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Every Nation Has Its DishBlack Bodies and Black Food in Twentieth-Century America$
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Jennifer Jensen Wallach

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469645216

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469645216.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 27 January 2020

World War I, the Great Depression, and the Changing Symbolic Value of Black Food Traditions

World War I, the Great Depression, and the Changing Symbolic Value of Black Food Traditions

Chapter:
(p.123) 5 World War I, the Great Depression, and the Changing Symbolic Value of Black Food Traditions
Source:
Every Nation Has Its Dish
Author(s):

Jennifer Jensen Wallach

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469645216.003.0006

This chapter demonstrates that the push for voluntary rationing during World War I rendered foods like beef and wheat, which were once of enormous symbolic significance to black food reformers, as unpatriotic. Black food reformers had to choose between performing a U.S. patriotic food identity that demanded conservation and sacrifice and continuing to shun foods like pork and corn that were associated with the plantation South and thus with the history of slavery. Assimilationist eaters generally chose U.S. patriotism, a choice that inevitably muted some of the earlier antagonism that members of the middle class had shown toward the iconic southern foods they associated with the history of slavery. Ultimately, the economic pressures of the Great Depression worked to mute the machinations of even the most ardent food reformers as the community’s emphasis shifted from what to eat to the even more dire problem of having enough to eat.

Keywords:   Great Depression, World War I, Corn, Wheat, U.S. Food Administration, Patriotism, Cooperatives, Ella Baker, Southern cooking

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