front cover of Race and Repast
Race and Repast
Foodscapes in Twentieth-Century Southern Literature
Urszula Niewiadomska-Flis
University of Arkansas Press, 2022
Race and Repast: Foodscapes in Twentieth-Century Southern Literature examines the literary foodscapes of the American South—from Jim Crow–era kitchens where White and Black Southerners reacted against racial mores, to the public dining spaces where Southerners probed the limits of racial identity, to the lunch counters that became touchstones of the Black Freedom movement. Mining literary texts by iconic authors like Ernest Gaines and Walker Percy to demonstrate that “food reflects and refracts power,” Urszula Niewiadomska-Flis wields food studies as a revelatory lens through which to view a radically segregated society that was often on the cusp of violence. Niewiadomska-Flis also provides a rich and succinct introduction to scholarship in Southern studies and food studies, making Race and Repast a compelling read that offers countless insights to experts as well as readers exploring these areas of research for the first time.
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Reimagining Marginalized Foods
Global Processes, Local Places
Edited by Elizabeth Finnis
University of Arizona Press, 2012

With globalization has come an increased focus on food—where it comes from, how it is transported, who eats it, and what cultural significance it has. This volume brings together ethnographically based anthropological analyses of shifting meanings and representations associated with the foods, ingredients, and cooking practices of marginalized and/or indigenous cultures. Contributors are particularly interested in how these foods intersect with politics, nationhood and governance, identity, authenticity, and conservation.

The chapters cover diverse locales, issues, and foods: the cultural meanings of sinonggi, a thick sago porridge from Sulawesi, Indonesia; the significance of pom, a Surinam dish popular in the Netherlands; the transformation of alpaca meat in Peru; the impact of culinary tourism on indigenous cuisine in Mexico; the re-presenting of minor millets in South India; and the development of cheeses in the Italian Alps. A conceptual essay on food and social boundaries rounds out the collection.

Throughout, the contributors address important questions, including: How are traditional foods “repackaged” in the process of mainstreaming access? What does this repackaging mean for the ways local or indigenous peoples view their traditional food practices? How are local cuisines mobilized in movements to create national images and identities? What tensions emerge between new representations of foods and local cultural meanings?

Together the contributors provide a thoughtful inquiry into what happens when food and culinary practices are moved from the cultural or physical margins, and how such movements can be shaped by—and employed in the pursuit of—political, social, and cultural goals.

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Reinventing Food Banks and Pantries
New Tools to End Hunger
Katie S. Martin
Island Press, 2021
In the US, there is a wide-ranging network of at least 370 food banks, and more than 60,000 hunger-relief organizations such as food pantries and meal programs. These groups provide billions of meals a year to people in need. And yet hunger still affects one in nine Americans. What are we doing wrong?

In Reinventing Food Banks and Pantries, Katie Martin argues that if handing out more and more food was the answer, we would have solved the problem of hunger decades ago. Martin instead presents a new model for charitable food, one where success is measured not by pounds of food distributed but by lives changed. The key is to focus on the root causes of hunger. When we shift our attention to strategies that build empathy, equity, and political will, we can implement real solutions. 

Martin shares those solutions in a warm, engaging style, with simple steps that anyone working or volunteering at a food bank or pantry can take today. Some are short-term strategies to create a more dignified experience for food pantry clients: providing client choice, where individuals select their own food, or redesigning a waiting room with better seating and a designated greeter. Some are longer-term: increasing the supply of healthy food, offering job training programs, or connecting clients to other social services. And some are big picture: joining the fight for living wages and a stronger social safety net.

These strategies are illustrated through inspiring success stories and backed up by scientific research. Throughout, readers will find a wealth of proven ideas to make their charitable food organizations more empathetic and more effective. As Martin writes, it takes more than food to end hunger. Picking up this insightful, lively book is a great first step.
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Republic of Barbecue
Stories Beyond the Brisket
By Elizabeth S. D. Engelhardt
University of Texas Press, 2009

Winner, Barbara Sudler Award, Colorado Historical Society, 2010

It's no overstatement to say that the state of Texas is a republic of barbecue. Whether it's brisket, sausage, ribs, or chicken, barbecue feeds friends while they catch up, soothes tensions at political events, fuels community festivals, sustains workers of all classes, celebrates brides and grooms, and even supports churches. Recognizing just how central barbecue is to Texas's cultural life, Elizabeth Engelhardt and a team of eleven graduate students from the University of Texas at Austin set out to discover and describe what barbecue has meant to Texans ever since they first smoked a beef brisket.

