Cooking Matters: Questions for the Next Generation
Historical archaeologists have long recognized food as an important topic of study, but our questions have remained simple, with only fragmented links to discourse on gender and social dynamics. Elizabeth Scott (1999) used cookbooks to question assumptions about consumer choice and status based on material typologies, but the potential application of cookbooks, or food, to questions about family, households, and community was largely unexplored. Today, cookbooks and recipes are treated as complex documents by scholars in many disciplines, producing highly nuanced studies of social, economic, and cultural aspects of food consumption. While archaeological research on food-related material culture contributes to this dialogue, it is time we address a new set of questions about the cultural significance of food production and consumption, including the processes through which recipes were created and exchanged, and the role of cookbooks and recipes in promoting gendered, ethnic, regional, and national identities.
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Cooking Matters: Questions for the Next Generation. Karen Metheny, Anne Yentsch. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 437192)