September 16, 2014 at 7:15 pm

Food for Thought: Evolution of Southern Cuisine, Sept. 16

The Food for Thought Speakers Series presents Dr. Kristen Gremillion on “Multiethnic Communities and the Evolution of Southern Cuisine” on Tuesday, Sept 16, at 5 p.m. in Alden Friends of the Library Room 319.

Food studies logoRefreshments will be served following Gremillion’s talk.

Gremillion is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Ohio State University. She is an archaeologist and paleoethnobotanist who studies the evolution of human diet and subsistence practices in ecological context. Her current research involves the origins of plant cultivation in the mountains of eastern Kentucky.

Food for Thought is sponsored by the Food Studies curricular theme.

Abstract: The southeastern United States during the centuries following 1492 was a natural laboratory of social interaction among diverse and sharply defined ethnic groups. Although social inequality created barriers to communication, in some ways it also facilitated the exchange of recipes, plants and animals, foods, and techniques in ways that ultimately yielded regionally distinctive fusion cuisines. This situation characterizes the urban colonies along the Gulf Coast, such as New Olreans. In these cosmopolitan and multiethnic communities, Native Americans, enslaved Africans, free people of color, and Creoles of European descent lived in close proximity. In contrast, Native communities of the interior Southeast experienced a lengthy period of indirect contact through trade that kept novel foods largely isolated from their original cultural context. In these upland areas, food traditions changed in more subtle ways until Euro-American homesteaders arrived.

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