The sixteen essays in The Larder argue that the study
of food does not simply help us understand more about what we eat
and the foodways we embrace. The methods and strategies herein help
scholars use food and foodways as lenses to examine human
experience. The resulting conversations provoke a deeper
understanding of our overlapping, historically situated, and
evolving cultures and societies.
The Larder presents some of the most influential scholars
in the discipline today, from established authorities such as
Psyche Williams-Forson to emerging thinkers such as Rien T. Fertel,
writing on subjects as varied as hunting, farming, and marketing,
as well as examining restaurants, iconic dishes, and
Editors John T. Edge, Elizabeth Engelhardt, and Ted Ownby bring
together essays that demonstrate that food studies scholarship, as
practiced in the American South, sets methodological standards for
the discipline. The essayists ask questions about gender, race, and
ethnicity as they explore issues of identity and authenticity. And
they offer new ways to think about material culture, technology,
and the business of food.
The Larder is not driven by nostalgia. Reading such a
collection of essays may not encourage food metaphors. "It's not a
feast, not a gumbo, certainly not a home-cooked meal," Ted Ownby
argues in his closing essay. Instead, it's a healthy step in the
right direction, taken by the leading scholars in the field.
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