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Research Projects

Cooking spaghetti and frying chicken for a Spaghetti Supper at Grape Festival, Tontitown, Arkansas, 1941, photograph by Granger . Federal Writers' Project photographs for the America Eats project, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

The Taste of Comfort

 What do we mean when we talk about comfort food? The term is often used to refer to meals able to spark feelings of nostalgia for a lost childhood. This new research expands this definition to offer a historical and analytical study of comfort food. It explores how sensory experiences of food intertwined with comfort and power in the U.S. from the imperial decades of the late nineteenth century to the contemporary era. 

 


MAPPING DIASPORIC FOODWAYS

The Mapping Scarborough Chinatown project investigates how culinary hubs emerge and function by mapping the growth the diasporic suburban neighborhood of Scarborough, Toronto, Canada. 

This digital map is part of the City Food: Lessons from People on the Move collaborative research project. With City Food, we are developing a new analytical framework to understand the cultural, economic, and nutritional significance of food in diverse cities. 


Picking the meat from the chicken bones is one of the big jobs in preparing the pilau, 1941 Peanut Festival, Florida, photograph by Stetson Kennedy. Federal Writers' Project photographs for the America Eats project, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

What America Ate

What America Ate is a three-year project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities to create an innovative website and online archive of culinary sources from the Great Depression. Materials include the papers of the WPA America Eats program, a collection of rare community cookbooks, and hundreds of food marketing and advertising materials from the 1930s.  Led by Helen Zoe Veit at Michigan State University, the website lets users browse historical recipes, search materials by state and region, get a deeper understanding of historical context, explore featured sources related to a range of topics, or help tag and transcribe 1930s recipes.