along the way, All Manners of Food is a sweeping look at how social and political development has helped to shape different culinary cultures. Food and almost everything to do with food, fasting and gluttony, cookbooks, women's magazines, chefs and cooks, types of foods, the influential difference between "court" and "country" food are comprehensively explored and tastefully presented in a dish that will linger in the memory long after the plates have been cleared.
     
 
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American Appetites
A Documentary Reader
Jennifer Jensen Wallach
University of Arkansas Press, 2014
Designed to appeal to students of history and foodies alike, American Appetites, the first book in the University of Arkansas Press’s new Food and Foodways series, brings together compelling firsthand testimony describing the nation’s collective eating habits throughout time. Beginning with Native American folktales that document foundational food habits and ending with contemporary discussions about how to obtain adequate, healthful, and ethical food, this volume reveals that the quest for food has always been about more than physical nourishment, demonstrating changing attitudes about issues ranging from patriotism and gender to technology and race. Readers will experience vicariously hunger and satiation, culinary pleasure and gustatory distress from perspectives as varied as those of enslaved Africans, nineteenth-century socialites, battle-weary soldiers, impoverished immigrants, and prominent politicians. Regardless of their status or the peculiarities of their historical moment, the Americans whose stories are captured here reveal that U.S. history cannot be understood apart from an examination of what drives and what feeds the American appetite.
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Appetites
Food and Sex in Post-Socialist China
Judith Farquhar
Duke University Press, 2002
Judith Farquhar’s innovative study of medicine and popular culture in modern China reveals the thoroughly political and historical character of pleasure. Ranging over a variety of cultural terrains--fiction, medical texts, film and television, journalism, and observations of clinics and urban daily life in Beijing—Appetites challenges the assumption that the mundane enjoyments of bodily life are natural and unvarying. Farquhar analyzes modern Chinese reflections on embodied existence to show how contemporary appetites are grounded in history.
From eating well in improving economic times to memories of the late 1950s famine, from the flavors of traditional Chinese medicine to modernity’s private sexual passions, this book argues that embodiment in all its forms must be invented and sustained in public reflections about personal and national life. As much at home in science studies and social theory as in the details of life in Beijing, this account uses anthropology, cultural studies, and literary criticism to read contemporary Chinese life in a materialist and reflexive mode. For both Maoist and market reform periods, this is a story of high culture in appetites, desire in collective life, and politics in the body and its dispositions.
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An Archive of Taste
Race and Eating in the Early United States
Lauren F. Klein
University of Minnesota Press, 2020

A groundbreaking synthesis of food studies, archival theory, and early American literature

 

There is no eating in the archive. This is not only a practical admonition to any would-be researcher but also a methodological challenge, in that there is no eating—or, at least, no food—preserved among the printed records of the early United States. Synthesizing a range of textual artifacts with accounts (both real and imagined) of foods harvested, dishes prepared, and meals consumed, An Archive of Taste reveals how a focus on eating allows us to rethink the nature and significance of aesthetics in early America, as well as of its archive.

Lauren F. Klein considers eating and early American aesthetics together, reframing the philosophical work of food and its meaning for the people who prepare, serve, and consume it. She tells the story of how eating emerged as an aesthetic activity over the course of the eighteenth century and how it subsequently transformed into a means of expressing both allegiance and resistance to the dominant Enlightenment worldview. Klein offers richly layered accounts of the enslaved men and women who cooked the meals of the nation’s founders and, in doing so, directly affected the development of our national culture—from Thomas Jefferson’s emancipation agreement with his enslaved chef to Malinda Russell’s Domestic Cookbook, the first African American–authored culinary text.

The first book to examine the gustatory origins of aesthetic taste in early American literature, An Archive of Taste shows how thinking about eating can help to tell new stories about the range of people who worked to establish a cultural foundation for the United States.

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Around the Roman Table
Food and Feasting in Ancient Rome
Patrick Faas
University of Chicago Press, 2005
Craving dolphin meatballs? Can't find a reliable restaurant for boiled parrot? Have a hankering for jellyfish omelettes, sows' wombs in brine, sheep's brain pate, or stuffed mice? Look no further than Around the Roman Table, a unique hybrid cookbook and history lesson. A portrait of Roman society from the vantage point of the dining table, kitchen, and market stalls, Around the Roman Table offers both an account of Roman eating customs and 150 recipes reconstructed for the modern cook.

Faas guides readers through the culinary conquests of Roman invasions—as conquerors pillaged foodstuffs from faraway lands—to the decadence of Imperial Rome and its associated table manners, dining arrangements, spices, seasonings, and cooking techniques. With recipes for such appetizing dishes as chicken galantine with lambs' brains and fish relish, Around the Roman Table is ideal for food aficionados who wish to understand how the desire for power and conquest was manifested in Roman appetites.

"There are many misconceptions about the food of ancient Rome that Faas sets out to correct. The result is half cookbook, half history book and is entirely fascinating to both chef and antiquarian alike."—Washington Times
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Baking, Bourbon, and Black Drink
Foodways Archaeology in the American Southeast
Edited by Tanya M. Peres and Aaron Deter-Wolf
University of Alabama Press, 2018
Archaeological case studies that explore the rituals and cultural significance of foods in the southeastern United States
 
Understanding and explaining societal rules surrounding food and foodways have been the foci of anthropological studies since the early days of the discipline. Baking, Bourbon, and Black Drink: Foodways Archaeology in the American Southeast, however, is the first collection devoted exclusively to southeastern foodways analyzed through archaeological perspectives. These essays examine which foods were eaten and move the discussion of foodstuffs into the sociocultural realm of why, how, and when they were eaten.
 
Editors Tanya M. Peres and Aaron Deter-Wolf present a volume that moves beyond basic understandings, applying new methods or focusing on subjects not widely discussed in the Southeast to date. Chapters are arranged using the dominant research themes of feasting, social and political status, food security and persistent places, and foodways histories. Contributors provide in-depth examination of specific food topics such as bone marrow, turkey, Black Drink, bourbon, earth ovens, and hominy.
 
Contributors bring a broad range of expertise to the collection, resulting in an expansive look at all of the steps taken from field to table, including procurement, production, cooking, and consumption, all of which have embedded cultural meanings and traditions. The scope of the volume includes the diversity of research specialties brought to bear on the topic of foodways as well as the temporal and regional breadth and depth, the integration of multiple lines of evidence, and, in some cases, the reinvestigation of well-known sites with new questions and new data.
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The Banquet
Dining in the Great Courts of Late Renaissance Europe
Ken Albala
University of Illinois Press, 2017
The importance of the banquet in the late Renaissance is impossible to overlook. Banquets showcased a host’s wealth and power, provided an occasion for nobles from distant places to gather together, and even served as a form of political propaganda. But what was it really like to cater to the tastes and habits of high society at the banquets of nobles, royalty, and popes? What did they eat and how did they eat it?

In The Banquet, Ken Albala covers the transitional period between the heavily spiced and colored cuisine of the Middle Ages and classical French haute cuisine. This development involved increasing use of dairy products, a move toward lighter meats such as veal and chicken, increasing identification of national food customs, more sweetness and aromatics, and a refined aesthetic sense, surprisingly in line with the late-Renaissance styles found in other arts.

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Biting through the Skin
An Indian Kitchen in America's Heartland
Nina Mukerjee Furstenau
University of Iowa Press, 2013
At once a traveler’s tale, a memoir, and a mouthwatering cookbook, Biting through the Skin offers a first-generation immigrant’s perspective on growing up in America’s heartland. Author Nina Mukerjee Furstenau’s parents brought her from Bengal in northern India to the small town of Pittsburg, Kansas, in 1964, decades before you could find long-grain rice or plain yogurt in American grocery stores. Embracing American culture, the Mukerjee family ate hamburgers and softserve ice cream, took a visiting guru out on the lake in their motorboat, and joined the Shriners. Her parents transferred the cultural, spiritual, and family values they had brought with them to their children only behind the closed doors of their home, through the rituals of cooking, serving, and eating Bengali food and making a proper cup of tea.

As a girl and a young woman, Nina traveled to her ancestral India as well as to college and to Peace Corps service in Tunisia. Through her journeys and her marriage to an American man whose grandparents hailed from Germany and Sweden, she learned that her family was not alone in being a small pocket of culture sheltered from the larger world. Biting through the Skin shows how we maintain our differences as well as how we come together through what and how we cook and eat. In mourning the partial loss of her heritage, the author finds that, ultimately, heritage always finds other ways of coming to meet us. In effect, it can be reduced to a 4 x 6-inch recipe card, something that can fit into a shirt pocket. It’s on just such tiny details of life that belonging rests.

In this book, the author shares her shirt-pocket recipes and a great deal more, inviting readers to join her on her journey toward herself and toward a vital sense of food as culture and the mortar of community.
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Bountiful Empire
A History of Ottoman Cuisine
Priscilla Mary Isin
Reaktion Books, 2018
The Ottoman Empire was one of the largest and longest-lasting empires in history—and one of the most culinarily inclined. In this powerful and complex concoction of politics, culture, and cuisine, the production and consumption of food reflected the lives of the empire’s citizens from sultans to soldiers. Food bound people of different classes and backgrounds together, defining identity and serving symbolic functions in the social, religious, political, and military spheres. In Bountiful Empire, Priscilla Mary Işın examines the changing meanings of the Ottoman Empire’s foodways as they evolved over more than five centuries.

Işın begins with the essential ingredients of this fascinating history, examining the earlier culinary traditions in which Ottoman cuisine was rooted, such as those of the Central Asian Turks, Abbasids, Seljuks, and Byzantines. She goes on to explore the diverse aspects of this rich culinary culture, including etiquette, cooks, restaurants, military food, food laws, and food trade. Drawing on everything from archival documents to poetry and featuring more than one hundred delectable illustrations, this meticulously researched, beautiful volume offers fresh and lively insight into an empire and cuisine that until recent decades have been too narrowly viewed through orientalist spectacles.
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China to Chinatown
Chinese Food in the West
J.A.G. Roberts
Reaktion Books, 2004
China to Chinatown tells the story of one of the most notable examples of the globalization of food: the spread of Chinese recipes, ingredients and cooking styles to the Western world. Beginning with the accounts of Marco Polo and Franciscan missionaries, J.A.G. Roberts describes how Westerners’ first impressions of Chinese food were decidedly mixed, with many regarding Chinese eating habits as repugnant. Chinese food was brought back to the West merely as a curiosity.

The Western encounter with a wider variety of Chinese cuisine dates from the first half of the 20th century, when Chinese food spread to the West with emigrant communities. The author shows how Chinese cooking has come to be regarded by some as among the world’s most sophisticated cuisines, and yet is harshly criticized by others, for example on the grounds that its preparation involves cruelty to animals.

Roberts discusses the extent to which Chinese food, as a facet of Chinese culture overseas, has remained differentiated, and questions whether its ethnic identity is dissolving.

Written in a lively style, the book will appeal to food historians and specialists in Chinese culture, as well as to readers interested in Chinese cuisine.
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Chorizos In An Iron Skillet
Memories And Recipes From An American Basque Daughter
Mary Ancho Davis
University of Nevada Press, 2001
Mary Ancho Davis invites everyone to join her at her mother’s table as she recalls her family’s traditions and history and shares special memories from her mother Dominga’s kitchen. From huge cream puffs filled with heavy cream skimmed from the top of raw milk, to recollections of ringing the large iron triangle hanging from a tree branch outside the kitchen door, in Chorizos in an Iron Skillet,Ancho Davis offers wonderful details about life and meals on her family’s Basque ranch.
In this charming cookbook, Mary Ancho Davis traces a path from Old Country traditional dishes to their modern versions as she shares her family’s recipes and details the evolution of Basque cooking in America. A personal cookbook from one Basque family, Chorizos in an Iron Skillet is also an engaging cultural study of culinary traditions that spans several generations of Basque immigration to the American West. With recipes for everything from Chicken with Chocolate and Dominga’s Basque Chorizos to Dried Apricot Pie, these Basque ranch dishes offer a multitude of delicious ideas for down-home cooking.
Illustrated with photographs from the Ancho family, plus helpful advice on ingredients and cooking techniques, Chorizos in an Iron Skillet is the perfect kitchen companion for filling your home with the flavors and aromas of Basque cooking.
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Cooling the Tropics
Ice, Indigeneity, and Hawaiian Refreshment
Hi'ilei Julia Kawehipuaakahaopulani Hobart
Duke University Press, 2023
Beginning in the mid-1800s, Americans hauled frozen pond water, then glacial ice, and then ice machines to Hawaiʻi—all in an effort to reshape the islands in the service of Western pleasure and profit. Marketed as “essential” for white occupants of the nineteenth-century Pacific, ice quickly permeated the foodscape through advancements in freezing and refrigeration technologies. In Cooling the Tropics Hiʻilei Julia Kawehipuaakahaopulani Hobart charts the social history of ice in Hawaiʻi to show how the interlinked concepts of freshness and refreshment mark colonial relationships to the tropics. From chilled drinks and sweets to machinery, she shows how ice and refrigeration underpinned settler colonial ideas about race, environment, and the senses. By outlining how ice shaped Hawaiʻi’s food system in accordance with racial and environmental imaginaries, Hobart demonstrates that thermal technologies can—and must—be attended to in struggles for food sovereignty and political self-determination in Hawaiʻi and beyond.

