We didn’t always eat the way we do today, or think and feel about eating as we now do. But we can trace the roots of our own eating culture back to the culinary world of early modern Europe, which invented cutlery, haute cuisine, the weight-loss diet, and much else besides. Aguecheek’s Beef, Belch’s Hiccup tells the story of how early modern Europeans put food into words and words into food, and created an experience all their own. Named after characters in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, this lively study draws on sources ranging from cookbooks to comic novels, and examines both the highest ideals of culinary culture and its most grotesque, ridiculous and pathetic expressions. Robert Appelbaum paints a vivid picture of a world in which food was many things—from a symbol of prestige and sociability to a cause for religious and economic struggle—but always represented the primacy of materiality in life.
Peppered with illustrations and a handful of recipes, Aguecheek’s Beef, Belch’s Hiccup will appeal to anyone interested in early modern literature or the history of food.
Between the political revolutions of 1789 and 1848 no other subject so directly challenged the notion of "good taste" in literature as food. To be "in good taste," a work of the high style excluded references to literal taste; culinary allusions in tragedy and lyric poetry therefore represented an ironic attack on literary decorum and a liberation from the constraints of figurative taste.
In The Ambiguity of Taste, Jocelyne Kolb attempts to define changes in genre and metaphorical usage by undertaking close readings of six authors. She looks first at Molière and Fielding, whose culinary allusions herald poetic revolution but whose works do not themselves escape the limits of a neoclassical aesthetic. Byron and Heine, known as renegades, are treated in separate chapters and in the greatest detail. The penultimate chapter joins Goethe and Hugo as champions of poetic freedom, and in the final chapter Kolb briefly considers Thomas Mann and Proust, whose works display the gains of poetic revolution.
This book will be savored by students of comparative literature and European Romanticism. Its accessible style will tempt nonspecialists and food enthusiasts as well.
Jocelyne Kolb is Professor of German Studies, Smith College. This book was the winner of the 1995 American Conference on Romanticism Book Prize.
The essays collected here explore the power and sensuality that food engenders within literature. The book permits the reader to sample food as a rhetorical structure, one that allows the individual writers to articulate the abstract concepts in a medium that is readily understandable.
The second part of Cooking by the Book turns to the more diverse food rhetorics of the marketplace. What, for example, is the fast food rhetoric? Why are there so many eating disorders in our society? Is it possible to teach philosophy through cookery? How long has vegetarianism been popular?
For South Asians, food regularly plays a role in how issues of race, class, gender, ethnicity, and national identity are imagined as well as how notions of belonging are affirmed or resisted. Culinary Fictions provides food for thought as it considers the metaphors literature, film, and TV shows use to describe Indians abroad. When an immigrant mother in Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake combines Rice Krispies, Planters peanuts, onions, salt, lemon juice, and green chili peppers to create a dish similar to one found on Calcutta sidewalks, it evokes not only the character’s Americanization, but also her nostalgia for India.
Food, Anita Mannur writes, is a central part of the cultural imagination of diasporic populations, and Culinary Fictions maps how it figures in various expressive forms. Mannur examines the cultural production from the Anglo-American reaches of the South Asian diaspora. Using texts from novels—Chitra Divakaruni’s Mistress of Spices and Shani Mootoo’s Cereus Blooms at Night—and cookbooks such as Madhur Jaffrey’s Invitation to Indian Cooking and Padma Lakshmi’s Easy Exotic, she illustrates how national identities are consolidated in culinary terms.
Devouring Cultures brings together contributors from a wide range of disciplines including media studies, rhetoric, gender studies, philosophy, anthropology, literary criticism, film criticism, race theory, history, and linguistics to examine the ways food signifies both culture and identity.
These scholars look for answers to intriguing questions: What does our choice of dining house say about our social class? Can restaurants teach us about a culture? How does food operate in Downton Abbey? How does food consumption in zombie apocalypse films and apocalyptic literature relate to contemporary food-chain crises and food nostalgia? What aspects of racial conflict, assimilation, and empowerment may be represented in restaurant culture and food choice?
Restaurants, from their historical development to their modern role as surrogate kitchen, are studied as markers of gender, race, and social class, and also as forums for the exhibition of tensions or spaces where culture is learned through the language of food. Food, as it is portrayed in literature, movies, and television, is illuminated as a platform for cultural assimilation, a way for the oppressed to find agency, or even a marker for the end of a civilization.
