Food and Foodways

Baguettes and Roses: An Interview with Alice Waters, Food Revolutionary

The National Endowment for the Humanities celebrated its 50th anniversary last September with a conference in Charlottesville, Virginia: Human/Ties. Asking what it means to be human, the events ranged over several themes, including democracy, race, and warfare. Under sunny skies and starry nights, the events (all free and open to the public) allowed luminaries from the humanities, all supported in some way by the NEH, to exchange ideas with new and old supporters of the humanities.

The Muddled History of the Denver Omelet

By Rick Halpern

The Denver omelet is a near ubiquitous offering on diner and greasy spoon menus across the country, but what is the home city’s spin on this American perennial? And what can the culinary history of this dish tell us about the social history of the frontier West? Why not take advantage of a few days in Denver for the 2017 AHA annual meeting to explore these questions?

Election Cake: A Forgotten Democratic Tradition

By Maia Surdam

Most Americans today do not think about cake when considering this year’s election. But perhaps we should. Had we been colonists in New England or denizens of the new republic, cake would likely have been on our minds and in our bodies during election season. At our present moment, when political tensions run high and many Americans wait eagerly for the arrival of November 9, one might wonder why it’s worth thinking about cake and politics.

Thanks, Prohibition! How the Eighteenth Amendment Fueled America’s Taste for Ice Cream

This past May, my classmates and I were discussing the latest fad in summer indulgences: wine ice cream. Ice cream and alcohol have been commonly paired in the past as a trendy treat, and wine ice cream is just the most recent innovation of the classic American dessert. In addition to being tasty, however, wine ice cream is perhaps the culmination of a coupling that has deep roots in history. In fact, it is clear that America’s favorite dessert—ice cream—must thank Prohibition for its variety and lasting popularity.

How WWI History Changed My Views about Peanut Butter

I hate peanut butter. As a kid, I wouldn’t touch a PB‘n’J, PB & banana, or PB & anything sandwich. The legume spread had no redeeming traits, I thought, until historical research in American World War I cookbooks broadened my mind.

Food is central to the history of American involvement in World War I. The war disrupted Europeans’ ability to import, produce, and distribute food. Well before the United States entered the war in 1917, Americans were providing humanitarian assistance, including food aid, to European civilians, who would have gone hungry without assistance.

November 19, 2014