Duke University Press Scholars of Color First Book Award Recipient
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Cuisine, Colonialism and Cold War
Food in Twentieth-Century Korea
Katarzyna J. Cwiertka
Reaktion Books, 2012
When you consider the size of Korea’s population and the breadth of its territory, it’s easy to see that this small region has played a disproportionately large role in twentieth-century history. The peninsula has experienced colonial submission at the hands of Japan, occupation by the United States and the Soviet Union, war, and a national division that continues today.
 
Cuisine, Colonialism and Cold War traces these developments as they played out in an unusual sphere: Korea’s national cuisine, which is savored for its diversity of ingredients and flavor. Katarzyna J. Cwiertka shows that many foods and dietary practices identified as Korean have been created or influenced by its colonial encounters, and she uncovers how the military and the Cold War had an impact on diet in both the North and South. Surveying the manufacture and consumption of rice and soy sauce, the rise of restaurants, wartime food, and the 1990s famine that still affects North Korea, Cwiertka illuminates the persistent legacy of Japanese rule and the consequences of armed conflicts and the Cold War. Bringing us closer to the Korean people and their daily lives, this book shines new light on critical issues in the social history of this peninsula.
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Desert Terroir
Exploring the Unique Flavors and Sundry Places of the Borderlands
By Gary Paul Nabhan
University of Texas Press, 2012

Why does food taste better when you know where it comes from? Because history—ecological, cultural, even personal—flavors every bite we eat. Whether it’s the volatile chemical compounds that a plant absorbs from the soil or the stories and memories of places that are evoked by taste, layers of flavor await those willing to delve into the roots of real food. In this landmark book, Gary Paul Nabhan takes us on a personal trip into the southwestern borderlands to discover the terroir—the “taste of the place”—that makes this desert so delicious.

To savor the terroir of the borderlands, Nabhan presents a cornucopia of local foods—Mexican oregano, mesquite-flour tortillas, grass-fed beef, the popular Mexican dessert capirotada, and corvina (croaker or drum fish) among them—as well as food experiences that range from the foraging of Cabeza de Vaca and his shipwrecked companions to a modern-day camping expedition on the Rio Grande. Nabhan explores everything from the biochemical agents that create taste in these foods to their history and dispersion around the world. Through his field adventures and humorous stories, we learn why Mexican oregano is most potent when gathered at the most arid margins of its range—and why foods found in the remote regions of the borderlands have surprising connections to foods found by his ancestors in the deserts of the Mediterranean and the Middle East. By the end of his movable feast, Nabhan convinces us that the roots of this fascinating terroir must be anchored in our imaginations as well as in our shifting soils.

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Dethroning the Deceitful Pork Chop
Rethinking African American Foodways from Slavery to Obama
Jennifer Jensen Wallach
University of Arkansas Press, 2015
2016 Choice Outstanding Academic Title
2017 Association for the Study of Food and Society Award, best edited collection.

The fifteen essays collected in Dethroning the Deceitful Pork Chop utilize a wide variety of methodological perspectives to explore African American food expressions from slavery up through the present. The volume offers fresh insights into a growing field beginning to reach maturity. The contributors demonstrate that throughout time black people have used food practices as a means of overtly resisting white oppression—through techniques like poison, theft, deception, and magic—or more subtly as a way of asserting humanity and ingenuity, revealing both cultural continuity and improvisational finesse. Collectively, the authors complicate generalizations that conflate African American food culture with southern-derived soul food and challenge the tenacious hold that stereotypical black cooks like Aunt Jemima and the depersonalized Mammy have on the American imagination. They survey the abundant but still understudied archives of black food history and establish an ongoing research agenda that should animate American food culture scholarship for years to come.
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Dining Out in Boston
A Culinary History
James C. O'Connell
University Press of New England, 2016
Over the years, Boston has been one of America’s leading laboratories of urban culture, including restaurants, and Boston history provides valuable insights into American food ways. James C. O’Connell, in this fascinating look at more than two centuries of culinary trends in Boston restaurants, presents a rich and hitherto unexplored side to the city’s past. Dining Out in Boston shows that the city was a pioneer in elaborate hotel dining, oyster houses, French cuisine, student hangouts, ice cream parlors, the twentieth-century revival of traditional New England dishes, and contemporary locavore and trendy foodie culture. In these stories of the most-beloved Boston restaurants of yesterday and today—illustrated with an extensive collection of historic menus, postcards, and photos—O’Connell reveals a unique history sure to whet the intellectual and nostalgic appetite of Bostonians and restaurant-goers the world over.
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Dinner with Darwin
Food, Drink, and Evolution
Jonathan Silvertown
University of Chicago Press, 2017
What do eggs, flour, and milk have in common? They form the basis of waffles, of course, but these staples of breakfast bounty also share an evolutionary function: eggs, seeds (from which we derive flour by grinding), and milk have each evolved to nourish offspring. Indeed, ponder the genesis of your breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and you’ll soon realize that everything we eat and drink has an evolutionary history. In Dinner with Darwin, join Jonathan Silvertown for a multicourse meal of evolutionary gastronomy, a tantalizing tour of human taste that helps us to understand the origins of our diets and the foods that have been central to them for millennia—from spices to spirits.

A delectable concoction of coevolution and cookery, gut microbiomes and microherbs, and both the chicken and its egg, Dinner with Darwin reveals that our shopping lists, recipe cards, and restaurant menus don’t just contain the ingredients for culinary delight. They also tell a fascinating story about natural selection and its influence on our plates—and palates. Digging deeper, Silvertown’s repast includes entrées into GMOs and hybrids, and looks at the science of our sensory interactions with foods and cooking—the sights, aromas, and tastes we experience in our kitchens and dining rooms. As is the wont of any true chef, Silvertown packs his menu with eclectic components, dishing on everything from Charles Darwin’s intestinal maladies to taste bud anatomy and turducken.

Our evolutionary relationship with food and drink stretches from the days of cooking cave dwellers to contemporary crêperies and beyond, and Dinner with Darwin serves up scintillating insight into the entire, awesome span. This feast of soup, science, and human society is one to savor. With a wit as dry as a fine pinot noir and a cache of evolutionary knowledge as vast as the most discerning connoisseur’s wine cellar, Silvertown whets our appetites—and leaves us hungry for more.
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Discriminating Taste
How Class Anxiety Created the American Food Revolution
Finn, S. Margot
Rutgers University Press, 2017
Winner of the 2018 First Book Prize from the Association for the Study of Food and Society

For the past four decades, increasing numbers of Americans have started paying greater attention to the food they eat, buying organic vegetables, drinking fine wines, and seeking out exotic cuisines. Yet they are often equally passionate about the items they refuse to eat: processed foods, generic brands, high-carb meals. While they may care deeply about issues like nutrition and sustainable agriculture, these discriminating diners also seek to differentiate themselves from the unrefined eater, the common person who lives on junk food.

Discriminating Taste argues that the rise of gourmet, ethnic, diet, and organic foods must be understood in tandem with the ever-widening income inequality gap. Offering an illuminating historical perspective on our current food trends, S. Margot Finn draws numerous parallels with the Gilded Age of the late nineteenth century, an era infamous for its class divisions, when gourmet dinners, international cuisines, slimming diets, and pure foods first became fads.

Examining a diverse set of cultural touchstones ranging from Ratatouille to The Biggest Loser, Finn identifies the key ways that “good food” has become conflated with high status. She also considers how these taste hierarchies serve as a distraction, leading middle-class professionals to focus on small acts of glamorous and virtuous consumption while ignoring their class’s larger economic stagnation. A provocative look at the ideology of contemporary food culture, Discriminating Taste teaches us to question the maxim that you are what you eat.
 
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Early French Cookery
Sources, History, Original Recipes and Modern Adaptations
D. Eleanor Scully and Terence Scully
University of Michigan Press, 2002
Early French Cookery introduces the general features of the food prepared for wealthy French households at the end of the Middle Ages. The volume presents over 100 recipes, drawn from actual medieval manuscripts, together with preparation instructions. The authors help place these enticing recipes in context through a short survey of medieval dining behavior, and they give practical menu suggestions for preparing simple meals or banquets that incorporate these delightfully tasty dishes.
Chapters include an overview of early French culinary traditions, foodstuffs that were used, and methods of preparation. Early French Cookery also discusses the equipment of the kitchens and dining rooms that were used, and characterizes those who prepared the food and those who consumed it.
The recipes are set out in a modern format, with quantities given in both metric and standard U.S. measurements. Recipes are grouped by category: appetizers, vegetables, fish dishes, desserts, and so forth.
Early French Cookery concludes with a fascinating look at a day in the life of a contemporary master chef at a duke's court. We watch Master Chiquart organize the purchase, storage, preparation, and serving of the food consumed by a duke and his dozens of family members, courtiers, staff and servants--and all done without benefit of grocery stores, refrigeration, labor-saving electric appliances, or running water.
Early French Cookery will be of interest to a wide variety of people, from those who like to hold unusual parties to those who are interested in the economics of the middle ages.
D. Eleanor Scully is an occasional lecturer at the Stratford Chef School and advisor to Wilfrid Laurier University on Medieval and Renaissance cooking and customs. Terence Scully is Professor of French Language and Literature, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario.
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Earth Ovens and Desert Lifeways
10,000 Years of Indigenous Cooking in the Arid Landscapes of North America
Edited by Charles W. Koenig and Myles R. Miller
University of Utah Press, 2023

For over 10,000 years, earth ovens (semi-subterranean, layered arrangements of heated rocks, packing material, and food stuffs capped by earth) have played important economic and social roles for Indigenous peoples living across the arid landscapes of western North America. From hunter-gatherers to formative horticulturalists, sedentary farmers, and contemporary Indigenous groups, earth ovens have been used to convert inedible plants into digestible food, fiber, and beverages.
 
The remains of earth ovens range from tight, circular clusters of burned rocks, generally labeled “hearths” by archaeologists, to the massive accumulations of fire-cracked rock referred to as earth oven facilities, roasting pits, or burned rock middens. Remnants of these oven forms are common across the arid and semi-arid landscapes that stretch from Texas to California and south into Mexico. Despite the ubiquity of earth ovens from late Paleoindian times until today, and their broad spatial and cultural distribution, these features remain an under-studied aspect of Indigenous lifeways.

This edited volume explores the longevity and diversity of earth oven baking and examines the subsistence strategies, technological paradigms, and social contexts within which earth ovens functioned. It is the first study to cover such a broad geographic area, reflecting an array of promising research that highlights ongoing efforts to understand the archaeological record of earth ovens.

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Eat Not This Flesh, 2nd Edition
Food Avoidances from Prehistory to the Present
Frederick J. Simoons
University of Wisconsin Press, 1994

Hailed as a classic when initially published in 1961, Eat Not This Flesh was the first book that explored, from a historical and cultural perspective, taboos against eating certain kinds of flesh. Frederick J. Simoons's research remains original and invaluable, the only attempt of its kind to reconstruct the origin and spread of food avoidances while challenging current Western explanations. In this expanded and updated edition, Simoons integrates new research as he examines the use and avoidance of flesh foods—including beef, pork, chicken, and eggs, camel, dog, horse, and fish—from antiquity to the present day.
    Simoons suggests that Westerners are too ready, even in the absence of supporting evidence, to cite contemporary thinking about disease and environmental factors to explain why certain cultures avoid particular kinds of meat. He demonstrates how historical and archaeological evidence fails to support such explanations. He examines the origin of pork rejection in the Near East, explores the concept of the sacred cow in India and the ensuing ban on beef, and reveals how some African women abstain from chicken and eggs, fearing infertility. 
    While no single explanation exists for food taboos, Simoons finds that the powerful, recurrent theme of maintaining ritual purity, good health, and well-being underlies diet habits. He emphasizes that only a full range of factors can explain eating patterns, and he stresses the interplay of religious, moral, hygienic, ecological, and economic factors in the context of human culture. Maps, drawings, and photos highlighting food avoidance patterns in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Pacific provide additional information throughout the book.

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Eating beside Ourselves
Thresholds of Foods and Bodies
Heather Paxson, editor
Duke University Press, 2023
Eating beside Ourselves examines eating as a site of transfer and transformation across bodies and selves. The contributors show that by turning organic substance into food, acts of eating create interconnected food webs organized by relative conditions of edibility through which eaters may in turn become eaten. In case studies ranging from nineteenth- and twentieth-century industrial animal husbandry in the United States, biodynamic winemaking in Aotearoa New Zealand, and reindeer herding in Arctic Norway to the creation of taste sensation in pet food and the entanglement of sugar and diabetes in the Caribbean, the contributors explore how food and eating create thresholds for human and nonhuman relations. These thresholds mediate different conditions and states of being: between living and dying, between the edible and the inedible, and the relationship between living organisms and their surrounding environment. In this way, acts of eating and the process of metabolism partake in the making and unmaking of multispecies ontologies, taxonomies, and ecologies.

Contributors. Alex Blanchette, Deborah Heath, Hannah Landecker, Marianne Elisabeth Lien, Amy Moran-Thomas, Heather Paxson, Harris Solomon, Emily Yates-Doerr, Wim Van Daele
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Eating Her Curries and Kway
A Cultural History of Food in Singapore
Nicole Tarulevicz
University of Illinois Press, 2013

Discovering Singaporean identity through cooking and cuisine

While eating is a universal experience, for Singaporeans it carries strong national connotations. The popular Singaporean-English phrase "Die die must try" is not so much hyperbole as it is a reflection of the lengths that Singaporeans will go to find great dishes.

