Introduction to Food Studies Summary

Emma Fleeharty

Food studies is a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary field; food studies scholars are sociologists, anthropologists, historians, and so much more. The blending of different backgrounds is what makes it such a rich and interesting field because there are diverse approaches to gathering research and conducting interviews. Although it is often delegitimized as an academic field, food studies is valid and important both to complement other fields but also as its own field of study. Talking about food is also a way to bring people together and allow them to open up and share personal experiences about themselves.

The study of food can reveal very interesting findings about society. One example from the reading is the excerpt about childhood memories of Mexicano adults who grew up eating school lunches in American cafeterias. In this instance, learning about food also meant learning about belonging and assimilation. Another fun example is the 1834 Delmonico menu (although the author argues it is from the late 1880s). This primary source is used to learn about old food recipes, restaurant experiences, and food prices pre-inflation. Both examples show how studying food has immense academic value beyond that of the actual food itself.

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