We are what we eat.
What we eat makes us who we are.
We make ourselves through what we eat.
The food we make, makes us.
Food is central to identity, both individual and collective. Psychic and political. Emotional and economic. That is why there is a field of inquiry dedicated to food, Foodways. It refers to the the cultural, social and economic practices relating to the production and consumption of food. The field of intersections that spiral out from food.
Often we encounter the South through food (like this chef in the Bronx ). Southern food travels throughout the world as southerners migrate, and similarly Southern cuisine is born out of a contact zone of culinary heritages which has continued to transform with the influx of travelers and migrants who now call the South home.
Southern food carves out spaces in new geographies and new cuisines carve out space within Southern foodways.
The links between land, food, race, economics, politics, culture and identity are tightly woven in the South. We can’t talk about food in the south without talking about the political and economic implications of food and agriculture – the plantation and the slave trade, migrant labor and immigration policies – intimately linking the South to the Caribbean, West Africa, Europe and Latin America.
This is why I’m excited to build out a series dedicated to food. Ways with Food is a place to stir up, marinate and serve up our questions, reflections and stories about food.