In Eating Her Curries and Kway: A Cultural History of Food in Singapore, Nicole Tarulevicz argues that in a society that has undergone substantial change in a relatively short amount of time, food serves Singaporeans as a poignant connection to the past. Eating has provided a unifying practice for a diverse society, a metaphor for multiracialism and recognizable national symbols for a fledgling state. Covering the period from British settlement in 1819 to the present and focusing on the post–1965 postcolonial era, Tarulevicz tells the story of Singapore through the production and consumption of food.

Analyzing a variety of sources that range from cookbooks to architectural and city plans, Tarulevicz offer a thematic history of this unusual country, which was colonized by the British and operated as a port within Malaya. Connecting food culture to the larger history of Singapore, she discusses various topics including domesticity and home economics, housing and architecture, advertising, and the regulation of food-related manners and public behavior such as hawking, littering, and chewing gum. Moving away from the predominantly political and economic focus of other histories of Singapore, Eating Her Curries and Kway provides an important alternative reading of Singaporean society.

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Eating in Theory
Annemarie Mol
Duke University Press, 2021
As we taste, chew, swallow, digest, and excrete, our foods transform us, while our eating, in its turn, affects the wider earthly environment. In Eating in Theory Annemarie Mol takes inspiration from these transformative entanglements to rethink what it is to be human. Drawing on fieldwork at food conferences, research labs, health care facilities, restaurants, and her own kitchen table, Mol reassesses the work of authors such as Hannah Arendt, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Hans Jonas, and Emmanuel Levinas. They celebrated the allegedly unique capability of humans to rise above their immediate bodily needs. Mol, by contrast, appreciates that as humans we share our fleshy substance with other living beings, whom we cultivate, cut into pieces, transport, prepare, and incorporate—and to whom we leave our excesses. This has far-reaching philosophical consequences. Taking human eating seriously suggests a reappraisal of being as transformative, knowing as entangling, doing as dispersed, and relating as a matter of inescapable dependence.
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Eating on the Wild Side
The Pharmacologic, Ecologic and Social Implications of Using Noncultigens
Edited by Nina L. Etkin
University of Arizona Press, 2000
People have long used wild plants as food and medicine, and for a myriad of other important cultural applications. While these plants and the foraging activities associated with them have been dismissed by some observers as secondary or supplementary—or even backward—their contributions to human survival and well-being are more significant than is often realized. Eating on the Wild Side spans the history of human-plant interactions to examine how wild plants are used to meet medicinal, nutritional, and other human needs.

Drawing on nonhuman primate studies, evidence from prehistoric human populations, and field research among contemporary peoples practicing a range of subsistence strategies, the book focuses on the processes and human ecological implications of gathering, semidomestication, and cultivation of plants that are unfamiliar to most of us. Contributions by distinguished cultural and biological anthropologists, paleobotanists, primatologists, and ethnobiologists explore a number of issues such as the consumption of unpalatable and famine foods, the comparative assessment of aboriginal diets with those of colonists and later arrivals, and the apparent self-treatment by sick chimpanzees with leaves shown to be pharmacologically active.

Collectively, these articles offer a theoretical framework emphasizing the cultural evolutionary processes that transform plants from wild to domesticated—with many steps in between—while placing wild plant use within current discussions surrounding biodiversity and its conservation. Eating on the Wild Side makes an important contribution to our understanding of the links between biology and culture, describing the interface between diet, medicine, and natural products. By showing how various societies have successfully utilized wild plants, it underscores the growing concern for preserving genetic diversity as it reveals a fascinating chapter in the human ecology.

CONTENTS
1. The Cull of the Wild, Nina L. Etkin
2. Agriculture and the Acquisition of Medicinal Plant Knowledge, Michael H. Logan & Anna R. Dixon
3. Ambivalence to the Palatability Factors in Wild Food Plants, Timothy Johns
4. Wild Plants as Cultural Adaptations to Food Stress, Rebecca Huss-Ashmore & Susan L. Johnston
Physiologic Implications of Wild Plant Consumption
5. Pharmacologic Implications of "Wild" Plants in Hausa Diet, Nina L. Etkin & Paul J. Ross
6. Wild Plants as Food and Medicine in Polynesia, Paul Alan Cox
7. Characteristics of "Wild" Plant Foods Used by Indigenous Populations in Amazonia, Darna L. Dufour & Warren M. Wilson
8. The Health Significance of Wild Plants for the Siona and Secoya, William T. Vickers
9. North American Food and Drug Plants, Daniel M. Moerman
Wild Plants in Prehistory
10. Interpreting Wild Plant Foods in the Archaeological Record, Frances B. King
11. Coprolite Evidence for Prehistoric Foodstuffs, Condiments, and Medicines, Heather B. Trigg, Richard I. Ford, John G. Moore & Louise D. Jessop
Plants and Nonhuman Primates
12. Nonhuman Primate Self-Medication with Wild Plant Foods, Kenneth E. Glander
13. Wild Plant Use by Pregnant and Lactating Ringtail Lemurs, with Implications for Early Hominid Foraging, Michelle L. Sauther
Epilogue
14. In Search of Keystone Societies, Brien A. Meilleur
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Eating Right in America
The Cultural Politics of Food and Health
Charlotte Biltekoff
Duke University Press, 2013
Eating Right in America is a powerful critique of dietary reform in the United States from the late nineteenth-century emergence of nutritional science through the contemporary alternative food movement and campaign against obesity. Charlotte Biltekoff analyzes the discourses of dietary reform, including the writings of reformers, as well as the materials they created to bring their messages to the public. She shows that while the primary aim may be to improve health, the process of teaching people to "eat right" in the U.S. inevitably involves shaping certain kinds of subjects and citizens, and shoring up the identity and social boundaries of the ever-threatened American middle class. Without discounting the pleasures of food or the value of wellness, Biltekoff advocates a critical reappraisal of our obsession with diet as a proxy for health. Based on her understanding of the history of dietary reform, she argues that talk about "eating right" in America too often obscures structural and environmental stresses and constraints, while naturalizing the dubious redefinition of health as an individual responsibility and imperative.
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Eating the Ocean
Elspeth Probyn
Duke University Press, 2016
In Eating the Ocean Elspeth Probyn investigates the profound importance of the ocean and the future of fish and human entanglement. On her ethnographic journey around the world's oceans and fisheries, she finds that the ocean is being simplified in a food politics that is overwhelmingly land based and preoccupied with buzzwords like "local" and "sustainable." Developing a conceptual tack that combines critical analysis and embodied ethnography, she dives into the lucrative and endangered bluefin tuna market, the gendered politics of "sustainability," the ghoulish business of producing fish meal and fish oil for animals and humans, and the long history of encounters between humans and oysters. Seeing the ocean as the site of the entanglement of multiple species—which are all implicated in the interactions of technology, culture, politics, and the market—enables us to think about ways to develop a reflexive ethics of taste and place based in the realization that we cannot escape the food politics of the human-fish relationship. 
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Eating Together
Food, Friendship and Inequality
Alice P. Julier
University of Illinois Press, 2013
 
An insightful map of the landscape of social meals, Eating Together: Food, Friendship, and Inequality argues that the ways in which Americans eat together play a central role in social life in the United States. Delving into a wide range of research, Alice P. Julier analyzes etiquette and entertaining books from the past century and conducts interviews and observations of dozens of hosts and guests at dinner parties, potlucks, and buffets. She finds that when people invite friends, neighbors, or family members to share meals within their households, social inequalities involving race, economics, and gender reveal themselves in interesting ways: relationships are defined, boundaries of intimacy or distance are set, and people find themselves either excluded or included.

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Edible Medicines
An Ethnopharmacology of Food
Nina L. Etkin
University of Arizona Press, 2006
Chile pepper is used today as a flavoring, but Aztecs also applied it for toothache, sore throat, and asthma. The tonic properties of coffee have been recorded in Islamic pharmacopoeia since the eleventh century, and many peoples have used it to protect against Parkinson’s disease. Although much has been documented regarding the nutritional values of foods, until recently little attention has been paid to the pharmacologic potential of diet.

This book investigates the health implications of foods from the cuisines of peoples around the world to describe the place of food in health maintenance. In this wide-ranging book, Nina Etkin reveals the pharmacologic potential of foods in the specific cultural contexts in which they are used. Incorporating co-evolution with a biocultural perspective, she addresses some of the physiological effects of foods across cultures and through history while taking into account both the complex dynamics of food choice and the blurred distinctions between food and medicine.

Showing that food choice is more closely linked to health than is commonly thought, she helps us to understand the health implications of people’s food-centered actions in the context of real-life circumstances. Drawing on an extensive literature that transects food and culture, the history of medicine, ethnopharmacology, food history, nutrition, and human evolution, Edible Medicines demonstrates the intricate relationship between culture and nature. It will appeal to a wide range of scholars and professionals, from anthropologists to nutritionists, as well as general readers seeking a greater understanding of the medicinal aspects of food.
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Espíritu Santo de Zúñiga
A Frontier Mission in South Texas
By Tamra Lynn Walter
University of Texas Press, 2007

San Antonio Conservation Society Citation, 2009

In the early part of the eighteenth century, the Spanish colonial mission Espíritu Santo de Zúñiga was relocated from far south Texas to a site along the Guadalupe River in Mission Valley, Victoria County. This mission, along with a handful of others in south Texas, was established by the Spaniards in an effort to Christianize and civilize the local Native American tribes in the hopes that they would become loyal Spanish citizens who would protect this new frontier from foreign incursions.

With written historical records scarce for Espíritu Santo, Tamra Walter relies heavily on material culture recovered at this site through a series of recent archaeological investigations to present a compelling portrait of the Franciscan mission system. By examining findings from the entire mission site, including the compound, irrigation system, quarry, and kiln, she focuses on questions that are rarely, if ever, answered through historical records alone: What was daily life at the mission like? What effect did the mission routine have on the traditional lifeways of the mission Indians? How were both the Indians and the colonizers changed by their frontier experiences, and what does this say about the missionization process?

Walter goes beyond simple descriptions of artifacts and mission architecture to address the role these elements played in the lives of the mission residents, demonstrating how archaeology is able to address issues that are not typically addressed by historians. In doing so, she presents an accurate portrait of life in South Texas at this time. This study of Mission Espíritu Santo will serve as a model for research at similar early colonial sites in Texas and elsewhere.

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Ethnic Regional Foodways United States
Performance Of Group Identity
Linda Keller Brown
University of Tennessee Press, 1984
 " . . . provides valuable information for the specialist in American studies, and for the anthropologist or folklorist focusing on food use, and may also be of interest to the general reading audience.  With such a wide appeal, the book may not only document the American romance with ethnic foods, but may contribute to it as well."
—Joanne Wagner, Anthropological Quarterly

How do customs surrounding the preparation and consumption of food define minorities within a population?  The question receives fascinating and multifaceted answers in this book, which considers a smorgasbord of dishes that sustain group identity and often help to bridge inter-group barriers.
The essays explore the symbolic meaning of shared foodways in interpreting inter- and intra-group behavior, with attention to theoretical problems and the implications of foodways research for public policy.  Topics receiving rewarding analysis in this volume include food festivals, modes of food preparation, meal cycles, seasonal celebrations, nutrition education, and the government's inattention to ethnic customs in forumlating its food policies.


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Farming, Hunting, and Fishing in the Olmec World
By Amber M. VanDerwarker
University of Texas Press, 2006

The Olmec who anciently inhabited Mexico's southern Gulf Coast organized their once-egalitarian society into chiefdoms during the Formative period (1400 BC to AD 300). This increase in political complexity coincided with the development of village agriculture, which has led scholars to theorize that agricultural surpluses gave aspiring Olmec leaders control over vital resources and thus a power base on which to build authority and exact tribute.

In this book, Amber VanDerwarker conducts the first multidisciplinary analysis of subsistence patterns at two Olmec settlements to offer a fuller understanding of how the development of political complexity was tied to both agricultural practices and environmental factors. She uses plant and animal remains, as well as isotopic data, to trace the intensification of maize agriculture during the Late Formative period. She also examines how volcanic eruptions in the region affected subsistence practices and settlement patterns. Through these multiple sets of data, VanDerwarker presents convincing evidence that Olmec and epi-Olmec lifeways of farming, hunting, and fishing were driven by both political and environmental pressures and that the rise of institutionalized leadership must be understood within the ecological context in which it occurred.

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Feast or Famine
Food and Drink in American Westward Expansion
Reginald Horsman
University of Missouri Press, 2008

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.

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Feasts and Fasts
A History of Food in India
Colleen Taylor Sen
Reaktion Books, 2015
From dal to samosas, paneer to vindaloo, dosa to naan, Indian food is diverse and wide-ranging—unsurprising when you consider India’s incredible range of climates, languages, religions, tribes, and customs. Its cuisine differs from north to south, yet what is it that makes Indian food recognizably Indian, and how did it get that way? To answer those questions, Colleen Taylor Sen examines the diet of the Indian subcontinent for thousands of years, describing the country’s cuisine in the context of its religious, moral, social, and philosophical development.
           
Exploring the ancient indigenous plants such as lentils, eggplants, and peppers that are central to the Indian diet, Sen depicts the country’s agricultural bounty and the fascination it has long held for foreign visitors. She illuminates how India’s place at the center of a vast network of land and sea trade routes led it to become a conduit for plants, dishes, and cooking techniques to and from the rest of the world. She shows the influence of the British and Portuguese during the colonial period, and she addresses India’s dietary prescriptions and proscriptions, the origins of vegetarianism, its culinary borrowings and innovations, and the links between diet, health, and medicine. She also offers a taste of Indian cooking itself—especially its use of spices, from chili pepper, cardamom, and cumin to turmeric, ginger, and coriander—and outlines how the country’s cuisine varies throughout its many regions.
           
