African American Foodways: Exploration of History & Culture

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African American Foodways: Exploration of History & Culture Anne L. Bower, Editor (2007) Published by the University of Illinois Press, Urbana and Chicago (2007). $35

African American Foodways: Exploration of History & Culture is a must read for anyone interested in the influence of history and culture on how foods are produced, collected, stored, prepared, and consumed. It is an excellent resource for those interested in food and its connection to identity and will be an absolute delight for anyone who may have thought the term "soul food" was inclusive of the many meanings attached to food by African Americans and others. The reader finds a more contextualized meaning of the development of foodways by one group of Americans. But this book does not leave you there: you will learn that a study of the foodways of all people is a worthwhile undertaking.

Without a doubt, African American Foodways is a perfect example of the strength of multidisciplinary approaches in the examination of perennial issues that affect individuals and families. One strength is the examination of foodways across practice areas, disciplines, and specializations. Another is its clear implication for context learning as well as teaching. This volume reinforces for the family and consumer sciences profession the significance of meanings that people attach to acts of daily living as well as the influence of larger environments on families and their well-being.

This exploration of African American foodways is comprehensive and the information is well documented with interesting footnotes. African American foodways are explained from not only the perspective of diverse agricultural origins, but also from the context of creative adaptation and innovation. Africans transported to America held onto their culinary past, yet they adapted their foodways to meet new environments; they adapted both European and Native American foods and cooking methods to their African customs. …