The essays in Devouring Cultures show how our choices about what we eat, where we eat, and with whom we eat are linked to identity and meaning and how the seemingly simple act of consumption has implications that extend far beyond sustenance.
Food, Feminisms, Rhetorics
Edited by Melissa A. Goldthwaite Southern Illinois University Press, 2017 Library of Congress TX644.F66 2017 | Dewey Decimal 808.066641
Inspired by the need for interpretations and critiques of the varied messages surrounding what and how we eat, Food, Feminisms, Rhetorics collects eighteen essays that demonstrate the importance of food and food-related practices as sites of scholarly study, particularly from feminist rhetorical perspectives.
Contributors analyze messages about food and bodies—from what a person watches and reads to where that person shops—taken from sources mundane and literary, personal and cultural. This collection begins with analyses of the historical, cultural, and political implications of cookbooks and recipes; explores definitions of feminist food writing; and ends with a focus on bodies and cultures—both self-representations and representations of others for particular rhetorical purposes. The genres, objects, and practices contributors study are varied—from cookbooks to genre fiction, from blogs to food systems, from product packaging to paintings—but the overall message is the same: food and its associated practices are worthy of scholarly attention.
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.
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.
The Roman poet and satirist Persius (34–62 CE) was unique among his peers for lampooning literary and social conventions from a distinctly Stoic point of view. A curious amalgam of mocking wit and philosophy, his Satires are rife with violent metaphors and unpleasant imagery and show little concern for the reader’s enjoyment or understanding.
In Persius, Shadi Bartsch explores this Stoic framework and argues that Persius sets his own bizarre metaphors of food, digestion, and sexuality against more appealing imagery to show that the latter—and the poetry containing it—harms rather than helps its audience. Ultimately, he encourages us to abandon metaphor altogether in favor of the non-emotive abstract truths of Stoic philosophy, to live in a world where neither alluring poetry, nor rich food, nor sexual charm play a role in philosophical teaching.
Political Appetites: Food in Medieval English Romance is the first book-length examination of the cultural and theoretical resonances of food and cooking in medieval English literature, offering a new assessment of the vexed and critically underappreciated genre of romance. Aaron Hostetter moves beyond the critical assumptions of the food practices of medieval English culture as only reflecting Eucharistic preoccupations. Focusing on the romance literature of England, from tenth-century hagiographic verse to fifteenth-century courtly adventures, he also engages the politics of secular eating. Focus on the edible allows Political Appetites to apply fresh insights from cultural studies and critical theory to these narratives—to adumbrate their unique political perspectives. The analysis of food reveals these stories to be sophisticated responses to the material and political conditions of their day.
If humanity has attempted through its brief history to render the material world edible, then food and food practice not only influence our aspirations but also shift focus to the limits of human existence on this planet. In studying the foodways of the past as a fundamental economic activity, Political Appetites questions contemporary attitudes towards consumption as their proliferation and abuses create social inequities, menace ecosystems, and threaten to bring about the end of the Anthropocene Era.
The Taste of Art offers a sample of scholarly essays that examine the role of food in Western contemporary art practices. The contributors are scholars from a range of disciplines, including art history, philosophy, film studies, and history. As a whole, the volume illustrates how artists engage with food as matter and process in order to explore alternative aesthetic strategies and indicate countercultural shifts in society.
The collection opens by exploring the theoretical intersections of art and food, food art’s historical root in Futurism, and the ways in which food carries gendered meaning in popular film. Subsequent sections analyze the ways in which artists challenge mainstream ideas through food in a variety of scenarios. Beginning from a focus on the body and subjectivity, the authors zoom out to look at the domestic sphere, and finally the public sphere.
Here are essays that study a range of artists including, among others, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Daniel Spoerri, Dieter Roth, Joseph Beuys, Al Ruppersberg, Alison Knowles, Martha Rosler, Robin Weltsch, Vicki Hodgetts, Paul McCarthy, Luciano Fabro, Carries Mae Weems, Peter Fischli and David Weiss, Janine Antoni, Elżbieta Jabłońska, Liza Lou, Tom Marioni, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Michael Rakowitz, and Natalie Jeremijenko.