Republic of Barbecue presents a fascinating, multifaceted portrait of the world of barbecue in Central Texas. The authors look at everything from legendary barbecue joints in places such as Taylor and Lockhart to feedlots, ultra-modern sausage factories, and sustainable forests growing hardwoods for barbecue pits. They talk to pit masters and proprietors, who share the secrets of barbecue in their own words. Like side dishes to the first-person stories, short essays by the authors explore a myriad of barbecue's themes—food history, manliness and meat, technology, nostalgia, civil rights, small-town Texas identity, barbecue's connection to music, favorite drinks such as Big Red, Dr. Pepper, Shiner Bock, and Lone Star beer—to mention only a few. An ode to Texas barbecue in films, a celebration of sports and barbecue, and a pie chart of the desserts that accompany brisket all find homes in the sidebars of the book, while photographic portraits of people and places bring readers face-to-face with the culture of barbecue.

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A Rich and Tantalizing Brew
A History of How Coffee Connected the World
Jeanette M. Fregulia
University of Arkansas Press, 2019

The history of coffee is much more than the tale of one luxury good—it is a lens through which to consider various strands of world history, from food and foodways to religion and economics and sociocultural dynamics.

A Rich and Tantalizing Brew traces the history of coffee from its cultivation and brewing first as a private pleasure in the highlands of Ethiopia and Yemen through its emergence as a sought-after public commodity served in coffeehouses first in the Muslim world, and then traveling across the Mediterranean to Italy, to other parts of Europe, and finally to India and the Americas. At each of these stops the brew gathered ardent aficionados and vocal critics, all the while reshaping patterns of socialization.

Taking its conversational tone from the chats often held over a steaming cup, A Rich and Tantalizing Brew offers a critical and entertaining look at how this bitter beverage, with a little help from the tastes that traveled with it—chocolate, tea, and sugar—has connected people to each other both within and outside of their typical circles, inspiring a new context for sharing news, conducting business affairs, and even plotting revolution.

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Ridge Stories
Herding Hens, Powdering Pigs, and Other Recollections from a Boyhood in the Driftless
Gary Jones
Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2019
Straight talk from up on the farm

Raised on a small dairy farm in the Driftless Area in the mid-twentieth century, Gary Jones gets real about his rural roots. In this collection of interrelated stories, Jones writes with plainspoken warmth and irreverence about farm, family, and folks on the ridge. Readers will meet Gramp Jones, whose oversized overalls saved him from losing a chunk of flesh to an irate sow; the young one-room-school teacher who helped the kids make sled jumps at recess; Charlotte, the lawn-mowing sheep who once ended up in the living room; Victor the pig-cutter, who learned his trade from folk tradition rather than vet school; and other colorful characters of the ridge. Often humorous and occasionally touching, Jones’s essays paint a vivid picture that will entertain city and country folk alike. 
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Rooted Resistance
Agrarian Myth in Modern America
Norie R. Singer
University of Arkansas Press, 2020
From farm-to-table restaurants and farmers markets, to support for fair trade and food sovereignty, movements for food-system change hold the promise for deeper transformations. Yet Americans continue to live the paradox of caring passionately about healthy eating while demanding the convenience of fast food. Rooted Resistance explores this fraught but promising food scene. More than a retelling of the origin story of a democracy born from an intimate connection with the land, this book wagers that socially responsible agrarian mythmaking should be a vital part of a food ethic of resistance if we are to rectify the destructive tendencies in our contemporary food system.

Through a careful examination of several case studies, Rooted Resistance traverses the ground of agrarian myth in modern America. The authors investigate key figures and movements in the history of modern agrarianism, including the World War I victory garden efforts, the postwar Country Life movement for the vindication of farmers’ rights, the Southern Agrarian critique of industrialism, and the practical and spiritual prophecy of organic farming put forth by J. I. Rodale. This critical history is then brought up to date with recent examples such as the contested South Central Farm in urban Los Angeles and the spectacular rise and fall of the Chipotle “Food with Integrity” branding campaign.

By examining a range of case studies, Singer, Grey, and Motter aim for a deeper critical understanding of the many applications of agrarian myth and reveal why it can help provide a pathway for positive systemic change in the food system.
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Roots and Resilience
California Ranchers in their Own Words
Susan Edinger Marshall
University of Nevada Press, 2024
In Roots and Resilience, the authors invite readers to consider an intimate relationship with the California landscape and its history. Ranching in the region goes back centuries, and many of these essayists have long family lineages in the area, while other contributors are newer to the region. Through their authentic voices, these writers provide a lens through which we can better understand the language of this landscape.

