AMS 370 • 26-American Food-W
3:00 PM-6:00 PM
Polenta or grits? Spaghetti or udon? Pancakes, crepes, or galettes? Biscuits, cornbread, tortillas or sourdough? Regardless of what we call them, individual ingredients, recipes, and food choices tell stories of race, class, ethnicity, gender, and region in the United States. Thanksgiving dinner at grandma's house, fast food from the drive-through, a slow food meal harvested from the community garden, or five-star haute cuisine at this months hippest restaurant? Where we eat, how much we pay for it, and who labors to create it tell us about capital, nation, and connections between global and local economies. This class will explore diverse American food cultures from a humanities perspective. Along with scholarship in the new field of food studies, we will use cookbooks, novels, poetry, photographs, songs, documentaries, and oral histories to investigate the past and present of American food communities.
This course will combine the writing of essays, research presentation, and exam. By successfully completing the course, students will be able to: discuss historical and contemporary connections between food and cultures; analyze how racial, class, gender, and ethnic differences affect experiences of work and family in this context; research in depth the individual, societal, and material details of a recipe, ingredient, or food ritual; and develop creative and academically rigorous methods to analyze representations of food in multiple media sources.
Possible Texts Donna Gabaccia, We Are What We Eat: Ethnic Foods and the Making of Americans Ann Bower, Recipes for Reading Julie Powell, Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen: How One Girl Risked Her Marriage, Her Job, & Her Sanity to Master the Art of Living Psyche Williams-Forson, Building Houses out of Chicken Legs: Black Women, Food, and Power Harvey Levenstein, Revolution at the Table: The Transformation of the American Diet Laura Shapiro, Perfection Salad Paule Marshall, "Poets in the Kitchen" Ruth Reichl, Tender at the Bone