Lavishly illustrated with one hundred images, Feasts and Fasts is a mouthwatering tour of Indian food full of fascinating anecdotes and delicious recipes that will have readers devouring its pages.
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Food Across Borders
Garcia, Matt
Rutgers University Press, 2017
The act of eating defines and redefines borders. What constitutes “American” in our cuisine has always depended on a liberal crossing of borders, from “the line in the sand” that separates Mexico and the United States, to the grassland boundary with Canada, to the imagined divide in our collective minds between “our” food and “their” food. Immigrant workers have introduced new cuisines and ways of cooking that force the nation to question the boundaries between “us” and “them.”  

The stories told in Food Across Borders highlight the contiguity between the intimate decisions we make as individuals concerning what we eat and the social and geopolitical processes we enact to secure nourishment, territory, and belonging.   

Published in cooperation with the William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies, Southern Methodist University.
 
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Food for Dissent
Natural Foods and the Consumer Counterculture since the 1960s
Maria McGrath
University of Massachusetts Press, 2019
In the 1960s and early 1970s, countercultural rebels decided that, rather than confront the system, they would create the world they wanted. The natural foods movement grew out of this contrarian spirit. Through a politics of principled shopping, eating, and entrepreneurship, food revolutionaries dissented from corporate capitalism and mainstream America.

In Food for Dissent, Maria McGrath traces the growth of the natural foods movement from its countercultural fringe beginning to its twenty-first-century "food revolution" ascendance, focusing on popular natural foods touchstones—vegetarian cookbooks, food co-ops, and health advocates. Guided by an ideology of ethical consumption, these institutions and actors spread the movement's oppositionality and transformed America's foodscape, at least for some. Yet this strategy proved an uncertain instrument for the advancement of social justice, environmental defense, and anti-corporatism. The case studies explored in Food for Dissent indicate the limits of using conscientious eating, shopping, and selling as tools for civic activism.
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Food, Genes, and Culture
Eating Right for Your Origins
Gary Paul Nabhan
Island Press, 2014

Vegan, low fat, low carb, slow carb: Every diet seems to promise a one-size-fits-all solution to health. But they ignore the diversity of human genes and how they interact with what we eat.

In Food, Genes, and Culture, renowned ethnobotanist Gary Nabhan shows why the perfect diet for one person could be disastrous for another. If your ancestors were herders in Northern Europe, milk might well provide you with important nutrients, whereas if you’re Native American, you have a higher likelihood of lactose intolerance. If your roots lie in the Greek islands, the acclaimed Mediterranean diet might save your heart; if not, all that olive oil could just give you stomach cramps.

Nabhan traces food traditions around the world, from Bali to Mexico, uncovering the links between ancestry and individual responses to food. The implications go well beyond personal taste. Today’s widespread mismatch between diet and genes is leading to serious health conditions, including a dramatic growth over the last 50 years in auto-immune and inflammatory diseases.

Readers will not only learn why diabetes is running rampant among indigenous peoples and heart disease has risen among those of northern European descent, but may find the path to their own perfect diet.


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Food in Missouri
A Cultural Stew
Madeline Matson
University of Missouri Press, 1994

Corn, squash, and beans from the Native Americans; barbecue sauces from the Spanish; potatoes and sausages from the Germans: Missouri's foods include a bountiful variety of ingredients. In Food in Missouri: A Cultural Stew, Madeline Matson takes readers on an enticing journey through the history of this state's food, from the hunting and farming methods of the area's earliest inhabitants, through the contributions of the state's substantial African American population, to the fast-food purveyors of the microwave age.

Tracing the history of food preparation, preservation, and marketing, while highlighting the cultural traditions that engendered each change, Matson shows how advances in farming methods, the invention of the electric range, the development of cookbooks, and three waves of immigration have profoundly influenced what Missourians eat today. Along the way, she highlights some of the key people, places, and institutions in Missouri's food history: Irma S. Rombauer, author of Joy of Cooking; Stark Bro's Nurseries and Orchards in Louisiana, Missouri, the largest family-owned fruit-tree nursery in the world and the home of Delicious, Golden Delicious, and Gala apples; St. Louis's Soulard Market, established in 1779 and said to be the oldest public market west of the Mississippi; and Stone Hill Winery, a leader in Hermann's nationally recognized wine- making industry.

By bringing to life the traditions behind the foods we eat every day, Food in Missouri provides a unique perspective on the people who explored and settled the state, showing that Missouri's rich heritage truly is a cultural stew.

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Food in the American Gilded Age
Helen Zoe Veit
Michigan State University Press, 2017
Food was incredibly diverse in post–Civil War America. It was an era of gross income inequality, and differences in diet reflected the deep disparities between upper and lower classes, as well as the expansion of a flourishing middle class. In this book, excerpts from a wide range of Gilded Age sources—from period cookbooks to advice manuals to dietary studies—reveal how jarringly eating and cooking differed between classes and regions at a time when technology and industrialization were transforming what and how people ate. Most of all, they show how strongly the fabled glitz of wealthy Americans in the Gilded Age contrasted with the lives of most Americans. Featuring a variety of sources as well as accessible essays putting those sources into context, this book provides a remarkable portrait of food in a singular era in American history, giving a glimpse into the kinds of meals eaten everywhere from high society banquets to the meanest tenements and sharecropping cabins.
 
 
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Food in the Civil War Era
The North
Helen Zoe Veit
Michigan State University Press, 2014
Cookbooks offer a unique and valuable way to examine American life. Their lessons, however, are not always obvious. Direct references to the American Civil War were rare in cookbooks, even in those published right in the middle of it. In part, this is a reminder that lives went on and that dinner still appeared on most tables most nights, no matter how much the world was changing outside. But people accustomed to thinking of cookbooks as a source for recipes, and not much else, can be surprised by how much information they can reveal about the daily lives and ways of thinking of the people who wrote and used them. In this fascinating historical compilation, excerpts from five Civil War–era cookbooks present a compelling portrait of cooking and eating in the urban north of the 1860s United States.
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Food in the Civil War Era
The South
Helen Zoe Veit
Michigan State University Press, 2015
Almost immediately, the Civil War transformed the way Southerners ate, devastating fields and food transportation networks. The war also spurred Southerners to canonize prewar cooking styles, resulting in cuisine that retained nineteenth-century techniques in a way other American cuisines did not. This fascinating book presents a variety of Civil War-era recipes from the South, accompanied by eye-opening essays describing this tumultuous period in the way people lived and ate. The cookbooks excerpted here teem with the kinds of recipes we expect to find when we go looking for Southern food: grits and gumbo, succotash and Hopping John, catfish, coleslaw, watermelon pickles, and sweet potato pie. The cookbooks also offer plenty of surprises. This volume, the second in the American Food in History series, sheds new light on cooking and eating in the Civil War South, pointing out how seemingly neutral recipes can reveal unexpected things about life beyond the dinner plate, from responses to the anti-slavery movement to shifting economic imperatives to changing ideas about women’s roles. Together, these recipes and essays provide a unique portrait of Southern life via the flavors, textures, and techniques that grew out of a time of crisis.
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Food Instagram
Identity, Influence, and Negotiation
Edited by Emily J. H. Contois and Zenia Kish
University of Illinois Press, 2022
Winner of the 2023 Association for the Study of Food and Society Book Prize for Edited Volume

Image by image and hashtag by hashtag, Instagram has redefined the ways we relate to food. Emily J. H. Contois and Zenia Kish edit contributions that explore the massively popular social media platform as a space for self-identification, influence, transformation, and resistance. Artists and journalists join a wide range of scholars to look at food’s connection to Instagram from vantage points as diverse as Hong Kong’s camera-centric foodie culture, the platform’s long history with feminist eateries, and the photography of Australia’s livestock producers. What emerges is a portrait of an arena where people do more than build identities and influence. Users negotiate cultural, social, and economic practices in a place that, for all its democratic potential, reinforces entrenched dynamics of power.

Interdisciplinary in approach and transnational in scope, Food Instagram offers general readers and experts alike new perspectives on an important social media space and its impact on a fundamental area of our lives.

Contributors: Laurence Allard, Joceline Andersen, Emily Buddle, Robin Caldwell, Emily J. H. Contois, Sarah E. Cramer, Gaby David, Deborah A. Harris, KC Hysmith, Alex Ketchum, Katherine Kirkwood, Zenia Kish, Stinne Gunder Strøm Krogager, Jonathan Leer, Yue-Chiu Bonni Leung, Yi-Chieh Jessica Lin, Michael Z. Newman, Tsugumi Okabe, Rachel Phillips, Sarah Garcia Santamaria, Tara J. Schuwerk, Sarah E. Tracy, Emily Truman, Dawn Woolley, and Zara Worth

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The Food We Eat, the Stories We Tell
Contemporary Appalachian Tables
Elizabeth S. D. Engelhardt
Ohio University Press, 2019

Blue Ridge tacos, kimchi with soup beans and cornbread, family stories hiding in cookbook marginalia, African American mountain gardens—this wide-ranging anthology considers all these and more. Diverse contributors show us that contemporary Appalachian tables and the stories they hold offer new ways into understanding past, present, and future American food practices. The poets, scholars, fiction writers, journalists, and food professionals in these pages show us that what we eat gives a beautifully full picture of Appalachia, where it’s been, and where it’s going.

Contributors: Courtney Balestier, Jessie Blackburn, Karida L. Brown, Danille Elise Christensen, Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle, Michael Croley, Elizabeth S. D. Engelhardt, Robert Gipe, Suronda Gonzalez, Emily Hilliard, Rebecca Gayle Howell, Abigail Huggins, Erica Abrams Locklear, Ronni Lundy, George Ella Lyon, Jeff Mann, Daniel S. Margolies, William Schumann, Lora E. Smith, Emily Wallace, Crystal Wilkinson

[more]

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Foods of Association
Biocultural Perspectives on Foods and Beverages that Mediate Sociability
Nina L. Etkin
University of Arizona Press, 2009
“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.
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Foodways and Daily Life in Medieval Anatolia
A New Social History
By Nicolas Trépanier
University of Texas Press, 2014

Byzantine rule over Anatolia ended in the eleventh century, leaving the population and its Turkish rulers to build social and economic institutions throughout the region. The emerging Anatolian society comprised a highly heterogeneous population of Christians and Muslims whose literati produced legal documents in Arabic, literary texts in Persian, and some of the earliest written works in the Turkish language. Yet the cultural landscape that emerged as a result has received very little attention—until now.

Investigating daily life in Anatolia during the fourteenth century, Foodways and Daily Life in Medieval Anatolia draws on a creative array of sources, including hagiographies, archaeological evidence, Sufi poetry, and endowment deeds, to present an accessible portrait of a severely under-documented period. Grounded in the many ways food enters the human experience, Nicolas Trépanier’s comprehensive study delves into the Anatolian preparation of meals and the social interactions that mealtime entails—from a villager’s family supper to an elaborately arranged banquet—as well as the production activities of peasants and gardeners; the marketplace exchanges of food between commoners, merchants, and political rulers; and the religious landscape that unfolded around food-related beliefs and practices. Brimming with enlightening details on such diverse topics as agriculture, nomadism, pastoralism, medicine, hospitality, and festival rituals, Foodways and Daily Life in Medieval Anatolia presents a new understanding of communities that lived at a key juncture of world history.

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Foodways in Roman Republican Italy
Laura M. Banducci
University of Michigan Press, 2021

Foodways in Roman Republican Italy explores the production, preparation, and consumption of food and drink in Republican Italy to illuminate the nature of cultural change during this period. Traditionally, studies of the cultural effects of Roman contact and conquest have focused on observing changes in the public realm: that is, changing urban organization and landscape, and monumental construction. Foodways studies reach into the domestic realm: How do the daily behaviors of individuals express their personal identity, and How does this relate to changes and expressions of identity in broader society? Laura M. Banducci tracks through time the foodways of three sites in Etruria from about the third century BCE to the first century CE: Populonia, Musarna, and Cetamura del Chianti. All were established Etruscan sites that came under Roman political control over the course of the third and second centuries BCE. The book examines the morphology and use wear of ceramics used for cooking, preparing, and serving food in order to deduce cooking methods and the types of foods being prepared and consumed. Change in domestic behaviors was gradual and regionally varied, depending on local social and environmental conditions, shaping rather than responding to an explicitly “Roman” presence.

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Forging Communities
Food and Representation in Medieval and Early Modern Southwestern Europe
Montserrat Piera
University of Arkansas Press, 2018
Forging Communities explores the importance of the cultivation, provision, trade, and exchange of foods and beverages to mankind’s technological advancement, violent conquest, and maritime exploration. The thirteen essays here show how the sharing of food and drink forged social, religious, and community bonds, and how ceremonial feasts as well as domestic daily meals strengthened ties and solidified ethnoreligious identity through the sharing of food customs. The very act of eating and the pleasure derived from it are metaphorically linked to two other sublime activities of the human experience: sexuality and the search for the divine.

This interdisciplinary study of food in medieval and early modern communities connects threads of history conventionally examined separately or in isolation. The intersection of foodstuffs with politics, religion, economics, and culture enhances our understanding of historical developments and cultural continuities through the centuries, giving insight that today, as much as in the past, we are what we eat and what we eat is never devoid of meaning.
[more]

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Framing Fat
Competing Constructions in Contemporary Culture
Kwan, Samantha
Rutgers University Press, 2013
According to public health officials, obesity poses significant health risks and has become a modern-day epidemic. A closer look at this so-called epidemic, however, suggests that there are multiple perspectives on the fat body, not all of which view obesity as a health hazard.

