Food Studies Methods from the American South
Publication Year: 2013
The Larder presents some of the most influential scholars in the discipline today, from established authorities such as Psyche Williams-Forson to emerging thinkers such as Rien T. Fertel, writing on subjects as varied as hunting, farming, and marketing, as well as examining restaurants, iconic dishes, and cookbooks.
Editors John T. Edge, Elizabeth Engelhardt, and Ted Ownby bring together essays that demonstrate that food studies scholarship, as practiced in the American South, sets methodological standards for the discipline. The essayists ask questions about gender, race, and ethnicity as they explore issues of identity and authenticity. And they offer new ways to think about material culture, technology, and the business of food.
The Larder is not driven by nostalgia. Reading such a collection of essays may not encourage food metaphors. “It’s not a feast, not a gumbo, certainly not a home-cooked meal,” Ted Ownby argues in his closing essay. Instead, it’s a healthy step in the right direction, taken by the leading scholars in the field.
Published by: University of Georgia Press
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This collection emerged from the desire to bring together work in the emerging academic fi eld of southern foodways. Our fi rst thanks are thus to the numerous scholars, teachers, and students who have helped that fi eld develop to a point that it can support and, we hope, benefi t from its fi rst collection of scholarly essays. For their interest, creativity, research, and pa-...
INTRODUCTION: Redrawing the Grocery: Practices and Methods for Studying Southern Food
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As scholars of the U.S. South and southern food, my coeditors and I fre-quently engage popular and academic audiences. Recently I taught a class on southern food studies for adult learners in Austin, Texas. Attended by eight adults and one ten- year- old, the class was part of a program designed to encourage older and low- income men and women to apply for college ...
PART 1 COOKBOOKS AND INGREDIENTS
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...john egerton kicked oﬀ the modern era of southern food studies with an epic regional road trip. He catalogued the recipes, cookbooks, restau-rants, and forgotten cooks of the region. In 1987’s Southern Food: At Home, on the Road, in History, he foreshadowed the concentration on cookbooks and recipes that has since dominated food studies. In the popular vein, Scott ...
CHAPTER 1 “Everybody Seemed Willing to Help”: The Picayune Creole Cook Book as Battleground, 1900–2008
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In 1900, for just twenty- fi ve cents, a freshly published copy of the “compen-dium of our local culinary science . . . an authentic and complete account of the Creole kitchen” could be obtained from any New Orleans newsstand. The Picayune’s Creole Cook Book, boasted a promotional article in the Daily Picayune, would be “the fi rst that has even been attempted, and probably the ...
CHAPTER 2 The Women of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Were Worried: Transforming Domestic Skills into Saleable Commodities in Texas
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The women of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church were worried. Their fi ne new building in downtown Waco, Texas, was nine years old, and the congrega-tion remained in debt. They pledged as a group to raise the great sum of $800 to help reduce the church’s fi nancial embarrassment. But they had a problem. What could they, as upper- class white women, do to raise money? ...
CHAPTER 3 Prospecting for Oil
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Of all the quests that early American farmers and horticulturists pursued, none was more enduring and consequential than the pursuit of culinary oils and fats—something less expensive and more suitable for salad dress-ing than melted lard. From Thomas Jeﬀ erson’s failed attempts to grow olive trees in Albemarle County, Virginia, to David Wesson’s labors in the labora-...
CHAPTER 4 Bodies of the Dead: The Wild in Southern Foodways
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Among the papers of the Mississippi Game and Fish Commission a worn clipping cries, “Water Valley Hides Bodies Of Its ‘Dead!’ Merovka Fails to Find Slaughtered Geese Slain on City’s Streets.” The story goes that on a winter night in 1932, a dense fog forced a fl ock of wild geese—probably Canada geese—to land in the northern Mississippi town. Citizens reacted ...
PART 2 PEOPLE AND COMMUNITIES
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...in this section, we bring individual and community voices into the conversation. Beth Latshaw, Justin Nystrom, Rayna Green, and Tom Han-chett employ quantitative and qualitative social science survey methods, rigorous oral history project design, labor analyses, demographic observa-tions, and close readings of festivals and celebrations to rethink food studies ...
CHAPTER 5 The Soul of the South: Race, Food, and Identity in the American South
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When I bring up my research on southern foodways, I am consistently asked two central questions: fi rst, why study food, and second, why study food in relation to the American South? To begin, in the twenty- fi rst century, it seems nearly impossible to ignore the omnipresence of food in American popular culture, illuminating an association between eating habits, food ...
CHAPTER 6 Italian New Orleans and the Business of Food in the Immigrant City: There’s More to the Muffuletta than Meets the Eye
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...“I was just a kid back then,” recalled John Gendusa. “My father had a route down in St. Bernard, so I would go with him down in St. Bernard. And we’d go down to the sugar refi nery. . . . All these places had restaurants, [lots] of places up and down the river.” He remembered an old lady at the refi nery’s lunchroom who would always give him a pork chop to eat, because she ...
CHAPTER 7 Mother Corn and the Dixie Pig: Native Food in the Native South
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Native food is in the news. Every day. All over the country, except in the South, farmers, chefs, environmentalists, and food writers are excited about Native food and foodways. That excitement usually comes from a “discov-ery” (or rediscovery) of the many virtues of old “slow” foods in the now hip vernacular—local, fresh, and seasonal foods that are good for you, good for ...
