Asian American Food Culture by Alice L. McLeanCovering topics ranging from the establishment of the Gulf Coast shrimping industry in 1800s to the Korean taco truck craze in the present day, this book explores the widespread contributions of Asian Americans to U.S. food culture. Since the late 18th century, Asian immigrants to the United States have brought their influences to bear on American culture, yielding a rich, varied, and nuanced culinary landscape. The past 50 years have seen these contributions significantly amplified, with the rise of globalization considerably blurring the boundaries between East and West, giving rise to fusion foods and transnational ingredients and cooking techniques. The Asian American population grew from under 1 million in 1960 to an estimated 19.4 million in 2013. Three-quarters of the Asian American population in 2012 was foreign-born, a trend that ensures that Asian cuisines will continue to invigorate and enrich the United States food culture. This work focuses on the historical trajectory that led to this remarkable point in Asian American food culture. In particular, it charts the rise of Asian American food culture in the United States, beginning with the nation's first Chinese "chow chows" and ending with the successful campaign of Indochina war refugees to overturn the Texas legislation that banned the cultivation of water spinach--a staple vegetable in their traditional diet. The book focuses in particular on the five largest immigrant groups from East and Southeast Asia--those of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, and Vietnamese descent. Students and food enthusiasts alike now have a substantial resource to turn to besides ethnic cookbooks to learn how the cooking and food culture of these groups have altered and been integrated into the United States foodscape. The work begins with a chronology that highlights Asian immigration patterns and government legislation as well as major culinary developments. The book's seven chapters provide an historical overview of Asian immigration and the development of Asian American food culture; detail the major ingredients of the traditional Asian diet that are now found in the United States; introduce Asian cooking philosophies, techniques, and equipment as well as trace the history of Asian American cookbooks; and outline the basic structure and content of traditional Asian American meals. Author Alice L. McLean's book also details the rise of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, and Vietnamese restaurants in the United States and discusses the contemporary dining options found in ethnic enclaves; introduces celebratory dining, providing an overview of typical festive foods eaten on key occasions; and explores the use of food as medicine among Asian Americans. Describes Chinese American, Japanese American, Korean American, Filipino American, and Vietnamese American food cultures Introduces many of the major contributions Asian Americans have made to the American culinary landscape through a historical overview of Asian immigration to the United States and an examination of the rise of Asian-owned restaurants, markets, groceries, and packaged food companies Details the cooking techniques, ingredients, dishes, and styles of dining that Asian Americans have introduced to the United States Supplies a chronology, resource guide, selected bibliography, and illustrations to complement the text
Publication Date: 2015-04-28
Black Hunger: Food and the Politics of U.S. Identity by Doris WittThe creation of the Aunt Jemima trademark from an 1889 vaudeville performance of a play called "The Emigrant" helped codify a pervasive connection between African American women and food. In Black Hunger, Doris Witt demonstrates how this connection has operated as a central structuring dynamicof twentieth-century U.S. psychic, cultural, sociopolitical, and economic life.Taking as her focus the tumultuous era of the late 1960s and early 1970s, when soul food emerged as a pivotal emblem of white radical chic and black bourgeois authenticity, Witt explores how this interracial celebration of previously stigmatized foods such as chitterlings and watermelon was linkedto the contemporaneous vilification of black women as slave mothers. By positioning African American women at the nexus of debates over domestic servants, black culinary history, and white female body politics, Black Hunger demonstrates why the ongoing narrative of white fascination with blacknessdemands increased attention to the internal dynamics of sexuality, gender, class, and religion in African American culture.Witt draws on recent work in social history and cultural studies to argue for food as an interpretive paradigm which can challenge the privileging of music in scholarship on African American culture, destabilize constrictive disciplinary boundaries in the academy, and enhance our understanding ofhow individual and collective identities are established.
Publication Date: 1999-03-04
Discriminating Taste: How Class Anxiety Created the American Food Revolution by S. Margot FinnWinner of the 2018 First Book Prize from the Association for the Study of Food and Society For the past four decades, increasing numbers of Americans have started paying greater attention to the food they eat, buying organic vegetables, drinking fine wines, and seeking out exotic cuisines. Yet they are often equally passionate about the items they refuse to eat: processed foods, generic brands, high-carb meals. While they may care deeply about issues like nutrition and sustainable agriculture, these discriminating diners also seek to differentiate themselves from the unrefined eater, the common person who lives on junk food. Discriminating Taste argues that the rise of gourmet, ethnic, diet, and organic foods must be understood in tandem with the ever-widening income inequality gap. Offering an illuminating historical perspective on our current food trends, S. Margot Finn draws numerous parallels with the Gilded Age of the late nineteenth century, an era infamous for its class divisions, when gourmet dinners, international cuisines, slimming diets, and pure foods first became fads. Examining a diverse set of cultural touchstones ranging from Ratatouille to The Biggest Loser, Finn identifies the key ways that "good food" has become conflated with high status. She also considers how these taste hierarchies serve as a distraction, leading middle-class professionals to focus on small acts of glamorous and virtuous consumption while ignoring their class's larger economic stagnation. A provocative look at the ideology of contemporary food culture, Discriminating Taste teaches us to question the maxim that you are what you eat.
