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An Archive of Taste: Race and Eating in the Early United States

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posted on 2020-08-03, 18:03 authored by Lauren Klein
In An Archive of Taste Lauren F. Klein examines the gustatory origins of aesthetic taste in early American literature, showing how thinking about eating can help to tell new stories about the range of people who worked to establish a cultural foundation for the U.S.

Klein considers eating and early American aesthetics together, reframing the philosophical work of food and its meaning for the people who prepare, serve, and consume it. She tells the story of how eating emerged as an aesthetic activity over the course of the eighteenth century and how it subsequently transformed into a means of expressing both allegiance and resistance to the dominant Enlightenment worldview. Klein offers richly layered accounts of the enslaved men and women who cooked the meals of the nation’s founders and, in doing so, directly affected the development of our national culture—from Thomas Jefferson’s emancipation agreement with his enslaved chef to Malinda Russell’s Domestic Cookbook, the first African American–authored culinary text.


Emory University as part of the TOME initiative

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation


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University of Minnesota Press