J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Call for New Papers on “Foodways in the Northeast”

The days after Thanksgiving are always a good time to consider traditional New England cuisine. And how much better the Massachusetts settlers’ banquets would have had if their cookbooks had included well-made Peking ravioli.

In fact, the term “Peking ravioli” is another element of New England foodways, invented by restaurateur Joyce Chen in the mid-20th century. Other folks call those dumplings potstickers, jiaozi, or just dumplings.

The Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife will examine that whole range of New England culinary culture at its next conference. Back in 1984, the seminar published a collection of papers titled Foodways in the Northeast. It examined such topics as “Food Theft and Domestic Conflict in Seventeenth-Century Essex County,” “The Fireplace at Memorial Hall, Deerfield, Massachusetts,” and “The Archeology of Urban Foodways in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.” Those papers focused mainly on the colonial period and its portrayal.

On 21-23 June 2013, the seminar will return to Historic Deerfield for “Foodways in the Northeast II: A Second Helping.” Plans are to publish a selection of that conference’s papers in a new volume. But first we have to get the scholarship on the table. Here’s the call for proposals for that conference:
The Seminar is now accepting proposals for papers, tours, and presentations on New England’s culinary history—food-preparation, cooking, and eating—in the period from 1600 to the present.

Addressing the larger concepts of food sustainability, geography, and ethnicity; food reform and hygiene; and the memory and language of food, the conference hopes to consider new scholarly developments in a subject explored by the Seminar thirty years ago in Deerfield in 1982. Possible topics include changes in diet over time, food as medicine, food preservation, table settings and presentations, cooking and eating utensils, and period cookbooks and family-centered recipe books.

The conference could also consider specialty New England items such as maple sugaring, lobsters, and oyster houses as well as the role of county fairs, state farms, and food exhibitions. Other topics might include the commodification or “branding” of food, the impact of weather, food shortages and surpluses, food markets and distribution, the evolution of the kitchen and built-in domestic spaces, children’s food, ships’ provisioning, food diplomacy, food as a social divider, food and religion, “slow food” and “local food” movements, and hybridization.

The Seminar encourages papers from the fields of anthropology, archaeology, art history, economics, folkloristics, gastronomy, gender studies, history, sociology, and other fields that reflect original research, especially those based on primary or underused resources such as letters and diaries, recipe books, newspapers, prints and photographs, business records, material culture, archaeological investigations, and autobiographies. Interdisciplinary work is welcomed.
There will be time for about seventeen presentations, each twenty minutes long. If you’re interested in proposing a paper for this conference, send an email with your full contact information and a “one-page prospectus that cites sources” and “a one-page vita or biography” as attachment to seminar director Peter Benes. The due date for proposals is 15 Jan 2013.


Pacificus said...

I prefer to call them Gyouza, the Japanese pronunciation of Jiaozi, but then again I lived in Japan, so I might be biased.

J. L. Bell said...

That's closer to how I learned to (badly) say the word when I was a boy and actually going to Joyce Chen's in Cambridge. But I think that was before the new transliteration system got rid of "Peking" as well.

Heather Rockwood said...

I always thought "peking" ravioli and gyouza tasted completely different, but perhaps that was just because I thought they were different things. I dislike one, and love the other, respectively.