Publication Date: 2017-04-24
Eating While Black: Food Shaming and Race in America by Psyche A. Williams-ForsonPsyche A. Williams-Forson is one of our leading thinkers about food in America. In Eating While Black, she offers her knowledge and experience to illuminate how anti-Black racism operates in the practice and culture of eating. She shows how mass media, nutrition science, economics, and public policy drive entrenched opinions among both Black and non-Black Americans about what is healthful and right to eat. Distorted views of how and what Black people eat are pervasive, bolstering the belief that they must be corrected and regulated. What is at stake is nothing less than whether Americans can learn to embrace nonracist understandings and practices in relation to food. Sustainable culture--what keeps a community alive and thriving--is essential to Black peoples' fight for access and equity, and food is central to this fight. Starkly exposing the rampant shaming and policing around how Black people eat, Williams-Forson contemplates food's role in cultural transmission, belonging, homemaking, and survival. Black people's relationships to food have historically been connected to extreme forms of control and scarcity--as well as to stunning creativity and ingenuity. In advancing dialogue about eating and race, this book urges us to think and talk about food in new ways in order to improve American society on both personal and structural levels.
Publication Date: 2022-08-16
Fed Up: Women and Food in America by Catherine MantonCombining feminist anthropology and theory with culinary history, Catherine Manton examines the place of food in women's history, with a particular emphasis on the life and changing roles of the American woman and her self-image. As Professor Manton makes clear the so-called epidemic of eating disorders at the turn of the twentieth century really is no accident; specific cultural/economic/political conditions make disturbed eating practically inevitable for many American women. At the same time, Manton suggests ways women with eating disturbances can heal themselves through feminist and alternative healing principles. Must reading for students and scholars of American social history, Women's Studies, and ecofeminism.
Publication Date: 1999-03-30
Getting What We Need Ourselves: How Food has Shaped African American Life by Jennifer Jensen WallachBeginning with an examination of West African food traditions during the era of the transatlantic slave trade and ending with a discussion of black vegan activism in the twenty-first century, Getting What We Need Ourselves: How Food Has Shaped African American Life tells a multi-faceted food story that goes beyond the well-known narrative of southern-derived "soul food" as the predominant form of black food expression. While this book considers the provenance and ongoing cultural resonance of emblematic foods such as greens and cornbread, it also examines the experiences of African Americans who never embraced such foods or who rejected them in search of new tastes and new symbols that were less directly tied to the past of plantation slavery. This book tells the story of generations of cooks and eaters who worked to create food habits that they variously considered sophisticated, economical, distinctly black, all-American, ethical, and healthful in the name of benefiting the black community. Significantly, it also chronicles the enduring struggle of impoverished eaters who worried far more about having enough to eat than about what particular food filled their plates. Finally, it considers the experiences of culinary laborers, whether enslaved, poorly paid domestic servants, tireless entrepreneurs, or food activists and intellectuals who used their knowledge and skills to feed and educate others, making a lasting imprint on American food culture in the process. Throughout African American history, food has both been used as a tool of empowerment and wielded as a weapon. Beginning during the era of slavery, African American food habits have often served as a powerful means of cementing the bonds of community through the creation of celebratory and affirming shared rituals. However, the system of white supremacy has frequently used food, or often the lack of it, as a means to attempt to control or subdue the black community. This study demonstrates that African American eaters who have worked to creative positive representations of black food practices have simultaneously had to confront an elaborate racist mythology about black culinary inferiority and difference. Keeping these tensions in mind, empty plates are as much a part of the history this book sets out to narrate as full ones, and positive characterizations of black foodways are consistently put into dialogue with distorted representations created by outsiders. Together these stories reveal a rich and complicated food history that defies simple stereotypes and generalizations.
Publication Date: 2019-06-01
Sameness in Diversity by Laresh JayasankerAmericans of the 1960s would have trouble navigating the grocery aisles and restaurant menus of today. Once-exotic ingredients--like mangoes, hot sauces, kale, kimchi, and coconut milk--have become standard in the contemporary American diet. Laresh Jayasanker explains how food choices have expanded since the 1960s: immigrants have created demand for produce and other foods from their homelands; grocers and food processors have sought to market new foods; and transportation improvements have enabled food companies to bring those foods from afar. Yet, even as choices within stores have exploded, supermarket chains have consolidated. Throughout the food industry, fewer companies manage production and distribution, controlling what American consumers can access. Mining a wealth of menus, cookbooks, trade publications, interviews, and company records, Jayasanker explores Americans' changing eating habits to shed light on the impact of immigration and globalization on American culture.
Publication Date: 2020-04-14
A Taste of Power: Food and American Identities by Katharina VesterSince the founding of the United States, culinary texts and practices have played a crucial role in the making of cultural identities and social hierarchies. A Taste of Power examines culinary writing and practices as forces for the production of social order and, at the same time, points of cultural resistance. Culinary writing has helped shape dominant ideas of nationalism, gender, and sexuality, suggesting that eating right is a gateway to becoming an American, a good citizen, an ideal man, or a perfect wife and mother. In this brilliant interdisciplinary work, Katharina Vester examines how cookbooks became a way for women to participate in nation-building before they had access to the vote or public office, for Americans to distinguish themselves from Europeans, for middle-class authors to assert their class privileges, for men to claim superiority over women in the kitchen, and for lesbian authors to insert themselves into the heteronormative economy of culinary culture. A Taste of Power engages in close reading of a wide variety of sources and genres to uncover the intersections of food, politics, and privilege in American culture.