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Can She Bake a Cherry Pie?
American Women and the Kitchen in the Twentieth Century
Mary Drake McFeely
University of Massachusetts Press, 2001
In the rural America of the past, a woman's reputation was sometimes made by her cherry pie—or her chocolate layer cake, or her biscuits. As America modernized and as women left the home, entered the paid labor force, and battled their way to success in the professions, mastery of cooking remained an accepted sign that a woman took her gendered responsibilities seriously. Ironically, over the course of the twentieth century, as ready-made foods and kitchen appliances made home cooking less essential and labor-intensive, skill in the kitchen continued to be perceived not only by society but often by women themselves as a measure of a woman's true value.

This book shows how cooking developed and evolved during the twentieth century. From Fannie Farmer to Julia Child, new challenges arose to replace the old. Women found themselves still tied to the kitchen, but for different reasons and with the need to acquire new skills. Instead of simply providing sustenance for the family, they now had to master more complex cooking techniques, the knowledge of "ethnic" cuisines, the science of nutrition, the business of consumerism, and, perhaps most important of all, the art of keeping their husbands and children happy and healthy.

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Chefs, Restaurants, and Culinary Sustainability
Carole Counihan
University of Arkansas Press, 2025
The centrality of food to the human experience always places it at the crux of global crises, whether catastrophic climate change, the collapse of biodiversity in our shared ecosystem, the threat of pandemics, or the poverty and suffering associated with resource scarcity. The continual reality of these challenges has prompted professionals throughout the food industry to seek innovative solutions, as chefs and restaurateurs adjust to customer demands and political imperatives for socially responsible civic action.
Chefs, Restaurants, and Culinary Sustainability explores how chefs around the world approach culinary sustainability in highly unstable times while working in myriad professional domains. Building on empirical data collected from a wide range of cultural, historical, political, and economic settings, the contributors to this collection provide a sophisticated and engaging examination of how chefs in diverse culinary contexts tackle the increasingly urgent societal and environmental need for a more secure food future.

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The Chicago Food Encyclopedia
Edited by Carol Mighton Haddix, Bruce Kraig, and Colleen Taylor Sen: Foreword by Russell Lewis
University of Illinois Press, 2017
The Chicago Food Encyclopedia is a far-ranging portrait of an American culinary paradise. Hundreds of entries deliver all of the visionary restauranteurs, Michelin superstars, beloved haunts, and food companies of today and yesterday. More than 100 sumptuous images include thirty full-color photographs that transport readers to dining rooms and food stands across the city. Throughout, a roster of writers, scholars, and industry experts pays tribute to an expansive--and still expanding--food history that not only helped build Chicago but fed a growing nation. Pizza. Alinea. Wrigley Spearmint. Soul food. Rick Bayless. Hot Dogs. Koreatown. Everest. All served up A-Z, and all part of the ultimate reference on Chicago and its food.

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Chop Suey and Sushi from Sea to Shining Sea
Chinese and Japanese Restaurants in the United States
Bruce Makoto Arnold
University of Arkansas Press, 2018

The essays in Chop Suey and Sushi from Sea to Shining Sea fill gaps in the existing food studies by revealing and contextualizing the hidden, local histories of Chinese and Japanese restaurants in the United States.

The writer of these essays show how the taste and presentation of Chinese and Japanese dishes have evolved in sweat and hardship over generations of immigrants who became restaurant owners, chefs, and laborers in the small towns and large cities of America. These vivid, detailed, and sometimes emotional portrayals reveal the survival strategies deployed in Asian restaurant kitchens over the past 150 years and the impact these restaurants have had on the culture, politics, and foodways of the United States.

Some of these authors are family members of restaurant owners or chefs, writing with a passion and richness that can only come from personal investment, while others are academic writers who have painstakingly mined decades of archival data to reconstruct the past. Still others offer a fresh look at the amazing continuity and domination of the “evil Chinaman” stereotype in the “foreign” world of American Chinatown restaurants. The essays include insights from a variety of disciplines, including history, sociology, anthropology, ethnography, economics, phenomenology, journalism, food studies, and film and literary criticism.