Alongside public health officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are advertisers of the fashion-beauty complex, food industry advocates at the Center for Consumer Freedom, and activists at the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance.

Framing Fat
takes a bird’s-eye view of how these multiple actors construct the fat body by identifying the messages these groups put forth, particularly where issues of beauty, health, choice and responsibility, and social justice are concerned. Samantha Kwan and Jennifer Graves examine how laypersons respond to these conflicting messages and illustrate the gendered, raced, and classed implications within them. In doing so, they shed light on how dominant ideas about body fat have led to the moral indictment of body nonconformists, essentially “framing” them for their fat bodies.
[more]

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From Canton Restaurant to Panda Express
A History of Chinese Food in the United States
Liu, Haiming
Rutgers University Press, 2015
Received an Honorable Mention for the 2015-2016 Asian/Pacific American Awards for Literature, Adult Non-Fiction category

Finalist in the Culinary History category of the 2016 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards​


From Canton Restaurant to Panda Express takes readers on a compelling journey from the California Gold Rush to the present, letting readers witness both the profusion of Chinese restaurants across the United States and the evolution of many distinct American-Chinese iconic dishes from chop suey to General Tso’s chicken. Along the way, historian Haiming Liu explains how the immigrants adapted their traditional food to suit local palates, and gives readers a taste of Chinese cuisine embedded in the bittersweet story of Chinese Americans.
 
Treating food as a social history, Liu explores why Chinese food changed and how it has influenced American culinary culture, and how Chinese restaurants have become places where shared ethnic identity is affirmed—not only for Chinese immigrants but also for American Jews. The book also includes a look at national chains like P. F. Chang’s and a consideration of how Chinese food culture continues to spread around the globe. 
 
Drawing from hundreds of historical and contemporary newspaper reports, journal articles, and writings on food in both English and Chinese, From Canton Restaurant to Panda Express represents a groundbreaking piece of scholarly research. It can be enjoyed equally as a fascinating set of stories about Chinese migration, cultural negotiation, race and ethnicity, diverse flavored Chinese cuisine and its share in American food market today.
[more]

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From Gluttony to Enlightenment
The World of Taste in Early Modern Europe
Viktoria von Hoffmann
University of Illinois Press, 2016
Scorned since antiquity as low and animal, the sense of taste is celebrated today as an ally of joy, a source of adventure, and an arena for pursuing sophistication. The French exalted taste as an entrée to ecstasy, and revolutionized their cuisine and language to express this new way of engaging with the world.

Viktoria von Hoffmann explores four kinds of early modern texts--culinary, medical, religious, and philosophical--to follow taste's ascent from the sinful to the beautiful. Combining food studies and sensory history, she takes readers on an odyssey that redefined a fundamental human experience. Scholars and cooks rediscovered a vast array of ways to prepare and present foods. Far-sailing fleets returned to Europe bursting with new vegetables, exotic fruits, and pungent spices. Hosts refined notions of hospitality in the home while philosophers pondered the body and its perceptions. As von Hoffmann shows, these labors produced a sea change in perception and thought, one that moved taste from the base realm of the tongue to the ethereal heights of aesthetics.

[more]

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Grow Food, Cook Food, Share Food
Perspectives on Eating from the Past and a Preliminary Agenda for the Future
Ken Albala
Oregon State University Press, 2013
Grow Food, Cook Food, Share Food is a practical food history lesson, an editorial on our use of packaged convenience foods, and a call to arms—of the kitchen variety. Mixing food writing and history, adding a dash of cookbook, author and scholar Ken Albala shares the story of what happened when he started taking food history seriously and embarked on a mission to grow, cook, and share food in the ways that people did in the past.

Albala considers what the traditions we have needlessly lost have to offer us today: a serious appreciation for the generative power of the earth, the great pleasures of cooking food, and the joy of sharing food with family, friends, and even strangers. In Albala’s compelling book, obscure seventeenth-century Italian farmer-nobles, Roman statesmen, and quirky cheesemakers from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries all offer lessons about our relationship with the food we eat.

A rare form of historical activism, Grow Food, Cook Food, Share Food is written for anyone who likes to eat, loves to cook, and knows how to throw a great dinner party.

An OSU Press Horning Visiting Scholars Publication.
[more]

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Her Cup for Sweet Cacao
Food in Ancient Maya Society
Edited by Traci Ardren
University of Texas Press, 2020

For the ancient Maya, food was both sustenance and a tool for building a complex society. This collection, the first to focus exclusively on the social uses of food in Classic Maya culture, deploys a variety of theoretical approaches to examine the meaning of food beyond diet—ritual offerings and restrictions, medicinal preparations, and the role of nostalgia around food, among other topics. For instance, how did Maya feasts build community while also reinforcing social hierarchy? What psychoactive substances were the elite Maya drinking in their caves, and why? Which dogs were good for eating, and which breeds became companions? Why did even some non-elite Maya enjoy cacao, but rarely meat? Why was meat more available for urban Maya than for those closer to hunting grounds on the fringes of cities? How did the molcajete become a vital tool and symbol in Maya gastronomy?

These chapters, written by some of the leading scholars in the field, showcase a variety of approaches and present new evidence from faunal remains, hieroglyphic texts, chemical analyses, and art. Thoughtful and revealing, Her Cup for Sweet Cacao unlocks a more comprehensive understanding of how food was instrumental to the development of ancient Maya culture.

[more]

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Hungering for America
Italian, Irish, and Jewish Foodways in the Age of Migration
Hasia R. Diner
Harvard University Press, 2003

Millions of immigrants were drawn to American shores, not by the mythic streets paved with gold, but rather by its tables heaped with food. How they experienced the realities of America’s abundant food—its meat and white bread, its butter and cheese, fruits and vegetables, coffee and beer—reflected their earlier deprivations and shaped their ethnic practices in the new land.

Hungering for America tells the stories of three distinctive groups and their unique culinary dramas. Italian immigrants transformed the food of their upper classes and of sacred days into a generic “Italian” food that inspired community pride and cohesion. Irish immigrants, in contrast, loath to mimic the foodways of the Protestant British elite, diminished food as a marker of ethnicity. And East European Jews, who venerated food as the vital center around which family and religious practice gathered, found that dietary restrictions jarred with America’s boundless choices.

These tales, of immigrants in their old worlds and in the new, demonstrate the role of hunger in driving migration and the significance of food in cementing ethnic identity and community. Hasia Diner confirms the well-worn adage, “Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.”

[more]

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The Immigrant Kitchen
Food, Ethnicity, and Diaspora
Vivian Nun Halloran
The Ohio State University Press, 2016
In The Immigrant Kitchen: Food, Ethnicity, and Diaspora, Vivian Nun Halloran examines food memoirs by immigrants and their descendants and reveals how their treatment of food deeply embeds concerns about immigrant identity in the United States. Halloran argues that by offering a glimpse into the authors’ domestic lives through discussions of homemade food, these memoirs demystify the processes of immigration, assimilation, acculturation, and expatriation—ultimately examining what it means to live as naturalized citizens of the United States. Having grown up hearing about their parents’ often fraught experiences of immigration, these authors examine the emotional toll these stories took and how such stories continue to affect their view of themselves as Americans. Halloran covers a wide swathe of immigrant food memoirs, moving seamlessly between works by authors such as Austin Clarke, Madhur Jaffrey, Kim Sunée, Diana Abu-Jaber, Eduardo Machado, Colette Rossant, Maya Angelou, and Jonathan Safran Foer.
 
The Immigrant Kitchen describes how these memoirs function as a complex and engaging mass media genre that caters to multiple reading constituencies. Specifically, they entertain readers with personal anecdotes and recollections, teach new culinary skills through recipes, share insight into different cultural mores through ethnographic and reportorial discussions of life in other countries, and attest to the impact that an individual’s legal immigration into the United States continues to have down through the generations of his or her American-born families.
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Insatiable City
Food and Race in New Orleans
Theresa McCulla
University of Chicago Press, 2024
A history of food in the Crescent City that explores race, power, social status, and labor.
 
In Insatiable City, Theresa McCulla probes the overt and covert ways that the production of food and the discourse about it both created and reinforced many strains of inequality in New Orleans, a city significantly defined by its foodways. Tracking the city’s economy from nineteenth-century chattel slavery to twentieth-century tourism, McCulla uses menus, cookbooks, newspapers, postcards, photography, and other material culture to limn the interplay among the production and reception of food, the inscription and reiteration of racial hierarchies, and the constant diminishment and exploitation of working-class people. The consumption of food and people, she shows, was mutually reinforced and deeply intertwined. Yet she also details how enslaved and free people of color in New Orleans used food and drink to carve paths of mobility, stability, autonomy, freedom, profit, and joy. A story of pain and pleasure, labor and leisure, Insatiable City goes far beyond the task of tracing New Orleans's culinary history to focus on how food suffuses culture and our understandings and constructions of race and power.
[more]

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Inscrutable Eating
Asian Appetites and the Rhetorics of Racial Consumption
Jennifer Lin LeMesurier
The Ohio State University Press, 2023

“You are what you eat,” but what if you’re seen as a rat eater, bat lover, or MSG user? In Inscrutable Eating, Jennifer Lin LeMesurier considers how everyday assumptions about Asian food influence the perception of Asian and Asian American identity within the US racial landscape, demonstrating that beliefs about how certain people eat are inseparable from attitudes that support hierarchies around race, gender, and sexuality. 

Drawing on rhetorical theory, affect theory, and Asian American studies, LeMesurier analyzes messages in US popular culture about Asian eating to develop the concept of gut orientations: rhetorically dominant ways of interacting with food that scale upward to feelings of desire and disgust toward social groups. Looking at examples from fears around MSG to uproar over wet markets as the source of COVID-19, she argues that these “gut” reactions establish certain racial views as common-sense truths rather than cultural biases, reinforcing dominant norms about what belongs on whose plate, or who belongs at what table. In demystifying marginalizing discourse around food and eating, LeMesurier shows how exposing the tacit, felt ideas of consumption is necessary to contest broader forms of discrimination.

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Inside Ancient Kitchens
New Directions in the Study of Daily Meals and Feasts
Elizabeth A. Klarich
University Press of Colorado, 2010
The anthropology of food is an area of research in which economic, social, and political dynamics interact in incredibly complex ways. Using archaeological case studies from around the globe, Inside Ancient Kitchens presents new perspectives on the comparative study of prehistoric meals from Peru to the Philippines. Inside Ancient Kitchens builds upon the last decade of feasting studies and presents two unique goals for broadening the understanding of prehistoric meals. First, the volume focuses on the study of meal preparation through the analysis of temporary and permanent kitchen areas. This move to focus "behind the scenes" is aimed at determining how, where, and by whom meals were financed and prepared. Secondly, data from these preparation contexts are used to differentiate between household-level and suprahousehold-level meals in each case study, resulting in more nuanced typologies of daily meals, feasts, and other food-related events. Inside Ancient Kitchens presents an important step in the development of new methodological and theoretical approaches within the anthropology of food and will be of great interest to scholars studying the social dynamics, labor organization, and political relationships underlying prehistoric meals.
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Intimate Eating
Racialized Spaces and Radical Futures
Anita Mannur
Duke University Press, 2022
In Intimate Eating Anita Mannur examines how notions of the culinary can create new forms of kinship, intimacy, and social and political belonging. Drawing on critical ethnic studies and queer studies, Mannur traces the ways in which people of color, queer people, and other marginalized subjects create and sustain this belonging through the formation of “intimate eating publics.” These spaces—whether established in online communities or through eating along in a restaurant—blur the line between public and private. In analyses of Julie Powell’s Julie and Julia, Nani Power’s Ginger and Ganesh, Ritesh Batra’s film The Lunchbox, Michael Rakowitz’s performance art installation Enemy Kitchen, and The Great British Bake Off, Mannur focuses on how racialized South Asian and Arab brown bodies become visible in various intimate eating publics. In this way, the culinary becomes central to discourses of race and other social categories of difference. By illuminating how cooking, eating, and distributing food shapes and sustains social worlds, Mannur reconfigures how we think about networks of intimacy beyond the family, heteronormativity, and nation.
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The Invention of the Restaurant
Rebecca L. Spang
Harvard University Press, 2019

Winner of the Louis Gottschalk Prize
Winner of the Thomas J. Wilson Memorial Prize


“Witty and full of fascinating details.”
Los Angeles Times


Why are there restaurants? Why would anybody consider eating alongside perfect strangers in a loud and crowded room to be an enjoyable pastime? To find the answer, Rebecca Spang takes us back to France in the eighteenth century, when a restaurant was not a place to eat but a quasi-medicinal bouillon not unlike the bone broths of today.

This is a book about the French revolution in taste—about how Parisians invented the modern culture of food, changing the social life of the world in the process. We see how over the course of the Revolution, restaurants that had begun as purveyors of health food became symbols of aristocratic greed. In the early nineteenth century, the new genre of gastronomic literature worked within the strictures of the Napoleonic state to transform restaurants yet again, this time conferring star status upon oysters and champagne.

