This work employs visual ethnography to document a day in the life of a restaurant chef de cuisine, by examining the experience of a culinary practitioner rather than that of a consumer. The research is concerned with situations that may arise when a professional cooks on the spur of the moment, or “improvises,” when creating a new dish.
In this ethnographic account — a blind dining restaurant, where visually impaired people lead sighted patrons into pitch-black dining rooms and then serve as their waiters — becomes the field site for a “sensory apprenticeship,” an experiential approach to accessing sensorial, embodied, and affective ways of knowing that otherwise elude visual observation.
Andrea S. Wiley explores the material and cultural characteristics of milk in the United States and India, illuminating how each country’s distinctive political, economic, religious, and historic context produces divergent meanings attached to dairy.
In High on the Hog, Jessica B. Harris constructs an elegant narrative history that connects the culinary experiences of the African and American continents to show how African Americans shaped the country around them.
Pure and Modern Milk: An Environmental History since 1900 is a cogent study of dairy production from the turn of the twentieth century to the present.
At a time when modern society is said to have left the kitchen for the couch, David Sutton’s latest book, Secrets from the Greek Kitchen, brings welcome empirical and theoretical depth previously lacking from the home cooking discourse.
Perhaps what each piece in this edited volume does best is identify, through ethnographic and archival research, what underlies, is experienced, or is even erased by use of the words “country” and “city” in conceptualizing foodways.
Andrew F. Smith’s Drinking History: Fifteen Turning Points in the Making of American Beverages demonstrates how America’s diverse and shifting beverage tastes intersect histories of politics, economics, social movements, and global influences.
Abigail Carroll’s Three Squares: The Invention of the American Meal traces the evolution of the American meal from the colonial era to the present.