Chop Suey and Sushi from Sea to Shining Sea not only complements the existing scholarship and exposes the work that still needs to be done in this field, but also underscores the unique and innovative approaches that can be taken in the field of American food studies.


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The Cigarette
A Political History
Sarah Milov
Harvard University Press, 2019

Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist
Winner of the Willie Lee Rose Prize
Winner of the PROSE Award in United States History
Hagley Prize in Business History Finalist
A Smithsonian Best History Book of the Year

“Vaping gets all the attention now, but Milov’s thorough study reminds us that smoking has always intersected with the government, for better or worse.”
New York Times Book Review

From Jamestown to the Marlboro Man, tobacco has powered America’s economy and shaped some of its most enduring myths. The story of tobacco’s rise and fall may seem simple enough—a tale of science triumphing over corporate greed—but the truth is more complicated.

After the Great Depression, government officials and tobacco farmers worked hand in hand to ensure that regulation was used to promote tobacco rather than protect consumers. As evidence of the connection between cigarettes and cancer grew, scientists struggled to secure federal regulation in the name of public health. What turned the tide, Sarah Milov reveals, was a new kind of politics: a movement for nonsmokers’ rights. Activists took to the courts, the streets, city councils, and boardrooms to argue for smoke-free workplaces and allied with scientists to lobby elected officials. The Cigarette puts politics back at the heart of tobacco’s rise and fall, dramatizing the battles over corporate influence, individual choice, government regulation, and science.

“A nuanced and ultimately devastating indictment of government complicity with the worst excesses of American capitalism.”
New Republic

“An impressive work of scholarship evincing years of spadework…A well-told story.”
Wall Street Journal

“If you want to know what the smoke-filled rooms of midcentury America were really like, this is the book to read.”
Los Angeles Review of Books


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Cities of Farmers
Urban Agricultural Practices and Processes
Julie C. Dawson and Alfonso Morales
University of Iowa Press, 2016
Full-scale food production in cities: is it an impossibility? Or is it a panacea for all that ails urban communities? Today, it’s a reality, but many people still don’t know how much of an impact this emerging food system is having on cities and their residents. This book showcases the work of the farmers, activists, urban planners, and city officials in the United States and Canada who are advancing food production. They have realized that, when it’s done right, farming in cities can enhance the local ecology, foster cohesive communities, and improve the quality of life for urban residents.

Implementing urban agriculture often requires change in the physical, political, and social-organizational landscape. Beginning with a look at how and why city people grew their own food in the early twentieth century, the contributors to Cities of Farmers examine the role of local and regional regulations and politics, especially the creation of food policy councils, in making cities into fertile ground for farming. The authors describe how food is produced and distributed in cities via institutions as diverse as commercial farms, community gardens, farmers’ markets, and regional food hubs. Growing food in vacant lots and on rooftops affects labor, capital investment, and human capital formation, and as a result urban agriculture intersects with land values and efforts to build affordable housing. It also can contribute to cultural renewal and improved health.

This book enables readers to understand and contribute to their local food system, whether they are raising vegetables in a community garden, setting up a farmers’ market, or formulating regulations for farming and composting within city limits.

Catherine Brinkley, Benjamin W. Chrisinger, Nevin Cohen, Michèle Companion, Lindsey Day-Farnsworth, Janine de la Salle, Luke Drake, Sheila Golden, Randel D. Hanson, Megan Horst, Nurgul Fitzgerald, Becca B. R. Jablonski, Laura Lawson, Kara Martin, Nathan McClintock, Alfonso Morales, Jayson Otto, Anne Pfeiffer, Anne Roubal, Todd M. Schmit, Erin Silva, Michael Simpson, Lauren Suerth, Dory Thrasher, Katinka Wijsman

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Civic Agriculture
Reconnecting Farm, Food, and Community
Thomas A. Lyson
University Press of New England, 2004
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.

