About the Author
By day, I am a marketer for a university press. By night, I am a dissertating student of literature. When I’m not working toward the production of scholarly books from one end or the other, I might be found supporting the performing arts scene by taking tickets or buying them, or else standing around at farmer’s markets, squeezing all the peaches. For me, food practices are synonymous with relationships: my health, sanity, and vivacity are vitally supported by the meals I cook, select, and eat with those dear to me. Writing about food has always been in part a love song to these friends and the small but essential rituals of care we enact for ourselves.
I am an occasional contributor at Table Matters, a daily website that covers all manner of food culture and practice in Philadelphia and beyond. (You might also see my food culture pieces reposted at The Smart Set.) I blog about books and book business on Scribal Tattoo.
About the Blog
For the last few years, I have been reading and researching for a dissertation about scenes of eating and cooking in contemporary literature. The act of eating is both utterly individual and utterly cultural: apart from the sustenance of the individual body, choosing what to eat is an exercise in aesthetic judgment which reaffirms the individual’s vitality as a choosing, sensing being. But that choice is made in a network of cultural narratives and connotations: to eat is to participate in the politics and economy of a given order, and to establish social connections by who we eat with and who we eat like.
The immediate purpose of this blog is to create an outlet for my response to miscellaneous food-related ideas and images I encounter in art, advertising, literary texts, reportage and trend pieces, and more; cataloging these scenes of eating helps me stay aware of and engaged with contemporary patterns in food discourse. The commentary attached to each example may draw from my research and reading, I don’t consistently aim to be academically rigorous–some observations are just meant to be interesting, challenging, or funny.
The longer-term goal for this site is to compile resources–links, bibliography, cultural artifacts–for my own reference as well as other food scholars.
But for the last few years, as I’ve written for the blog and for other blogs and publications, as I’ve started receiving feedback by way of Twitter and comments, I’ve developed a third goal. I think that the humanities and humanistic social sciences do have a place in contemporary food discourse. I think that the way we think and talk about food in our homes and local markets can benefit from the sociological tools and philosophical concepts that often remain locked in the ivory tower. Where possible, I aim to de-specialize the language of these concepts and show how they apply to contemporary food culture, bolstering informal, meaningful discussion and exploration.