Announcing a New Special Series: Booze, Brews, and Drinks

I have the pleasure to announce The Historical Cooking Project's upcoming special series about alcohol: Booze, Brews, and Drinks.

The histories of food and alcohol are usually separate in the literature of our discipline.  Most texts, with the exception of Richard Hooker's Food and Drink in America (1981), focus on either one or the other. When I asked wine historian Rachel Black about this phenomenon at the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec's conference "La Cuisine: une artification par les arts?" held last year in Montreal, she replied that it is quite a shame that the literature is so divided and wishes the two sub-disciplines were more integrated. The root of the divide likely stems from prohibition. In the historiography, we understand the history of alcohol as a history of vice. These sentiments are echoed in Craig Heron's Booze when he states that "to understand the history of booze, then, is in large part to probe how various peoples have dealt with pleasures and dangers in their cultures" (2). While discussing the history of alcohol's relation to risk is a completely valid and useful approach, what parts of the story do we miss when we only speak about alcohol in these terms? How would our narratives be different if we spoke about alcohol and food, not as isolated entities, but as part of a continuum of consumption?  For many of our readers at home, you might see wine as part of the dinner meal or beer as a necessary component of a BBQ picnic. Should not at least some of our histories reflect these connections?

This new series will speak to the confluence and the divergence of the histories of booze and food. The first few posts will deal with the intersection of this history of beer brewing and bread making.

We are interested in receiving guest posts regarding this material. Please write to us at or contact the editor of this special series, Alex Ketchum, directly at if you are interested in contributing.