Building Community with Food

At The Historical Cooking Project, we interweave the personal with the historical. Food is personal but it can also build community. Sometimes these communities outlive even the spaces in which the sharing of food once occurred. Our editor, Dr. Alex Ketchum, has just published an article with Anthropology of Food speaking to some of these issues. The article is open access/ free to access.

Memory has added seasoning
The legacy of feminist restaurants and cafes in the United-States

This article looks at the legacy of the communities created by feminist restaurants and cafés in the United States in the 1970s and 1980s. Using a mixed methodology of interviews, archives, and a survey of online forums, including Facebook, I explore how the memory of the feminist restaurants and cafés endures through online communities and a new generation of feminist food businesses. The process of remembering feminist restaurants and cafés has the effect of reproducing and promoting the values enacted by the original owners. First, I briefly discuss the kinds of communities feminist restaurant owners fostered during the years of the restaurants’ operation, giving attention to who was included and excluded. Following an explanation of the factors that led to the closure of these businesses, I examine the resurgence of their communities in online spaces and the other ways their legacy has been preserved. I conclude by highlighting the restaurants’ impact on the current food business landscape.