“An ambitious, thought-changing book…Rich in weird data, unsung heroes, and bizarre true stories.”
—Adam Gopnik, New Yorker

“[A] pleasingly spiced history of the restaurant.”
New York Times

“A lively, engrossing, authoritative account of how the restaurant as we know it developed…Spang is…as generous in her helpings of historical detail as any glutton could wish.”
The Times

[more]

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The Italian American Table
Food, Family, and Community in New York City
Simone Cinotto
University of Illinois Press, 2013
Best Food Book of 2014 by The Atlantic

Looking at the historic Italian American community of East Harlem in the 1920s and 30s, Simone Cinotto recreates the bustling world of Italian life in New York City and demonstrates how food was at the center of the lives of immigrants and their children. From generational conflicts resolved around the family table to a vibrant food-based economy of ethnic producers, importers, and restaurateurs, food was essential to the creation of an Italian American identity. Italian American foods offered not only sustenance but also powerful narratives of community and difference, tradition and innovation as immigrants made their way through a city divided by class conflict, ethnic hostility, and racialized inequalities.
 
Drawing on a vast array of resources including fascinating, rarely explored primary documents and fresh approaches in the study of consumer culture, Cinotto argues that Italian immigrants created a distinctive culture of food as a symbolic response to the needs of immigrant life, from the struggle for personal and group identity to the pursuit of social and economic power. Adding a transnational dimension to the study of Italian American foodways, Cinotto recasts Italian American food culture as an American "invention" resonant with traces of tradition.
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Kitchen Literacy
How We Lost Knowledge of Where Food Comes from and Why We Need to Get It Back
Ann Vileisis
Island Press, 2008
Ask children where food comes from, and they’ll probably answer: “the supermarket.” Ask most adults, and their replies may not be much different. Where our foods are raised and what happens to them between farm and supermarket shelf have become mysteries. How did we become so disconnected from the sources of our breads, beef, cheeses, cereal, apples, and countless other foods that nourish us every day?
 
Ann Vileisis’s answer is a sensory-rich journey through the history of making dinner. Kitchen Literacy takes us from an eighteenth-century garden to today’s sleek supermarket aisles, and eventually to farmer’s markets that are now enjoying a resurgence. Vileisis chronicles profound changes in how American cooks have considered their foods over two centuries and delivers a powerful statement: what we don’t know could hurt us.
 
As the distance between farm and table grew, we went from knowing particular places and specific stories behind our foods’ origins to instead relying on advertisers’ claims. The woman who raised, plucked, and cooked her own chicken knew its entire life history while today most of us have no idea whether hormones were fed to our poultry. Industrialized eating is undeniably convenient, but it has also created health and environmental problems, including food-borne pathogens, toxic pesticides, and pollution from factory farms.
 
Though the hidden costs of modern meals can be high, Vileisis shows that greater understanding can lead consumers to healthier and more sustainable choices. Revealing how knowledge of our food has been lost and how it might now be regained, Kitchen Literacy promises to make us think differently about what we eat.
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Korean Cuisine
An Illustrated History
Michael J. Pettid
Reaktion Books, 2008
The spicy tang of kimchi, the richness of Korean barbecue, the hearty flavors of bibimbap: Korean cuisine is savored the world over for its diversity of ingredients and flavors. Michael Pettid offers here a lushly illustrated historical account of Korean food and its intricate relationship with the nation’s culture.

Over the last twelve centuries, Korean food dishes and their complex preparations have evolved along with the larger cultural and political upheaval experienced by the nation. Pettid charts this historical development of the cuisine, exploring the ways that regional distinctions and historical transformations played out in the Korean diet—including the effects of wartime food shortages and preparation techniques. Underlying all these dishes are complicated philosophical and aesthetic considerations, and Pettid delves into their impact on everything from the rituals associated with group meals or drinks with friends to the strict rules governing combinations of dishes and ingredients according to temperature, texture, spices, color, and consistency.

Featuring a batch of mouthwatering recipes and over a hundred vivid photographs of a striking array of dishes, Korean Cuisine is an incisive and engaging investigation into the relationship between Korean culture and food that will spice up the bookshelves of foodies and scholars alike.
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Magical Habits
Monica Huerta
Duke University Press, 2021
In Magical Habits Monica Huerta draws on her experiences growing up in her family's Mexican restaurants and her life as a scholar of literature and culture to meditate on how relationships among self, place, race, and storytelling contend with both the afterlives of history and racial capitalism. Whether dwelling on mundane aspects of everyday life, such as the smell of old kitchen grease, or grappling with the thorny, unsatisfying question of authenticity, Huerta stages a dynamic conversation among genres, voices, and archives: personal and critical essays exist alongside a fairy tale; photographs and restaurant menus complement fictional monologues based on her family's history. Developing a new mode of criticism through storytelling, Huerta takes readers through Cook County courtrooms, the Cristero Rebellion (in which her great-grandfather was martyred by the Mexican government), Japanese baths in San Francisco—and a little bit about Chaucer too. Ultimately, Huerta sketches out habits of living while thinking that allow us to consider what it means to live with and try to peer beyond history even as we are caught up in the middle of it.

Duke University Press Scholars of Color First Book Award recipient
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Marketing Nutrition
Soy, Functional Foods, Biotechnology, and Obesity
Brian Wansink
University of Illinois Press, 2007
Although encouraging people to eat more nutritiously can promote better health, most efforts by companies, health professionals, and even parents are disappointingly ineffective. Brian Wansink’s Marketing Nutrition focuses on why people eat the foods they do, and what can be done to improve their nutrition. Wansink argues that the true challenge in marketing nutrition lies in leveraging new tools of consumer psychology (which he specifically demonstrates) and by applying lessons from other products’ failures and successes. The key problem with marketing nutrition remains, after all, marketing.
[more]

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The Medieval Kitchen
Recipes from France and Italy
Odile Redon, Françoise Sabban, and Silvano Serventi
University of Chicago Press, 1998
The Medieval Kitchen is a delightful work in which historians Odile Redon, Françoise Sabban, and Silvano Serventi rescue from dark obscurity the glorious cuisine of the Middle Ages. Medieval gastronomy turns out to have been superb—a wonderful mélange of flavor, aroma, and color. Expertly reconstructed from fourteenth- and fifteenth-century sources and carefully adapted to suit the modern kitchen, these recipes present a veritable feast. The Medieval Kitchen vividly depicts the context and tradition of authentic medieval cookery.

"This book is a delight. It is not often that one has the privilege of working from a text this detailed and easy to use. It is living history, able to be practiced by novice and master alike, practical history which can be carried out in our own homes by those of us living in modern times."—Wanda Oram Miles, The Medieval Review

"The Medieval Kitchen, like other classic cookbooks, makes compulsive reading as well as providing a practical collection of recipes."—Heather O'Donoghue, Times Literary Supplement
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The Menial Art of Cooking
Archaeological Studies of Cooking and Food Preparation
Sarah R. Graff
University Press of Colorado, 2012
Although the archaeology of food has long played an integral role in our understanding of past cultures, the archaeology of cooking is rarely integrated into models of the past. The cooks who spent countless hours cooking and processing food are overlooked and the forgotten players in the daily lives of our ancestors. The Menial Art of Cooking shows how cooking activities provide a window into other aspects of society and, as such, should be taken seriously as an aspect of social, cultural, political, and economic life.

This book examines techniques and technologies of food preparation, the spaces where food was cooked, the relationship between cooking and changes in suprahousehold economies, the religious and symbolic aspects of cooking, the relationship between cooking and social identity, and how examining foodways provides insight into social relations of production, distribution, and consumption. Contributors use a wide variety of evidence-including archaeological data; archival research; analysis of ceramics, fauna, botany, glass artifacts, stone tools, murals, and painted ceramics; ethnographic analogy; and the distribution of artifacts across space-to identify signs of cooking and food processing left by ancient cooks.

The Menial Art of Cooking is the first archaeological volume focused on cooking and food preparation in prehistoric and historic settings around the world and will interest archaeologists, social anthropologists, sociologists, and other scholars studying cooking and food preparation or subsistence.

[more]

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Mesquite Pods to Mezcal
10,000 Years of Oaxacan Cuisines
Verónica Pérez Rodriguez, Shanti Morell-Hart, and Stacie M. King
University of Texas Press, 2024

New case studies documenting ten thousand years of cuisines across the cultures of Oaxaca, Mexico, from the earliest gathered plants, such as guajes, to the contemporary production of tejate and its health implications.

Among the richest culinary traditions in Mexico are those of the “eight regions” of the state of Oaxaca. Mesquite Pods to Mezcal brings together some of the most prominent scholars in Oaxacan archaeology and related fields to explore the evolution of the area’s world-renowned cuisines. This volume, the first to address food practices across Oaxaca through a long-term historical lens, covers the full spectrum of human occupation in Oaxaca, from the early Holocene to contemporary times. Contributors consider the deep history of agroecological management and large-scale landscape transformation, framing food production as a human-environment relation. They explore how, after the arrival of the Spanish, Oaxacan cuisines adapted, diets changed, and food became a stronger marker of identity. Examining the present, further studies document how traditional foodways persist and what they mean for contemporary Oaxacans, whether they are traveling ancient roads, working outside the region, or rebuilding after an earthquake. Together, the original case studies in this volume demonstrate how new methods and diverse theoretical approaches can come together to trace the development of a rich food tradition, one that is thriving today.

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Metabolic Living
Food, Fat, and the Absorption of Illness in India
Harris Solomon
Duke University Press, 2016
The popular narrative of "globesity" posits that the adoption of Western diets is intensifying obesity and diabetes in the Global South and that disordered metabolisms are the embodied consequence of globalization and excess. In Metabolic Living Harris Solomon recasts these narratives by examining how people in Mumbai, India, experience the porosity between food, fat, the body, and the city. Solomon contends that obesity and diabetes pose a problem of absorption between body and environment. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork carried out in Mumbai's home kitchens, metabolic disorder clinics, food companies, markets, and social services, he details the absorption of everything from snack foods and mangoes to insulin, stress, and pollutants. As these substances pass between the city and the body and blur the two domains, the onset and treatment of metabolic illness raise questions about who has the power to decide what goes into bodies and when food means life. Evoking metabolism as a condition of contemporary urban life and a vital political analytic, Solomon illuminates the lived predicaments of obesity and diabetes, and reorients our understanding of chronic illness in India and beyond.
 
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Mexican-Origin Foods, Foodways, and Social Movements
Decolonial Perspectives
Devon Peña
University of Arkansas Press, 2017
Winner, 2018 ASFS (Association for the Study of Food and Society) Book Award, Edited Volume

This collection of new essays offers groundbreaking perspectives on the ways that food and foodways serve as an element of decolonization in Mexican-origin communities.

The writers here take us from multigenerational acequia farmers, who trace their ancestry to Indigenous families in place well before the Oñate Entrada of 1598, to tomorrow’s transborder travelers who will be negotiating entry into the United States. Throughout, we witness the shifting mosaic of Mexican-origin foods and foodways in the fields, gardens, and kitchen tables from Chiapas to Alaska.

Global food systems are also considered from a critical agroecological perspective, including the ways colonialism affects native biocultural diversity, ecosystem resilience, and equality across species, human groups, and generations.

Mexican-Origin Foods, Foodways, and Social Movements is a major contribution to the understanding of the ways that Mexican-origin peoples have resisted and transformed food systems. It will animate scholarship on global food studies for years to come.
[more]

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Midwestern Food
A Chef’s Guide to the Surprising History of a Great American Cuisine, with More Than 100 Tasty Recipes
Paul Fehribach
University of Chicago Press, 2023
An acclaimed chef offers a historically informed cookbook that will change how you think about Midwestern cuisine.

Celebrated chef Paul Fehribach has made his name serving up some of the most thoughtful and authentic regional southern cooking—not in the South, but in Chicago at Big Jones. But over the last several years, he has been looking to his Indiana roots in the kitchen, while digging deep into the archives to document and record the history and changing foodways of the Midwest.

Fehribach is as painstaking with his historical research as he is with his culinary execution. In Midwestern Food, he focuses not only on the past and present of Midwestern foodways but on the diverse cultural migrations from the Ohio River Valley north- and westward that have informed them. Drawing on a range of little-explored sources, he traces the influence of several heritages, especially German, and debunks many culinary myths along the way.

The book is also full of Fehribach’s delicious recipes informed by history and family alike, such as his grandfather's favorite watermelon rind pickles; sorghum-pecan sticky rolls; Detroit-style coney sauce; Duck and manoomin hotdish;  pawpaw chiffon pie; strawberry pretzel gelatin salad (!); and he breaks the code to the most famous Midwestern pizza and BBQ styles you can easily reproduce at home. But it is more than just a cookbook, weaving together historical analysis and personal memoir with profiles of the chefs, purveyors, and farmers who make up the food networks of the region.

The result is a mouth-watering and surprising Midwestern feast from farm to plate. Flyover this!
 
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The Migrants Table
Meals And Memories In
Krishnendu Ray
Temple University Press, 2004
To most of us the food that we associate with home—our national and familial homes—is an essential part of our cultural heritage. No matter how open we become to other cuisines, we regard home-cooking as an intrinsic part of who we are. In this book, Krishnendu Ray examines the changing food habits of Bengali immigrants to the United States as they deal with the tension between their nostalgia for home and their desire to escape from its confinements.As Ray says, "This is a story about rice and water and the violations of geography by history." Focusing on mundane matters of immigrant life (for example, what to eat for breakfast in America), he connects food choices to issues of globalization and modernization. By showing how Bengali immigrants decide what defines their ethnic cuisine and differentiates it from American food, he reminds us that such boundaries are uncertain for all newcomers. By drawing on literary sources, family menus and recipes for traditional dishes, interviews with Bengali household members, and his own experience as an immigrant, Ray presents a vivid picture of immigrants grappling with the grave and immediate problem of defining themselves in their home away from home.
[more]

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Modern Japanese Cuisine
Food, Power and National Identity
Katarzyna J. Cwiertka
Reaktion Books, 2015
Over the past two decades, the popularity of Japanese food in the West has increased immeasurably—a major contribution to the evolution of Western eating habits. But Japanese cuisine itself has changed significantly since pre-modern times, and the food we eat at trendy Japanese restaurants, from tempura to sashimi, is vastly different from earlier Japanese fare. Modern Japanese Cuisine examines the origins of Japanese food from the late nineteenth century to unabashedly adulterated American favorites like today’s California roll.

