By Elizabeth S. D. Engelhardt
Combining the learn of nutrition tradition with gender stories and utilizing perspectives from ancient, literary, environmental, and American experiences, Elizabeth S. D. Engelhardt examines what southern women’s offerings approximately foodstuff let us know approximately race, type, gender, and social power.
Shaken by means of the legacies of Reconstruction and the turmoil of the Jim Crow period, diversified races and periods got here jointly within the kitchen, usually as servants and mistresses but in addition as individuals with shared tastes and traditions. quite often keen on elite whites or negative blacks, southern foodways are frequently portrayed as good and unchanging—even as an untroubled resource of nostalgia. A Mess of Greens deals a special standpoint, considering industrialization, environmental degradation, and women’s elevated function within the workforce, all of which prompted immense fiscal and social adjustments. Engelhardt finds a large center of southerners that integrated bad whites, farm households, and heart- and working-class African americans, for whom the stakes of what counted as southern foodstuff have been very high.
Five “moments” within the tale of southern food—moonshine, biscuits as opposed to cornbread, girls’ tomato golf equipment, pellagra as depicted in mill literature, and cookbooks as technique of communication—have been selected to light up the connectedness of nutrients, gender, and position. Incorporating neighborhood cookbooks, letters, diaries, and different archival fabrics, A Mess of Greens indicates that settling on to serve chilly biscuits rather than scorching cornbread may well have an effect on a family’s acceptance for being hygienic, ethical, expert, or even godly.
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Extra info for A Mess of Greens: Southern Gender and Southern Food
Characters like Brandon performed cultural work within and beyond the South as they explored how disposable labor became sophisticated producers and consumers. Through them, Anderson also explored the costs to society and individuals of such a transition. Unlike any of the previous works, Anderson’s questioned how blurry the boundaries between legal and illegal, food and drink, and public and private practices really were. For the men and women entering textile mill work in the 1910s and 1920s, the questions of domestic and public, gender and food were similarly up in the air; moonshine rhetoric here stood behind the starving pellagrins who faced the failures of consumerism in the South.
The otherwise curious detail of her writing career effectively means that she moonshines not for mere subsistence but for enjoyment. As she exclaims, “I laid every plan, and saw with my own eyes that they were executed properly! ”13 With Juletty, McElroy explored the fun and freedom expanded public gender roles could give all women. Juletty works, manages others, plans for the future of her organization—she is a skilled leader, having fun along the way. At the same time, viewed in the context of New Womanhood, the details of Burton’s reactions and Juletty’s two careers reveal inherent anxieties around women’s work: perhaps women would best men at earning money; perhaps they would defy masculine codes of proper business behavior; and perhaps they would even enjoy breaking the law.
Stanley Hall published his influential Adolescence: Its Psychology and Its Relations to Physiology, Anthropology, Sex, Crime, Religion and Education, marking a wave of concern, celebration, and even the invention of adolescence. Although Hall spent most of his two volumes discussing teen boys, the troubling teen girl lurked in the cultural background. By the 1930s, she had boldly entered the national imagination, in everything from flappers in popular culture to Nancy Drew in popular literature.
A Mess of Greens: Southern Gender and Southern Food by Elizabeth S. D. Engelhardt