McMeaning in the Maw of the Masses: Analyzing Fast Food Mash-Ups

McMeaning in the Maw of the Masses: Analyzing Fast Food Mash-Ups

Meagan Winkelman
Ohio State University

This paper analyzes the foodways of teenagers in the digital age, specifically the construction of “fast food mash-ups.” These practices, unlike typically documented ethnographic foodways, do not involve cookery; rather they involve the reappropriation of readily available fast food items. The results are massive hybrid sandwiches, like the “McGangBang,” a McDonald’s McChicken sandwich inside of a double cheeseburger. Using interviews with past and present members of the folk group that engages in these practices, collected online and in person, I will explore the meaning of these reappropriations to the people who make and consume them. This paper focuses on the social and psychological factors that influence fast food mash-ups, including the rite of passage ritual of consumption in excess, the desire to deviate from cultural and institutional norms, and the struggle to create meaning in the mass-produced food and drink that dominate youth food culture, as well as the function of fast food mash-ups as legends, which are being acted on ostensively whenever the sandwiches are ordered, constructed or consumed. Continue reading “McMeaning in the Maw of the Masses: Analyzing Fast Food Mash-Ups”

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Beijing Duck 2008: Culinary Tourism, Cultural Performance, and Heritage Protection

Beijing Duck 2008: Culinary Tourism, Cultural Performance, and Heritage Protection

Curtis Ashton
Utah State University

Abstract:
During the 2008 Olympic season, two rival restaurants in Beijing saw an opportunity to proclaim their signature dish of Beijing Roast Duck as authentic cultural heritage. Among the strategies they employed to bolster their claims, both restaurants took advantage of new laws to open museums about their duck. Culinary Tourism as developed by Lucy Long and other folklorists provides a useful framework for analyzing this cultural performance.

Continue reading “Beijing Duck 2008: Culinary Tourism, Cultural Performance, and Heritage Protection”

The Snob, the Rube and the Connoisseur

The Snob, the Rube and the Connoisseur: Sideways and the Legitimation of “Culinary Capital”

Margot Finn
University of Michigan

Abstract:

In this essay, I analyze the critically-acclaimed 2004 film Sideways and its effect on the U.S. wine industry. I argue that part of the film’s popular appeal was its successful negotiation of two desires that often seem contradictory: the desire to appear sophisticated in the realm of food and drink and the desire to avoid seeming pretentious or be branded a “food snob.” Ultimately, Sideways argues that “good taste,” which functions a form of “cultural capital,” is meritocratic. Like all meritocracies, the “meritocracy of taste” obscures the structural differences that make the tastes and practices constructed as valuable and desirable more accessible to some people. It also enhances the pleasures and rewards of having good taste, by constructing “culinary capital” as the result of talent and effort rather than wealth and privilege. I argue that the “Sideways Effect”—an increase in the demand for and price of Pinot Noir and decrease in the demand for and price of Merlot following the film’s successful showing in theaters—is evidence that the film reinforced exclusive taste hierarchies rather than promoting an inclusive ideology of “good taste.”

Continue reading “The Snob, the Rube and the Connoisseur”

Fruits and Culture: A Preliminary Examination of Food-for-Sex Metaphors in English-language Caribbean Music

Fruits and Culture: A Preliminary Examination of Food-for-Sex Metaphors in English-language Caribbean Music

Lyra Spang
Indiana University

Abstract:

The purpose of this paper is to examine the ways that food, sexuality and gender roles interact in the Anglophone Caribbean, specifically in the country of Belize. Using analysis of food-for-sex metaphors in popular music, it explores the role of homosociality and separate gender roles in defining food and sexuality as highly charged spaces for cross-gender interaction. The objective of this exploratory analysis is to determine whether these two areas of interaction overlap to form a highly gendered “food-sex arena” that shapes discourse about food, sexuality and gender roles therein.

Continue reading “Fruits and Culture: A Preliminary Examination of Food-for-Sex Metaphors in English-language Caribbean Music”

Biscuit Revivalism: Salvaging Southern Foodways in the Family and Beyond

Biscuit Revivalism: Salvaging Southern Foodways in the Family and Beyond

Whitney Brown
University of North Carolina

Abstract:

The field of folklore has been preoccupied historically with  authenticity.  But what happens to authenticity when real life  necessitates practical changes to tradition?  Through the material  culture and memories of the kitchen and table, “Biscuit Revivalism”  traces the evolution of Southern foodways across three generations of  one family.  Their lifestyle and dietary changes give rise to many  questions about tradition and its continuity (or obliteration), and  their particular story is emblematic of a larger one transpiring  across the modern-day South.  This paper considers the influence of  memory, nostalgia, class, education, travel, feminism, politics, and  health as it explores the process by which individuals negotiate the  traditions of family and region.  A meditation on tradition, “Biscuit  Revivalism” demonstrates that not only genes, but also stories,  recipes, and skillets tie the twenty-first century Southern woman to  the her Depression-era counterparts.  While by turns it is  romanticized, hybridized, or cast aside completely, tradition, in  fact, finds its strength in change. Continue reading “Biscuit Revivalism: Salvaging Southern Foodways in the Family and Beyond”