Katarzyna J. Cwiertka demonstrates that key shifts in the Japanese diet were, in many cases, a consequence of modern imperialism. Exploring reforms in military catering and home cooking, wartime food management and the rise of urban gastronomy, Cwiertka shows how Japan’s numerous regional cuisines were eventually replaced by a set of foods and practices with which the majority of Japanese today ardently identify.

The result of over a decade of research, Modern Japanese Cuisine is a fascinating look at the historical roots of some of the world’s best cooking and will provide appetizing reading for scholars of Japanese culture and foodies alike.

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No One Eats Alone
Food as a Social Enterprise
Michael S. Carolan
Island Press, 2017
In today’s fast-paced, fast food world, everyone seems to be eating alone, all the time—whether it’s at their desks or in the car. Even those who find time for a family meal are cut off from the people who grew, harvested, distributed, marketed, and sold the foods on their table. Few ever break bread with anyone outside their own socioeconomic group. So why does Michael Carolan say that that no one eats alone? Because all of us are affected by the other people in our vast foodscape. We can no longer afford to ignore these human connections as we struggle with dire problems like hunger, obesity, toxic pesticides, antibiotic resistance, depressed rural economies, and low-wage labor.

Carolan argues that building community is the key to healthy, equitable, and sustainable food. While researching No One Eats Alone, he interviewed more than 250 individuals, from flavorists to Fortune 500 executives, politicians to feedlot managers, low-income families to crop scientists, who play a role in the life of food. Advertising consultants told him of efforts to distance eaters and producers—most food firms don’t want their customers thinking about farm laborers or the people living downstream of processing plants. But he also found stories of people getting together to change their relationship to food and to each other.

There are community farms where suburban moms and immigrant families work side by side, reducing social distance as much as food miles. There are entrepreneurs with little capital or credit who are setting up online exchanges to share kitchen space, upending conventional notions of the economy of scale. There are parents and school board members who are working together to improve cafeteria food rather than relying on soda taxes to combat childhood obesity.

Carolan contends that real change only happens when we start acting like citizens first and consumers second. No One Eats Alone is a book about becoming better food citizens.
[more]

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Nurturing Masculinities
Men, Food, and Family in Contemporary Egypt
By Nefissa Naguib
University of Texas Press, 2015

Two structuring concepts have predominated in discussions concerning how Middle Eastern men enact their identity culturally: domination and patriarchy. Nurturing Masculinities dispels the illusion that Arab men can be adequately represented when we speak of them only in these terms. By bringing male perspectives into food studies, which typically focus on the roles of women in the production and distribution of food, Nefissa Naguib demonstrates how men interact with food, in both political and domestic spheres, and how these interactions reflect important notions of masculinity in modern Egypt.

In this classic ethnography, narratives about men from a broad range of educational backgrounds, age groups, and social classes capture a holistic representation of masculine identity and food in modern Egypt on familial, local, and national levels. These narratives encompass a broad range of issues and experiences, including explorations of traditions surrounding food culture; displays of caregiving and love when men recollect the taste, feel, and fragrance of food as they discuss their desires to feed their families well and often; and the role that men, working to ensure the equitable distribution of food, played during the Islamist movement of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2011. At the core of Nurturing Masculinities is the idea that food is a powerful marker of manhood, fatherhood, and family structure in contemporary Egypt, and by better understanding these foodways, we can better understand contemporary Egyptian society as a whole.

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front cover of The Oldest Cuisine in the World
The Oldest Cuisine in the World
Cooking in Mesopotamia
Jean Bottéro
University of Chicago Press, 2004

In this intriguing blend of the commonplace and the ancient, Jean Bottéro presents the first extensive look at the delectable secrets of Mesopotamia. Bottéro’s broad perspective takes us inside the religious rites, everyday rituals, attitudes and taboos, and even the detailed preparation techniques involving food and drink in Mesopotamian high culture during the second and third millennia BCE, as the Mesopotamians recorded them. 

Offering everything from translated recipes for pigeon and gazelle stews, the contents of medicinal teas and broths, and the origins of ingredients native to the region, this book reveals the cuisine of one of history’s most fascinating societies. Links to the modern world, along with incredible recreations of a rich, ancient culture through its cuisine, make Bottéro’s guide an entertaining and mesmerizing read.

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The Omnivorous Mind
John S. Allen
Harvard University Press, 2012

In this gustatory tour of human history, John S. Allen demonstrates that the everyday activity of eating offers deep insights into human beings’ biological and cultural heritage.

We humans eat a wide array of plants and animals, but unlike other omnivores we eat with our minds as much as our stomachs. This thoughtful relationship with food is part of what makes us a unique species, and makes culinary cultures diverse. Not even our closest primate relatives think about food in the way Homo sapiens does. We are superomnivores whose palates reflect the natural history of our species.

Drawing on the work of food historians and chefs, anthropologists and neuroscientists, Allen starts out with the diets of our earliest ancestors, explores cooking’s role in our evolving brain, and moves on to the preoccupations of contemporary foodies. The Omnivorous Mind delivers insights into food aversions and cravings, our compulsive need to label foods as good or bad, dietary deviation from “healthy” food pyramids, and cross-cultural attitudes toward eating (with the French, bien sûr, exemplifying the pursuit of gastronomic pleasure).

To explain, for example, the worldwide popularity of crispy foods, Allen considers first the food habits of our insect-eating relatives. He also suggests that the sound of crunch may stave off dietary boredom by adding variety to sensory experience. Or perhaps fried foods, which we think of as bad for us, interject a frisson of illicit pleasure. When it comes to eating, Allen shows, there’s no one way to account for taste.

[more]

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Plant Foods of Greece
A Culinary Journey to the Neolithic and Bronze Ages
Soultana Maria Valamoti
University of Alabama Press, 2023
A synthesis of culinary practices of prehistoric Greece based on plant food ingredients
 
In Plant Foods of Greece, Greek archaeologist Soultana Maria Valamoti takes readers on a culinary journey, reconstructing the plant foods and culinary practices of Neolithic and Bronze Age Greece. For more than thirty years, she has been analyzing a large body of archaeobotanical data that was retrieved from nearly twenty sites in mainland Greece and the Greek islands, with an additional analysis of other sites as referenced by published colleagues. Plant foods were the main ingredients of daily meals in prehistoric Greece and most likely of special dishes prepared for feasts and rituals.

Valamoti’s approach allows an exploration of culinary variability through time. The thousands of charred seeds identified from occupation debris correspond to minuscule time capsules. She is able to document changes from the cooking of the first farmers to the sophisticated cuisines of the elites who inhabited palaces in the first cities of Europe in the south of Greece during the Late Bronze Age. Along the way, she explains the complex processes for the addition of new ingredients (such as millet and olives), condiments, sweet tastes, and complex recipes. Valamoti also addresses regional variability and diversity as well as detailing experimentation and research using occasional input from ancient written sources.

Comprehensive and synthetic coverage encompasses bread/cereals, pulses, oils, fruit and nuts, fermented brews, healing foods, cooking, and identity. In addition, Valamoti offers insight into engaging in public archaeology and provides recipes that incorporate ancient plant ingredients and connect prehistory to the present in a critical way. A definitive source for a range of food scientists and scholars, it will also appeal to foodies.
 
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Reimagining Marginalized Foods
Global Processes, Local Places
Edited by Elizabeth Finnis
University of Arizona Press, 2012

With globalization has come an increased focus on food—where it comes from, how it is transported, who eats it, and what cultural significance it has. This volume brings together ethnographically based anthropological analyses of shifting meanings and representations associated with the foods, ingredients, and cooking practices of marginalized and/or indigenous cultures. Contributors are particularly interested in how these foods intersect with politics, nationhood and governance, identity, authenticity, and conservation.

The chapters cover diverse locales, issues, and foods: the cultural meanings of sinonggi, a thick sago porridge from Sulawesi, Indonesia; the significance of pom, a Surinam dish popular in the Netherlands; the transformation of alpaca meat in Peru; the impact of culinary tourism on indigenous cuisine in Mexico; the re-presenting of minor millets in South India; and the development of cheeses in the Italian Alps. A conceptual essay on food and social boundaries rounds out the collection.

Throughout, the contributors address important questions, including: How are traditional foods “repackaged” in the process of mainstreaming access? What does this repackaging mean for the ways local or indigenous peoples view their traditional food practices? How are local cuisines mobilized in movements to create national images and identities? What tensions emerge between new representations of foods and local cultural meanings?

Together the contributors provide a thoughtful inquiry into what happens when food and culinary practices are moved from the cultural or physical margins, and how such movements can be shaped by—and employed in the pursuit of—political, social, and cultural goals.

[more]

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Resilient Kitchens
American Immigrant Cooking in a Time of Crisis, Essays and Recipes
Philip Gleissner
Rutgers University Press

Immigrants have left their mark on the great melting pot of American cuisine, and they have continued working hard to keep America’s kitchens running, even during times of crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic. For some immigrant cooks, the pandemic brought home the lack of protection for essential workers in the American food system. For others, cooking was a way of reconnecting with homelands they could not visit during periods of lockdown. 

 Resilient Kitchens: American Immigrant Cooking in a Time of Crisis is a stimulating collection of essays about the lives of immigrants in the United States before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, told through the lens of food. It includes a vibrant mix of perspectives from professional food writers, restaurateurs, scholars, and activists, whose stories range from emotional reflections on hardship, loss, and resilience to journalistic investigations of racism in the American food system. Each contribution is accompanied by a recipe of special importance to the author, giving readers a taste of cuisines from around the world. Every essay is accompanied by gorgeous food photography, the authors’ snapshots of pandemic life, and hand-drawn illustrations by Filipino American artist Angelo Dolojan. 

 

[more]

front cover of Ricelands
Ricelands
The World of South-east Asian Food
Michael Freeman
Reaktion Books, 2008
Pad thai, pho, bao: the cuisines of Southeast Asia have ardent enthusiasts far beyond their native lands, and are now among the most-consumed dishes in the world. But the familiar take-out menus and thriving storefronts rest atop a compelling history of food, culture, and modernity. Award-winning photographer and writer Michael Freeman now offers here an all-encompassing guide to the cuisines of eight Southeast Asian countries.

            Ricelands takes the reader on a colorful and engaging tour of these popular tourist destinations through the richly layered cultures surrounding the various food traditions. Traveling across the landscapes of Thailand, Vietnam, Burma, Cambodia, Malaysia, Laos, Indonesia, and the Philippines, Freeman explores the origins of their respective cuisines, the defining characteristics of authentic dishes, and the evolution of the cuisines as they entered foreign cultures. From birds’ nests gathered in Thailand’s coastal caves to the less familiar dishes of Burma and Cambodia to the pungent durian fruit (and Westerners’ often aghast reactions), the author unearths unexpected treasures and tantalizing facts about Southeast Asia and its social history. The book also examines the cooking techniques, complex spices, and agricultural economies that underpin the countries’ food cultures, and considers how the informal nature of Southeast Asian eating fits into the rhythms of modern-day living.

           Vibrantly illustrated and elegantly conceived, Ricelands takes us into the heart of tropical Asia and the delicious foods that define it the world over.
 
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Spicing up Britain
The Multicultural History of British Food
Panikos Panayi
Reaktion Books, 2010

From the arrival of Italian ice-cream vendors and German pork butchers, to the rise of Indian curry as the national dish, Spicing Up Britain uncovers the fascinating history of British food over the last 150 years. Panikos Panayi shows how a combination of immigration, increased wealth, and globalization have transformed the eating habits of the English from a culture of stereotypically bland food to a flavorful, international cuisine.

Along the way, Panayi challenges preconceptions about British identity, and raises questions about multiculturalism and the extent to which other cultures have entered British society through the portal of food. He argues that Britain has become a country of vast ethnic diversity, in which people of different backgrounds—but still British—are united by their readiness to sample a wide variety of foods produced by other ethnic groups. Taking in changes to home cooking, restaurants, grocery shops, delis, and cookbooks, Panayi’s flavorful account will appeal to a wide range of readers interested in ethnic cooking, food history, and the social history of Britain.

            “Wearing his twin hats of foodie and social historian, Panikos Paniyi can appall as well as engender salivation on his tour d’horizon of the multicultural history of British food. His book demonstrates convincingly that whether drawing on its former colonial and imperial possessions . . . or on its European neighbors, the openness of British society has truly enriched its diet and produced its present-day variegated cuisine.”—Washington Times

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Stirring the Pot
A History of African Cuisine
James C. McCann
Ohio University Press, 2009

Africa’s art of cooking is a key part of its history. All too often Africa is associated with famine, but in Stirring the Pot, James C. McCann describes how the ingredients, the practices, and the varied tastes of African cuisine comprise a body of historically gendered knowledge practiced and perfected in households across diverse human and ecological landscape. McCann reveals how tastes and culinary practices are integral to the understanding of history and more generally to the new literature on food as social history.

