Food and Foodways

AHA Member Spotlight: Scott Alves Barton

Scott Alves Barton defended his dissertation, Feeding the Gods: Sacred Nagô Culinary Religious Culture in Northeastern Brazil, and was awarded his PhD in food studies from New York University in May 2016. Scott continues to maintain affiliation with NYU as an adjunct instructor, and is developing a collaborative multi-media project studying food and foodways as a locus of community development in the nascent days of the Black Arts Movement, second-wave African American Feminist Movement, and Civil Rights Movement in New York City.

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?

History, Economics, and Food: A Case for Interdisciplinary Education

By Rachel Snyder

Applying for college is stressful enough without having to pick a major. That is why after writing a personal statement, answering philosophical questions in less than 500 words, and providing character references, I wasn’t ready to click a box declaring my plan of study for the next four plus years. The decision seemed binding and final—I clicked “undecided.”

November 21, 2016

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.

The Politics of Pepper: Deciphering a Venetian-Mamluk Gift Exchange

At the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana in Venice, just a few feet from Piazza San Marco, where thousands of tourists come each day to pose for pictures and eat gelato, sits a manuscript—Codice Marciano It. XI, 66—containing an invaluable account of a crucial diplomatic mission to Egypt from the 16th century. I consulted this text, which holds the only surviving version of Giovanni Danese’s eyewitness report of Ambassador Benedetto Sanudo’s embassy to the sultan in 1503. Danese, Sanudo’s personal secretary, has left us a wealth of information on the materially based forms of diplomacy that helped maintain a stable relationship between Venetians and Mamluks in the early modern period.

The Aftertaste of Empire: Food and Decolonization

By Amanda Banacki Perry

“I’m not getting curry powder at all. Being a Brit, we eat a lot of curry, and I don’t taste it in this.” As I was watching Food Network’s Spring Baking Championship, this comment by Lorraine Pascale, one of the judges on the show, jumped out at me. Her comment, which drew on a legacy of presumed British culinary expertise concerning curry, carried a clear message: Brits know their curry.[1] And yet, the process by which curry became one of the most popular dishes in modern Britain is a complicated one of imperial appropriation, invention, and transformation.