Conversations With Food

Dorothy Chansky, Sarah W. Tracy (Eds.)

by Lauren Miller Griffith (Texas Tech University), Maya Hey (Concordia University), Adele Hite , Belinda Kleinhans (Texas Tech University), Audrey Lundahl (Texas Woman’s University), Patrick Midgley (Texas Tech University), Benjamin Poole (Texas Tech University), Roger Porter (Reed College), Jonathan Rees (Colorado State University – Pueblo), Jessica Romney (MacEwan University), Seth Tannenbaum (University of Central Oklahoma), Sarah W. Tracy (University of Oklahoma), Abby Wilkerson (George Washington University)

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"Conversations With Food" is an edited volume like no other. . . . [T]hese thirteen chapters comprise a choose-your-own-adventure for food studies, as the editors invite readers to mix and match chapters to tease out unexpected, synergistic connections. Authors, too, link their own chapters to others in the volume, providing multiple routes through the text. Such an arrangement illuminates the bonds between seemingly disparate phenomena. Readers can discover the relationships between hotdogs in Houston and the globalization of French cuisine, the role of race in Ancel Keys’s starvation experiments and U.S. permaculture, or how notions of impurity guide both the theorization of fermentation and early twentieth-century food manufacturing practices. . . . [T]his volume showcases food studies at its best, its most inclusive, and its most exciting: as a truly interdisciplinary home for conversations with and about food.

Emily J.H. Contois, University of Tulsa
Author of "Diners, Dudes, and Diets: How Gender and Power Collide in Food Media and Culture"

"Like a test kitchen for food studies scholarship, "Conversations With Food" invites readers to sample its eclectic offerings, to explore novel fusions of diverse scholarly perspectives, to mix and remix and become pleasantly overwhelmed by the seemingly endless variations on ‘food and . . . ’. This collection of essays from historians, epidemiologists, literary scholars, nutritionists, anthropologists, and others explores food and nutrition from microbial interactions to international politics, tackling contexts as diverse as ballpark franks, posthuman dietetics, culinary tourism, and voluntary starvation (for science). Readers new to food studies are sure to find morsels that whet their appetites, and scholars in the field will have plenty to sink their teeth into as well."

Andrew R. Ruis, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Author of "Eating to Learn, Learning to Eat: The Origins of School Lunch in the United States"

Sweeping in scope and diverse in approaches, the essays in this transhistorical, global, transdisciplinary collection vividly articulate the many, complex, and fascinating dimensions of food. Imaginative curation of essays renders "Conversations With Food" a standout among many recent food studies anthologies. . . . It is almost as if the reader is listening to lively exchanges among these scholars – about laboratories and ballparks, microbes and monoculture, heritage cuisine and single-serve packaging, or diplomatic feasts and food stamps – through which they discover unexpected relationships and resonances between seemingly disparate subjects.

Ann Folino White, Michigan State University
Author of "Plowed Under: Food Policy Protests and Performance in New Deal America";
Co-editor of "Food and Theatre on the World Stage"

"Conversations With Food" offers readers an array of essays revealing the power of food (and its absence) to transform relationships between the human and non-human realms; to define national, colonial, and postcolonial cultures; to help instantiate race, gender, and class relations; and to serve as the basis for policymaking. Food functions in these contexts as items in religious or secular law, as objects with which to bargain or over which to fight, as literary trope, and as a way to improve or harm health—individual or collective. The anthology ranges from Ancient Greece to the posthuman fairy underworld; from the codifying of French culinary heritage to the strategic marketing of 100-calorie snacks; from the European famine after the Second World War to the lush and exotic cuisines of culinary tourism today. “Conversations With Food” will engage anyone interested in discovering the disciplinary breadth and depth of food studies. The anthology is ideally suited for introductory and advanced courses in food studies, as it includes essays in a range of humanities and social science disciplines, and each author draws cross-disciplinary linkages between their own work and other essays in the volume. This thematic and conceptual intercalation, when read with the editors’ introduction, makes the collection an exceptionally strong representation of the field of food studies.

Anastacia Marx de Salcedo


Dorothy Chansky
Texas Tech University
Sarah W. Tracy
University of Oklahoma

Chapter 1
Starving for Science and Conscience: The Minnesota Experiment, Ancel Keys, and Religious Pacifism, 1944-46
Sarah W. Tracy
University of Oklahoma

Chapter 2
They Tried to Make Me Go to Rehab But I Said No, No, No: Single-Serve Packs and the Social Contract
Abby Wilkerson
George Washington University

Chapter 3
A Ballpark United by Food: Hot Dogs and Bridging the Gap Between the Skyboxes and the Cheap Seats at the Houston Astrodome
Seth S. Tannenbaum
Drexel University

Chapter 4
When Diplomacy Sours: The Failed Feast and Intergroup Relations in Ancient Greek Literature
Jessica Romney
MacEwan University

Chapter 5
Harvey Wiley and the Transformation of American Food Manufacturing
Jonathan Rees
Colorado State University – Pueblo

Chapter 6
The Inventory of Tradition: French Culinary Heritage in the Global Age
Benjamin Poole
Texas Tech University

Chapter 7
Food and The Skriker: Consumption and Corruption in Caryl Churchill’s Posthuman Fairy Underworld
Patrick Midgley
Texas Tech University

Chapter 8
US Permaculture and the Legacy of Colonizing Ideologies
Audrey Lundahl
Texas Woman’s University

Chapter 9
Of Eating and Being (Eaten): Identity, Power, and Food in Eich’s Radio Drama Der Tiger Jussuf
Belinda Kleinhans
Texas Tech University

Chapter 10
Food and “Trumpism”: How a Farm Crisis, Food Stamps, and Fat-free Diets Foreshadowed a Trump Victory
Adele Hite
Independent Scholar

Chapter 11
On Performative Food Acts and the Human-Microbe Relationship
Maya Hey
Concordia University

Chapter 12
Local but Not Traditional: Farm-to-Table Dining at a Belizean Resort
Lauren Miller Griffith
Texas Tech University

Chapter 13
Food Tourism: With Anthony Bourdain What You See is Never What You’ll Get
Roger Porter
Reed College



Dorothy Chansky is Professor of Theatre History, Theory, and Criticism in the School of Theatre and Dance at Texas Tech University. She is the author of “Composing Ourselves: The Little Theatre Movement and the American Audience”; “Kitchen Sink Realisms: Domestic Labor, Dining, and Drama in American Theatre”; and co-editor of “Food and Theatre on the World Stage.”

Sarah W. Tracy is Edith Kinney Gaylord Presidential Professor of the History of Medicine and Food Studies at the University of Oklahoma Honors College. She is author of “Alcoholism in America from Reconstruction to Prohibition” and co-editor of “Altering American Consciousness: The History of Alcohol and Drugs in the United States, 1800-2000.”

food studies; food tourism; American studies; history of science; history of medicine; ancient and classical history; food policy; cultural anthropology; diet; nutrition; disability studies; fat studies; sports history; culinary heritage; theatre studies; drama; science and technology studies; food politics; colonial and postcolonial studies