For the longest time,I thought I was the only person in the English Department who liked to write at work, but now Bonnie Shishko has joined the club. She has been coming into the department almost every day to put the finishing touches on her dissertation. Her dissertation deals with the discourses of food in Victorian times, and she is paying particular attention to the development of the cookbook during this period. I have had several conversations with Bonnie about her research, and she has helped me understand how cookbooks reflect societal values.
There are several other members of our department who have written about food and food preparation. Jen Munroe has researched the development of recipes during the age of Shakespeare, and she participates in a blog that features early modern recipes: http://recipes.hypotheses.org/5452. Beth Gargano has also written about food in literature. In fact, she has published an essay on this topic titled “Trials of Taste: Ideological Food Fights in Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time.” Our Dean, Nancy Gutierrez, wrote about food-related issues in her book titled Shall She Famish Then? Female Food Refusal in Early Modern England.
Bonnie tells me that there is an emerging field of scholarship called “food studies,” and it seems to me that our department is already gathering at this table.
Quirky Quiz Question — As Bonnie and Jen well know, recipes have been around for a long time, but the term “recipes” did not come into widespread use until the second half of the 19th century. What term was used before then?