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Reconnecting Farm, Food, and Community
While the American agricultural and food systems follow a decades-old path of industrialization and globalization, a counter trend has appeared toward localizing some agricultural and food production. Thomas A. Lyson, a scholar-practitioner in the field of community-based food systems, calls this rebirth of locally based agriculture and food production civic agriculture because these activities are tightly linked to a community's social and economic development. Civic agriculture embraces innovative ways to produce, process, and distribute food, and it represents a sustainable alternative to the socially, economically, and environmentally destructive practices associated with conventional large-scale agriculture. Farmers' markets, community gardens, and community-supported agriculture are all forms of civic agriculture.
Lyson describes how, in the course of a hundred years, a small-scale, diversified system of farming became an industrialized system of production and also how this industrialized system has gone global. He argues that farming in the United States was modernized by employing the same techniques and strategies that transformed the manufacturing sector from a system of craft production to one of mass production. Viewing agriculture as just another industrial sector led to transformations in both the production and the processing of food. As small farmers and food processors were forced to expand, merge with larger operations, or go out of business, they became increasingly disconnected from the surrounding communities. Lyson enumerates the shortcomings of the current agriculture and food systems as they relate to social, economic, and environmental sustainability. He then introduces the concept of community problem solving and offers empirical evidence and concrete examples to show that a re-localization of the food production system is underway.
A Southern Tradition from Seed to Table
Collectivization of agriculture is an essential feature of the Communist program for the satellite countries of Eastern Europe. It is a means of extending state control of agriculture as well as the basis for developing large-scale industrial and military power. Irwin T. Sanders has edited this excellent group of papers by specialists on Eastern Europe and American rural social scientists, which collectively serve as an analysis of efforts to regiment the East European peasant.
To those for whom the terms "collective farm" and "collectivization" have little meaning, this book will provide an actual picture of Communist effort to organize millions of peasants into a standard pattern of production and control. Such regimentation, these writers show, has led to less efficient agriculture from the standpoint of total production although it facilitates the delivery of produce to state economic enterprises.
Detroit is the world capital of the coney island hot dog—a natural-casing hot dog topped with an all-meat beanless chili, chopped white onions, and yellow mustard. In Coney Detroit, authors Katherine Yung and Joe Grimm investigate all aspects of the beloved regional delicacy, which was created by Greek immigrants in the early 1900s. Coney Detroit traces the history of the coney island restaurant, which existed in many cities but thrived nowhere as it did in Detroit, and surveys many of the hundreds of independent and chain restaurants in business today. In more than 150 mouth-watering photographs and informative, playful text, readers will learn about the traditions, rivalries, and differences between the restaurants, some even located right next door to each other. Coney Detroit showcases such Metro Detroit favorites as American Coney Island, Lafayette Coney Island, Duly’s Coney Island, Kerby’s Coney Island, National Coney Island, and Leo’s Coney Island. As Yung and Grimm uncover the secret ingredients of an authentic Detroit coney, they introduce readers to the suppliers who produce the hot dogs, chili sauce, and buns, and also reveal the many variations of the coney—including coney tacos, coney pizzas, and coney omelets. While the coney legend is centered in Detroit, Yung and Grimm explore coney traditions in other Michigan cities, including Flint, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Port Huron, Pontiac, and Traverse City, and even venture to some notable coney islands outside of Michigan, from the east coast to the west. Most importantly, the book introduces and celebrates the families and individuals that created and continue to proudly serve Detroit’s favorite food. Not a book to be read on an empty stomach, Coney Detroit deserves a place in every Detroiter or Detroiter-at-heart’s collection.
Cooking Plain, Illinois Country Style by Helen Walker Linsenmeyer presents a collection of family recipes created prior to 1900 and perfected from generation to generation, mirroring the delicious and distinctive kind of cookery produced by the mix of people who settled the Illinois Country during this period. Some recipes reflect a certain New England or Southern influence, while others echo a European heritage. All hark back to a simpler style of living, when cooking was plain yet flavorful.
The recipes specify the use of natural ingredients (including butter, lard, and suet) rather than synthetic or ready-mixed foods, which were unavailable in the 1800s. Cooking at the time was pure and unadulterated, and portions were large. Strength-giving food was essential to health and endurance; thus fare was pure, hearty, flavorful, and wholesome.
The many treasures of Cooking Plain, Illinois Country Style include
• basic recipes for mead, originally served to the militiamen of Jackson County; sumac lemonade, made the Indian way; root beer, as it was originally made;
• soups of many kinds—from wholesome vegetable to savory sorrel leaf, enjoyed by the Kaskaskia French;
• old-fashioned fried beefsteak, classic American pot roast and gravy, as well as secret marinades to tenderize the tougher but more flavorful cuts of meat;
• methods for preparing and cooking rabbit, squirrel, wild turkey, venison, pheasant, rattlesnake, raccoon, buffalo, and fish;
• over one hundred recipes for wheat breads, sweet breads, corn breads, and pancakes;
• an array of delectable desserts and confections, including puddings, ice cream, taffy, and feathery-light cakes and pies;
• sections on the uses of herbs, spices, roots, and weeds; instructions for making sausage, jerky, and smoked fish and for drying one’s own fruits and vegetables; and household hints on everything from making lye soap to cooking for the sick.