The editors have drawn together these stories, poems, and musings from ranchers across the state, calling upon real people to share their experiences, and beckoning readers to find a shared understanding concerning often divisive land-use topics. Many perspectives are considered, including those of transplanted suburbanites to seventh-generation heirs. Notably, many women’s writings are including in the book, offering unique and valuable perspectives on ranching culture.

Roots and Resilience gives voice to California’s Indigenous, Mexican American, Basque and other European American ranchers, asking the reader to find common ground in the name of land stewardship and conservation.
 
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Row by Row
Talking with Kentucky Gardeners
Katherine J. Black
Ohio University Press, 2015

For two and a half years, Katherine J. Black crisscrossed Kentucky, interviewing home vegetable gardeners from a rich variety of backgrounds. Row by Row: Talking with Kentucky Gardeners is the result, a powerful compilation of testimonies on the connections between land, people, culture, and home.

The people profiled here share a Kentucky backdrop, but their life stories, as well as their gardens, have as many colors, shapes, and tastes as heirloom tomatoes do. Black interviewed those who grow in city backyards, who carve out gardens from farmland, and who have sprawling plots in creek bottoms and former pastures. Many of the gardeners in Row by Row speak eloquently about our industrialized food system’s injuries to the land, water, and health of people. But more often they talk about what they are doing in their gardens to reverse this course.

Row by Row is as sure to appeal to historians, food studies scholars, and sustainability advocates as it is to gardeners and local food enthusiasts. These eloquent portraits, drawn from oral histories and supplemented by Deirdre Scaggs’ color photographs, form a meditation on how gardeners make sense of their lives through what they grow and how they grow it.

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Rows of Memory
Journeys of a Migrant Sugar-Beet Worker
Saul Sanchez
University of Iowa Press, 2014
Every year from April to October, the Sánchez family traveled—crowded in the back of trucks, camping in converted barns, tending and harvesting crops across the breadth of the United States. Although hoeing sugar beets with a short hoe was their specialty, they also picked oranges in California, apples in Washington, cucumbers in Michigan, onions and potatoes in Wisconsin, and tomatoes in Iowa. Winters they returned home to the Winter Garden region of South Texas. In 1951, Saúl Sánchez began to contribute to his family’s survival by helping to weed onions in Wind Lake, Wisconsin. He was eight years old.

Rows of Memory tells his story and the story of his family and other migrant farm laborers like them, people who endured dangerous, dirty conditions and low pay, surviving because they took care of each other. Facing racism both on the road and at home, they lived a largely segregated life only occasionally breached by friendly employers.

Despite starting school late and leaving early every year and having to learn English on the fly, young Saúl succeeded academically. At the same time that Mexican Americans in South Texas upended the Anglo-dominated social order by voting their own leaders into local government, he upended his family’s order by deciding to go to college. Like many migrant children, he knew that his decision to pursue an education meant he would no longer be able to help feed and clothe the rest of his family. Nevertheless, with his parents’ support, he went to college, graduating in 1967 and, after a final display of his skill with a short hoe for his new friends, abandoned migrant labor for teaching.

In looking back at his youth, Sánchez invites us to appreciate the largely unrecognized and poorly rewarded strength and skill of the laborers who harvest the fruits and vegetables we eat. A first-person portrait of life on the bottom rung of the food system, this coming-of-age tale illuminates both the history of Latinos in the United States and the human consequences of industrial agriculture.
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Rural-Urban Migration and Agro-Technological Change in Post-Reform China
Lena Kaufmann
Amsterdam University Press, 2021
How do rural Chinese households deal with the conflicting pressures of migrating into cities to work as well as staying at home to preserve their fields? This is particularly challenging for rice farmers, because paddy fields have to be cultivated continuously to retain their soil quality and value. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork and written sources, Rural-Urban Migration and Agro-Technological Change in Post-Reform China describes farming households' strategic solutions to this predicament. It shows how, in light of rural-urban migration and agro-technological change, they manage to sustain both migration and farming. It innovatively conceives rural households as part of a larger farming community of practice that spans both staying and migrating household members and their material world. Focusing on one exemplary resource - paddy fields - it argues that socio-technical resources are key factors in understanding migration flows and migrant-home relations. Overall, this book provides rare insights into the rural side of migration and farmers' knowledge and agency.
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