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Coastal Lives
Nature, Capital, and the Struggle for Artisanal Fisheries in Peru
Maximilian Viatori and Héctor Bombiella
University of Arizona Press, 2019
Peru’s fisheries are in crisis as overfishing and ecological changes produce dramatic fluctuations in fish stocks. To address this crisis, government officials have claimed that fishers need to become responsible producers who create economic advantages by taking better care of the ocean ecologies they exploit.

In Coastal Lives, Maximilian Viatori and Héctor Bombiella argue that this has not made Peru’s fisheries more sustainable. Through a fine-grained ethnographic and historical account of Lima’s fisheries, the authors reveal that new government regimes of entrepreneurial agency have placed overwhelming burdens on the city’s impoverished artisanal fishers to demonstrate that they are responsible producers and have created failures that can be used to justify closing these fishers’ traditional use areas and to deny their historically sanctioned rights. The result is a critical examination of how neoliberalized visions of nature and individual responsibility work to normalize the dispossessions that have enabled ongoing capital accumulation at the cost of growing social dislocations and ecological degradation.

The authors’ innovative approach to the politics of constructing and degrading coastal lives will interest a wide range of scholars in cultural anthropology, environmental humanities, and Latin American studies, as well as policymakers and anyone concerned with inequality, global food systems, and multispecies ecologies.

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A Southern Tradition from Seed to Table
Edward H. Davis and John T. Morgan
University of Alabama Press, 2015
Food is essential to southern culture, and collard greens play a central role in the South’s culinary traditions. A feast to the famished, a reward to the strong, and a comfort to the weary, collards have long been held dear in the food-loving southern heart. In Collards: A Southern Tradition from Seed to Table, Edward H. Davis and John T. Morgan provide this emblematic and beloved vegetable the full-length survey its fascinating and complex history merits.
The book begins with collards’ obscure origins. Like a good detective story, the search for collards’ home country leads the authors both to Europe and West Africa, where they unravel a tale as surprising and complex as that of southern people themselves. Crossing back over the Atlantic, the authors traverse miles of American back roads, from Arkansas to Florida and from Virginia to Louisiana. They vividly recount visits to homes, gardens, grocers, farms, and restaurants where the many varieties of collards are honored, from the familiar green collards to the yellow cabbage collard and rare purple cultivars.
In uncovering the secrets of growing collards, the authors locate prize-winning patches of the plant, interview “seed savers,” and provide useful tips for kitchen gardeners. They also describe how collards made the leap from kitchen garden staple to highly valued commercial crop.
Collards captures the tastes, smells, and prize-winning recipes from the South’s premier collards festivals. They find collards at the homes of farmers, jazz musicians, governors, and steel workers. Kin to cabbage and broccoli but superior to both in nutritional value, collard greens transcend human divisions of black and white, rich and poor, sophisticated and rustic, and urban and rural.
Food trends may come and go, but collards are a tradition that southerners return to again and again. Richly illustrated in color, Collards demonstrates the abiding centrality of this green leafy vegetable to the foodways of the American South. In it, readers will rediscover an old friend.

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The Contradictions of Neoliberal Agri-Food
Corporations, Resistance, and Disasters in Japan
Kae Sekine
West Virginia University Press, 2016
Employing original fieldwork, historical analysis, and sociological theory, Sekine and Bonanno probe how Japan’s food and agriculture sectors have been shaped by the global push toward privatization and corporate power, known in the social science literature as neoliberalism. They also examine related changes that have occurred after the triple disaster of March 2011 (the earthquake, tsunami, and meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor), noting that reconstruction policy has favored deregulation and the reduction of social welfare.
Sekine and Bonanno stress the incompatibility of the requirements of neoliberalism with the structural and cultural conditions of Japanese agri-food. Local farmers’ and fishermen’s emphasis on community collective management of natural resources, they argue, clashes with neoliberalism’s focus on individualism and competitiveness. The authors conclude by pointing out the resulting fundamental contradiction: The lack of recognition of this incompatibility allows the continuous implementation of market solutions to problems that originate in these very market mechanisms.

