Reason for this blog

Hi! Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog. I’d like to spend a few minutes letting you know why it is that I decided that blogging about food might be something that I would actually want to do. First and foremost I think it is because I am very passionate about food and about what is behind food, in terms of it’s production for the marketplace, but also larger issues and messages, such as how identity and history are tied into the foods that we eat. In fact, I’m hoping to explore more deeply these themes of identity and belonging in relation to food in my dissertation on the colonial cuisine of Philadelphia (1750-1850), which I am in the process of researching right now.

One of the things that interests me most about food is how people express their identities (both group and individual) through the foods that they eat. For example, Thanksgiving as an expression of American identity celebrated in households across the nation each year. But then there are individual interpretations of this larger holiday celebration which make the preparation and consumption of food a more personal experience. What messages are being sent and received throughout the course of the meals that we eat? Our identities are such complex things, and I believe that some of this complexity is played out at mealtimes. It is an interest of mine to more deeply explore how to probe these links between food and identity and to try to figure out ways in which to perhaps make people more aware of this perspective as food becomes an increasingly hot topic in public interest today.

All of that sounds very academic, and it is the more theoretical side of my interest in food and foodways (all of the habits that surround the preparation, comsumption, and discard of food), but this is just the surface of what drives me to be interested in food as a topic or as an area of research. For one thing, I think it’s a subject upon which anyone can speak with authority. Everyone has food experiences of their own that are worth sharing and exploring. I am always interested in finding out more about what people like to eat and their food traditions. If nothing else, it is a good way to start a conversation with someone. But more than that, it can be a window into the person themselves. I have often found that people are more willing to share details about their culinary experiences than they are about other aspects of their lives, perhaps thinking that these are more removed from their person, yet I find them to often be the most revealing ones.

But connections through food are not made only through hearing and talking about food, but many times more concretely through the actual sharing of food itself. Food is a way of making and reaffirming your connections with the people in your life. We all know that sharing experiences builds connections and sharing food feeds mind, body, and soul. Meals are more memorable when they are shared. The very same meal can taste different depending on who you eat it with and what the circumstances are.

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