CHAPTER 8 A Salad Bowl City: The Food Geography of Charlotte, North Carolina
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Exploring foodways can open up fresh perspectives on wider society. In my neighborhood along Central Avenue in Charlotte, North Carolina, ethnic restaurants and grocery stores started popping up in the 1990s. Today at the corner of Central and Rosehaven, you can park your car amid a jumble of little shopping plazas and walk to a Vietnamese grocery and two Viet-...
PART 3 SPACES AND TECHNOLOGIES
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...this section. When humanities scholars of food studies fi rst looked to kin-dred disciplines for methodological inspiration, we learned from our col-leagues in the fi elds of nutrition and family and consumer sciences. Histori-ans such as Harvey Levenstein, Laura Shapiro, and Mary Hoﬀ eschelle traced Progressive Era cooking school curricula. They examined the standardiza-...
CHAPTER 9 Eating Technology at Krispy Kreme
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...lincoln spoor, Krispy Kreme franchisee, in Esquire, September 1998The social historian E. P. Thompson has argued that food should be under-stood not as a solid material for consumption but rather as a process within which every point oﬀ ers “radiating complexities.” Thompson’s analysis con-cerns the dynamics of a working- class food revolt, yet his metaphor remains ...
CHAPTER 10 “America’s Place for Inclusion”: Stories of Food, Labor, and Equality at the Waffle House
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...“Love it. Martin Luther King had a dream, and I think Waﬄ e House was in it,” declares singer- songwriter John Mayer. According to Waﬄ e House’s chairman Joe Rogers Jr., in the introduction of Inc, Waﬄ e House’s corporate magazine, Waﬄ e House is not simply “Good Food, Fast” or even “America’s Place to Work, America’s Place to Eat” but also “America’s Place for Inclu-...
CHAPTER 11 “The Customer Is Always White”: Food, Race, and Contested Eating Space in the South
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In 1964 Ollie’s Barbecue sat at the intersection of Ninth Street and Sev-enth Avenue South in Birmingham, Alabama. Ollie’s was a white- owned restaurant that oﬀ ered table seating to white- collar businessmen and white families. Barbecue, nonalcoholic beverages, and homemade pies made up the majority of the restaurant’s sales. Aft er almost forty years in business, ...
PART 4 MATERIAL CULTURES
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...dred years ago? Do the pots, pans, and cookbooks of our past represent the most or least used kitchen equipment? How do we “read” the food story if we have only have photographs and postcards? Can we approximate the sights and sounds and smells of the markets, kitchens, and tables? Can we account for their codifi cation of southern cuisines? The articles in this sec-...
CHAPTER 12 The “Stuff ” of Southern Food: Food and Material Culture in the American South
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If I could do it, I’d do no writing at all here. It would be photographs; the rest would be fragments of cloth, bits of cotton, lumps of earth, records of speech, pieces of It is late December and bitterly cold on the farm where my husband grew up in Warren County, Mississippi. The sky is steely gray, and it feels like it may snow. Two horses graze in the fi eld below the house. A screen door slams, ...
CHAPTER 13 The Dance of Culinary Patriotism: Material Culture and the Performance of Race with Southern Food
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It’s not that photographs are not good. They’re too good. . . . They contain everything. We have worked out techniques for digesting World War II powerfully infl uenced American farming and food produc-tion. Shortly aft er the war began, food rationing became mandatory. Ra-tion books were the order of the day. Continuing the World War I theme of ...
CHAPTER 14 “I’m Talkin’ ’Bout the Food I Sells”: African American Street Vendors and the Sound of Food from Noise to Nostalgia
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Food easily appeals to four of the fi ve senses: the feel of the soft fuzz of a ripe peach, the juicy taste of a sun- heated tomato, the sight of a dew- drenched bush laden with blueberries, or the pungent aroma of a fi ery ha-banero. Sound, though, is usually left out of the culinary equation. The sizzle of a steak on the grill or the tinkling sound of Moroccan mint tea poured ...
PART 5 ON AUTHENTICITY
...the final pieces in this collection, Andrew Warnes’s “Edgeland Ter-roir: Authenticity and Invention in New Southern Foodways Strategy” and the conclusion by Ted Ownby, take a close and critical look at the southern food studies enterprise. Both explore the role of theory and metacriticism Warnes fi nds much to celebrate and much to approach with caution. ...
CHAPTER 15 Edgeland Terroir: Authenticity and Invention in New Southern Foodways Strategy
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Precious soil, I say to myself, by what singular custom of laws is that thou wast made to constitute the riches of the freeholder? What should we American farmers be without the distinct possession of the soil? It feeds, it clothes us, from it we draw even a great exuberancy, our best meat, our richest drink, the very honey of our bees j. hector st. john de crvecoeur, Letters of an American Farmer (1784)...
CHAPTER 16 Conclusion: Go Forth with Method
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I write to oﬀ er a few refl ections on these essays, not as a scholar with train-ing or teaching experience in foodways, but as a southern historian who has been observing the rise of southern foodways as a fi eld. Some years ago, when the Southern Foodways Alliance began oﬀ ering programming that challenged the boundaries between academics and others, I was excited by ...
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Page Count: 344
Illustrations: 18 b&w photos, 12 tables, 9 figures
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: Southern Foodways Alliance Studies in Culture, People, and Place