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Food Rhetorics and Social Production
Edited by Donovan Conley and Justin Eckstein
University of Alabama Press, 2020
The rhetoric of contemporary food production and consumption with a focus on social boundaries

The rhetoric of food is more than just words about food, and food is more than just edible matter. Cookery: Food Rhetorics and Social Production explores how food mediates both rhetorical influence and material life through the overlapping concepts of invention and production. The classical canon of rhetorical invention entails the process of discovering one’s persuasive appeals, whereas the contemporary landscape of agricultural production touches virtually everyone on the planet. Together, rhetoric and food shape the boundaries of shared living.
The essays in this volume probe the many ways that food informs contemporary social life through its mediation of bodies—human and extra-human alike—in the forms of intoxication, addiction, estrangement, identification, repulsion, and eroticism. Our bodies, in turn, shape the boundaries of food through research, technology, cultural trends, and, of course, by talking about it.
Each chapter explores food’s persuasive nature through a unique prism that includes intoxication, dirt, “food porn,” strange foods, and political “invisibility.” Each case offers new insights about the relations between rhetorical influence and embodied practice through food. As a whole Cookery articulates new ways of viewing food’s powers of persuasion, as well as the inherent role of persuasion in agricultural production.
The purpose of Cookery, then, is to demonstrate the deep rhetoricity of our modern industrial food system through critical examinations of concepts, practices, and tendencies endemic to this system. Food has become an essential topic for discussions concerned with the larger social dynamics of production, distribution, access, reception, consumption, influence, and the fraught question of choice. These questions about food and rhetoric are equally questions about the assumptions, values, and practices of contemporary public life.

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Cooperatives across Clusters
Lessons from the Cranberry Industry
Anil Hira
Oregon State University Press, 2024

Most agricultural production is of commodity or undifferentiated products. Producers suffer from a roller-coaster ride of price swings, over- or under-production, weather and pest threats, and the inability of family famers to capture anything beyond a small percentage of the final price.

Cooperatives Across Clusters provides lessons from the cranberry industry, a commodity product organized mostly into family farms in seven different clusters around North America. The industry is remarkable in that it's substantially organized around one large cooperative, Ocean Spray. The authors examine how the cooperative came to be, the challenges of coordination and industry leadership across the diverging clusters, and the lessons for cooperation for other agricultural industries.

The book provides a multi-layered contribution to agricultural economics. First, it examines location decisions and what factors supersede growing conditions to allow industries to arise around production. Second, it explores pathways available for farmers to try to overcome, through cooperative organization, the natural boom-bust cycles of commodity price swings. Third, it looks at how cooperative decisions are made, and the challenges of providing industry leadership, including research and development and collective marketing, through a cooperative that faces continual defections and new problems. Finally, through in-depth historical, statistical, and field research, it provides a comprehensive study of the cranberry industry and suggests ways farmers can grow the industry. Agricultural policymakers, farmers, industry specialists, and researchers of agriculture and clusters more generally will find this to be an important and informative new resource.


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Cooperatives, Grassroots Development, and Social Change
Experiences from Rural Latin America
Edited by Marcela Vásquez-León, Brian J. Burke, and Timothy J. Finan
University of Arizona Press

Cooperatives, Grassroots Development, and Social Change presents examples from Paraguay, Brazil, and Colombia, examining what is necessary for smallholder agricultural cooperatives to support holistic community-based development in peasant communities. Reporting on successes and failures of these cooperative efforts, the contributors offer analyses and strategies for supporting collective grassroots interests. Illustrating how poverty and inequality affect rural people, they reveal how cooperative organizations can support grassroots development strategies while negotiating local contexts of inequality amid the broader context of international markets and global competition.

The contributors explain the key desirable goals from cooperative efforts among smallholder producers. They are to provide access to more secure livelihoods, expand control over basic resources and commodity chains, improve quality of life in rural areas, support community infrastructure, and offer social spaces wherein small farmers can engage politically in transforming their own communities.