And there are extra-special nuggets, too, for Mrs. Linsenmeyer laces her cookbook with interesting biographical notes on a number of the settlers and the origin of many of the foods they used. There is also a wealth of historical information on lifestyles and cooking before 1900, plus helpful tips on the use of old-fashioned cooking utensils.
A working cookbook complete in its coverage of every area of food preparation, Cooking Plain, Illinois Country Style will be used and treasured as much today as its recipes were by families of an earlier century. The recipes are not gourmet, but they are certain to please today’s cooks, especially those interested in using local ingredients and getting back to a more natural way of cooking and eating.
The Best of Southern Food Writing
How does Southern food look from the outside? The form is caught in constantly dueling stereotypes: It’s so often imagined as either the touchingly down-home feast or the heartstopping health scourge of a nation. But as any Southern transplant will tell you once they’ve spent time in the region, Southerners share their lives in food, with a complex mix of stories of belonging and not belonging and of traditions that form identities of many kinds.
Cornbread Nation 7, edited by Francis Lam, brings together the best Southern food writing from recent years, including well-known food writers such as Sara Roahen and Brett Anderson, a couple of classic writers such as Langston Hughes, and some newcomers. The collection, divided into five sections (“Come In and Stay Awhile,” “Provisions and Providers,” “Five Ways of Looking at Southern Food,” “The South, Stepping Out,” and “Southerners Going Home”), tells the stories both of Southerners as they move through the world and of those who ended up in the South. It explores from where and from whom food comes, and it looks at what food means to culture and how it relates to home.
Doña Petrona, Women, and Food
Rebekah E. Pite is assistant professor of history at Lafayette College. Doña Petrona C. de Gandulfo (c. 1896@-1992) reigned as Argentina's preeminent domestic and culinary expert from the 1930s through the 1980s. An enduring culinary icon thanks to her magazine columns, radio programs, and television shows, she was likely second only to Eva Perón in terms of the fame she enjoyed and adulation she received. Her cookbook garnered tremendous popularity, becoming one of the three bestselling books in Argentina. Doña Petrona capitalized on and contributed to the growing appreciation for women's domestic roles as the Argentine economy expanded and fell into periodic crises. Drawing on a wide range of materials, including her own interviews with Doña Petrona’s inner circle and with everyday women and men, Rebekah E. Pite provides a lively social history of twentieth-century Argentina, as exemplified through the fascinating story of Doña Petrona and the homemakers to whom she dedicated her career. Pite's narrative illuminates the important role of food--its consumption, preparation, and production--in daily life, class formation, and national identity. By connecting issues of gender, domestic work, and economic development, Pite brings into focus the critical importance of women's roles as consumers, cooks, and community builders. Argentina’s culinary superstar
Long before Rabelaisian tales of gargantuan gluttony regaled early modern audiences, and centuries before pie-in-the-face gags enlivened vaudeville slapstick, medieval French poets employed food as a powerful device of humor and criticism.Food and laughter, essential elements in human existence, can be used to question the meaning of cultural conventions concerning the body and sexuality, religion, class hierarchies, and gender relations. This book unites the cultural and literary study of representations of food and consumption with theoretical approaches to comedy, humor, and parody in late twelfth- through early-fourteenth-century French fictional verse narratives of epic chanson de geste, theater, Arthurian verse romance, fabliau, and the beast epic of the Roman de Renart. From socially inept epic heroes to hungry knights-errant and mischievous fabliau housewives, out of the ordinary food usage embodies humor. Some knights prefer fighting with roast chicken or bread loaves rather than their swords. Specific foods such as sausages, lard, pears, nuts, or chickens provoked laughter by their mere presence in a scene. Culinary comedy serves as both social satire and literary parody, playing with institutional social conduct and alimentary codes. Its power lies in its ability to disrupt and to reinforce the same conventions it ridicules.
""From Kosher Oreos to the gentrification of Mexican cusine, from the charismatic cook of Basque communities in Spain and the United States to the mainstreaming of southwestern foodways, Culinary Tourism maps a lively cultural and intellectual terrain."" -- from the foreword by Barbara Kirshenblatt-GimblettCulinary Tourism is the first book to consider food as both a destination and a means for tourism. The book's contributors examine the many intersections of food, culture and tourism in public and commercial contexts, in private and domestic settings, and around the world. The contributors argue that the sensory experience of eating provides people with a unique means of communication. Editor Lucy Long contends that although the interest in experiencing ""otherness"" is strong within American society, total immersion into the unfamiliar is not always welcome. Thus spicy flavors of Latin Aermcia and the exotic ingredients of Asia have been mainstreamed for everyday consumption. Culinary Tourism explains how and why interest in foreign food is expanding tastes and leading to commercial profit in America, but the book also show how tourism combines personal experiences with cultural and social attitudes toward food and the circumstances for adventurous eating.