Stirring the Pot offers a chronology of African cuisine beginning in the sixteenth century and continuing from Africa’s original edible endowments to its globalization. McCann traces cooks’ use of new crops, spices, and tastes, including New World imports like maize, hot peppers, cassava, potatoes, tomatoes, and peanuts, as well as plantain, sugarcane, spices, Asian rice, and other ingredients from the Indian Ocean world. He analyzes recipes, not as fixed ahistorical documents,but as lively and living records of historical change in women’s knowledge and farmers’ experiments. A final chapter describes in sensuous detail the direct connections of African cooking to New Orleans jambalaya, Cuban rice and beans, and the cooking of African Americans’ “soul food.”

Stirring the Pot breaks new ground and makes clear the relationship between food and the culture, history, and national identity of Africans.

[more]

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Table Talk
Building Democracy One Meal at a Time
Janet A. Flammang
University of Illinois Press, 2016

The civic virtues of a seat at the table

Etiquette books insist that we never discuss politics during a meal. In Table Talk, Janet A. Flammang offers a polite rebuttal, presenting vivid firsthand accounts of people's lives at the table to show how mealtimes can teach us the conversational give-and-take foundational to democracy. Delving into the ground rules about listening, sharing, and respect that we obey when we break bread, Flammang shows how conversations and table activities represent occasions for developing our civil selves. If there are cultural differences over practices--who should speak, what behavior is acceptable, what topics are off limits, how to resolve conflict--our exposure to the making, enforcement, and breaking of these rules offers a daily dose of political awareness and growth. Political table talk provides a forum to practice the conversational skills upon which civil society depends. It also ignites the feelings of respect, trust, and empathy that undergird the idea of a common good that is fundamental to the democratic process.

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The Taco Truck
How Mexican Street Food Is Transforming the American City
Robert Lemon
University of Illinois Press, 2019
Icons of Mexican cultural identity and America's melting pot ideal, taco trucks have transformed cityscapes from coast to coast. The taco truck radiates Mexican culture within non-Mexican spaces with a presence—sometimes desired, sometimes resented—that turns a public street corner into a bustling business.

Drawing on interviews with taco truck workers and his own skills as a geographer, Robert Lemon illuminates new truths about foodways, community, and the unexpected places where ethnicity, class, and culture meet. Lemon focuses on the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, and Columbus, Ohio, to show how the arrival of taco trucks challenge preconceived ideas of urban planning even as cities use them to reinvent whole neighborhoods. As Lemon charts the relationships between food practices and city spaces, he uncovers the many ways residents and politicians alike contest, celebrate, and influence not only where your favorite truck parks, but what's on the menu.

[more]

front cover of The Taste for Civilization
The Taste for Civilization
Food, Politics, and Civil Society
Janet A. Flammang
University of Illinois Press, 2009

This book explores the idea that table activities--the mealtime rituals of food preparation, serving, and dining--lay the foundation for a proper education on the value of civility, the importance of the common good, and what it means to be a good citizen. The arts of conversation and diplomatic speech are learned and practiced at tables, and a political history of food practices recasts thoughtfulness and generosity as virtues that enhance civil society and democracy. In our industrialized and profit-centered culture, however, foodwork is devalued and civility is eroding.

Looking at the field of American civility, Janet A. Flammang addresses the gendered responsibilities for foodwork's civilizing functions and argues that any formulation of "civil society" must consider food practices and the household. To allow space for practicing civility, generosity, and thoughtfulness through everyday foodwork, Americans must challenge the norms of unbridled consumerism, work-life balance, and domesticity and caregiving. Connecting political theory with the quotidian activities of the dinner table, Flammang discusses practical ideas from the "delicious revolution" and Slow Food movement to illustrate how civic activities are linked to foodwork, and she points to farmers' markets and gardens in communities, schools, and jails as sites for strengthening civil society and degendering foodwork.

[more]

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Taste Matters
Why We Like the Foods We Do
John Prescott
Reaktion Books, 2012

The human tongue has somewhere up to eight thousand taste buds to inform us when something is sweet, salty, sour, or bitter—or as we usually think of it—delicious or revolting. Tastes differ from one region to the next, and no two people’s seem to be the same. But why is it that some people think maple syrup is too sweet, while others can’t get enough? What makes certain people love Roquefort cheese and others think it smells like feet? Why do some people think cilantro tastes like soap?

John Prescott tackles this conundrum in Taste Matters, an absorbing exploration of why we eat and seek out the foods that we do. Prescott surveys the many factors that affect taste, including genetic inheritance, maternal diet, cultural traditions, and physiological influences. He also delves into what happens when we eat for pleasure instead of nutrition, paying particularly attention to affluent Western societies, where, he argues, people increasingly view food selection as a sensory or intellectual pleasure rather than a means of survival. As obesity and high blood pressure are on the rise along with a number of other health issues, changes in the modern diet are very much to blame, and Prescott seeks to answer the question of why and how our tastes often lead us to eat foods that are not the best for our health. Compelling and accessible, this timely book paves the way for a healthier and more sustainable understanding of taste.
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Taste of Control
Food and the Filipino Colonial Mentality under American Rule
R. Alexander D. Orquiza, Jr.
Rutgers University Press, 2020

Winner of the 2021 Gourmand Awards, Asian Section & Culinary History Section

Filipino cuisine is a delicious fusion of foreign influences, adopted and transformed into its own unique flavor. But to the Americans who came to colonize the islands in the 1890s, it was considered inferior and lacking in nutrition. Changing the food of the Philippines was part of a war on culture led by Americans as they attempted to shape the islands into a reflection of their home country.

Taste of Control tells what happened when American colonizers began to influence what Filipinos ate, how they cooked, and how they perceived their national cuisine. Food historian René Alexander D. Orquiza, Jr. turns to a variety of rare archival sources to track these changing attitudes, including the letters written by American soldiers, the cosmopolitan menus prepared by Manila restaurants, and the textbooks used in local home economics classes. He also uncovers pockets of resistance to the colonial project, as Filipino cookbooks provided a defense of the nation’s traditional cuisine and culture.

Through the topic of food, Taste of Control explores how, despite lasting less than fifty years, the American colonial occupation of the Philippines left psychological scars that have not yet completely healed, leading many Filipinos to believe that their traditional cooking practices, crops, and tastes were inferior. We are what we eat, and this book reveals how food culture served as a battleground over Filipino identity.

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front cover of Taste of the Nation
Taste of the Nation
The New Deal Search for America's Food
Camille Bégin
University of Illinois Press, 2016
During the Depression, the Federal Writers' Project (FWP) dispatched scribes to sample the fare at group eating events like church dinners, political barbecues, and clambakes. Its America Eats project sought nothing less than to sample, and report upon, the tremendous range of foods eaten across the United States.
 
Camille Begin shapes a cultural and sensory history of New Deal-era eating from the FWP archives. From "ravioli, the diminutive derbies of pastries, the crowns stuffed with a well-seasoned paste" to barbeque seasoning that integrated "salt, black pepper, dried red chili powder, garlic, oregano, cumin seed, and cayenne pepper" while "tomatoes, green chili peppers, onions, and olive oil made up the sauce", Begin describes in mouth-watering detail how Americans tasted their food. They did so in ways that varied, and varied widely, depending on race, ethnicity, class, and region. Begin explores how likes and dislikes, cravings and disgust operated within local sensory economies that she culls from the FWP’s vivid descriptions, visual cues, culinary expectations, recipes and accounts of restaurant meals. She illustrates how nostalgia, prescriptive gender ideals, and racial stereotypes shaped how the FWP was able to frame regional food cultures as "American."
[more]

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Texas Monthly On . . .
Food
From the editors of Texas Monthly
University of Texas Press, 2008

From reviews of the newest, hippest restaurants in cities across Texas to stories about the comfort foods we all love, Texans have long relied on Texas Monthly to dish up some of the best writing about food in the Lone Star state. This anthology brings together twenty-eight classic articles about food in Texas and the culture that surrounds it—markets that purvey exotic and traditional foods, well-known chefs, tributes to the cooks and cookbooks of days gone by, and even a feature on how to open a restaurant. Many of the articles are by Patricia Sharpe, Texas Monthly's longtime restaurant critic and winner of the James Beard Journalism Award for Magazine Feature Writing without Recipes. Joining her are Texas Monthly editor Evan Smith and contributors Gary Cartwright, Jordan MacKay, Skip Hollandsworth, Pamela Colloff, Anne Dingus, Suzy Banks, Joe Nick Patoski, and Prudence Mackintosh.

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This Is the Plate
Utah Food Traditions
Edited by Carol Edison, Eric A Eliason, and Lynne S McNeill
University of Utah Press, 2019
The first book-length treatment of Utah’s distinctive food heritage, this volume contains work by more than sixty subject-matter experts, including scholars, community members, event organizers, journalists, bloggers, photographers, and food producers. It features recipes and photographs of food and beverages. Utah’s food history is traced from precontact Native American times through the arrival of multinational Mormon pioneers, miners, farmers, and other immigrants to today’s moment of “foodie” creativity, craft beers, and “fast-casual” restaurant-chain development. Contributors also explore the historical and cultural background for scores of food-related tools, techniques, dishes, traditions, festivals, and distinctive ingredients from the state’s religious, regional, and ethnic communities as well as Utah-based companies. In a state much influenced by Latter-day Saint history and culture, iconic items like Jell-O salads, funeral potatoes, fry sauce, and the distinctive “Utah scone” have emerged as self-conscious signals of an ecumenical Utah identity. Scholarly but lively and accessible, this book will appeal to both the general reader and the academic folklorist. 
 
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Urban Appetites
Food and Culture in Nineteenth-Century New York
Cindy R. Lobel
University of Chicago Press, 2014
Glossy magazines write about them, celebrities give their names to them, and you’d better believe there’s an app (or ten) committed to finding you the right one. They are New York City restaurants and food shops. And their journey to international notoriety is a captivating one. The now-booming food capital was once a small seaport city, home to a mere six municipal food markets that were stocked by farmers, fishermen, and hunters who lived in the area. By 1890, however, the city’s population had grown to more than one million, and residents could dine in thousands of restaurants with a greater abundance and variety of options than any other place in the United States.

Historians, sociologists, and foodies alike will devour the story of the origins of New York City’s food industry in Urban Appetites. Cindy R. Lobel focuses on the rise of New York as both a metropolis and a food capital, opening a new window onto the intersection of the cultural, social, political, and economic transformations of the nineteenth century. She offers wonderfully detailed accounts of public markets and private food shops; basement restaurants and immigrant diners serving favorites from the old country; cake and coffee shops; and high-end, French-inspired eating houses made for being seen in society as much as for dining.  But as the food and the population became increasingly cosmopolitan, corruption, contamination, and undeniably inequitable conditions escalated. Urban Appetites serves up a complete picture of the evolution of the city, its politics, and its foodways.
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front cover of We Are What We Eat
We Are What We Eat
Ethnic Food and the Making of Americans
Donna R. Gabaccia
Harvard University Press, 2000

Ghulam Bombaywala sells bagels in Houston. Demetrios dishes up pizza in Connecticut. The Wangs serve tacos in Los Angeles. How ethnicity has influenced American eating habits—and thus, the make-up and direction of the American cultural mainstream—is the story told in We Are What We Eat. It is a complex tale of ethnic mingling and borrowing, of entrepreneurship and connoisseurship, of food as a social and political symbol and weapon—and a thoroughly entertaining history of our culinary tradition of multiculturalism.

The story of successive generations of Americans experimenting with their new neighbors’ foods highlights the marketplace as an important arena for defining and expressing ethnic identities and relationships. We Are What We Eat follows the fortunes of dozens of enterprising immigrant cooks and grocers, street hawkers and restaurateurs who have cultivated and changed the tastes of native-born Americans from the seventeenth century to the present. It also tells of the mass corporate production of foods like spaghetti, bagels, corn chips, and salsa, obliterating their ethnic identities. The book draws a surprisingly peaceful picture of American ethnic relations, in which “Americanized” foods like Spaghetti-Os happily coexist with painstakingly pure ethnic dishes and creative hybrids.

Donna Gabaccia invites us to consider: If we are what we eat, who are we? Americans’ multi-ethnic eating is a constant reminder of how widespread, and mutually enjoyable, ethnic interaction has sometimes been in the United States. Amid our wrangling over immigration and tribal differences, it reveals that on a basic level, in the way we sustain life and seek pleasure, we are all multicultural.

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The World of Soy
Edited by Christine M. Du Bois, Sidney Mintz, and Chee-Beng Tan
University of Illinois Press, 2007

As the most ecologically efficient and economical source of complete protein in human food, soy is gradually attracting more use in the American diet for its nutritional and financial value. Derived from soybean plants--the leading export crop of the United States and the world's most traded crop--soy produced for human consumption is part of a global enterprise affecting the likes of farmers, economists, dieticians, and grocery shoppers. An international group of expert food specialists--including an agricultural economist, an agricultural sociologist, a former Peace Corps development expert, and numerous food anthropologists and agricultural historians--discusses important issues central to soy production and consumption: genetically engineered soybeans, increasing soybean cultivation, soyfood marketing techniques, the use of soybeans as an important soil restorative, and the rendering of soybeans for human consumption.

Contributors are Katarzyna Cwiertka, Christine M. Du Bois, H. T. Huang, Lawrence Kaplan, Jian-Hua Mao, Sidney W. Mintz, Akiko Moriya, Can Van Nguyen, Donald Z. Osborn, Erino Ozeki, Myra Sidharta, Ivan Sergio Freire de Sousa, Chee-Beng Tan, and Rita de Cássia Milagres Teixeira Vieira.

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