The stories in Cooperatives, Grassroots Development, and Social Change reveal immense opportunities and challenges. Although cooperatives have often been framed as alternatives to the global capitalist system, they are neither a panacea nor the hegemonic extension of neoliberal capitalism. Through one of the most thorough cross-country comparisons of cooperatives to date, this volume shows the unfiltered reality of cooperative development in highly stratified societies, with case studies selected specifically because they offer important lessons regarding struggles and strategies for adapting to a changing social, economic, and natural environment.


Luis Barros
Brian J. Burke
Charles Cox
Luis Alberto Cuéllar Gómez
Miguel Ricardo Dávila Ladrón de Guevara
Elisa Echagüe
Timothy J. Finan
Andrés González Aguilera
Sonia Carolina López Cerón
Joana Laura Marinho Nogueira
João Nicédio Alves Nogueira
Jessica Piekielek
María Isabel Ramírez Anaya
Rodrigo F. Rentería-Valencia
Lilliana Andrea Ruiz Marín
Marcela Vásquez-León


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Cultivating Livability
Food, Class, and the Urban Future in Bengaluru
Camille Frazier
University of Minnesota Press, 2024

What urban food networks reveal about middle class livability in times of transformation

In recent years, the concept of “livability” has captured the global imagination, influencing discussions about the implications of climate change on human life and inspiring rankings of “most livable cities” in popular publications. But what really makes for a livable life, and for whom?


Cultivating Livability takes Bengaluru, India, as a case study—a city that is alternately described as India’s most and least livable megacity, where rapid transformation is undergirded by inequalities evident in the food networks connecting peri-urban farmers and the middle-class public. Anthropologist Camille Frazier probes the meaning of “livability” in Bengaluru through ethnographic work among producers and consumers, corporate intermediaries and urban information technology professionals.


Examining the varying efforts to reconfigure processes of food production, distribution, retail, and consumption, she reveals how these intersections are often rooted in and exacerbate ongoing forms of disenfranchisement that privilege some lives at the expense of others.


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Cultures of Milk
The Biology and Meaning of Dairy Products in the United States and India
Andrea S. Wiley
Harvard University Press, 2014

Milk is the only food mammals produce naturally to feed their offspring. The human species is the only one that takes milk from other animals and consumes it beyond weaning age. Cultures of Milk contrasts the practices of the world’s two leading milk producers, India and the United States. In both countries, milk is considered to have special qualities. Drawing on ethnographic and scientific studies, popular media, and government reports, Andrea Wiley reveals that the cultural significance of milk goes well beyond its nutritive value.

Shifting socioeconomic and political factors influence how people perceive the importance of milk and how much they consume. In India, where milk is out of reach for many, consumption is rising rapidly among the urban middle class. But milk drinking is declining in America, despite the strength of the dairy industry. Milk is bound up in discussions of food scarcity in India and food abundance in the United States. Promotion of milk as a means to enhance child growth boosted consumption in twentieth-century America and is currently doing the same in India, where average height is low. Wiley considers how variation among populations in the ability to digest lactose and ideas about how milk affects digestion influence the type of milk and milk products consumed. In India, most milk comes from buffalo, but cows have sacred status for Hindus. In the United States, cow’s milk has long been a privileged food, but is now facing competition from plant-based milk.


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Custodians of the Land
Ecology and Culture in the History of Tanzania
Gregory H. Maddox
Ohio University Press, 1995

Farming and pastoral societies inhabit ever-changing environments. This relationship between environment and rural culture, politics and economy in Tanzania is the subject of this volume which will be valuable in reopening debates on Tanzanian history.

In his conclusion, Isaria N. Kimambo, a founding father of Tanzanian history, reflects on the efforts of successive historians to strike a balance between external causes of change and local initiative in their interpretations of Tanzanian history.

He shows that nationalist and Marxist historians of Tanzanian history, understandably preoccupied through the first quarter-century of the country's post-colonial history with the impact of imperialism and capitalism on East Africa, tended to overlook the initiatives taken by rural societies to transform themselves.

Yet there is good reason for historians to think about the causes of change and innovation in the rural communities of Tanzania, because farming and pastoral people have constantly changed as they adjusted to shifting environmental conditions.


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