Plentiful and diverse foods available to Americans, combined with our modern lifestyle give rise to the assumption that we can eat whatever we want, whenever we want. But little more than half a century ago, our eating habits and diet were dictated by the seasons, and our bodies are still subject to seasonal change. Eating seasonally means cooking with and eating locally-sourced foods that are abundant at particular times of the year.
Broadly centered on the theme of seasonality, this exhibit draws on a collection of cookbooks and recipe books housed in Swem Library's Special Collections Research Center to explore what individuals and communities ate, how they labored, and how they coped with centuries of changes in availability and access to foods. The objects featured in this exhibit reveal the often hidden labor of food production and processes of consumption by asking: Who does the cooking? What are the alternative uses of ingredients? Where can we find the hidden labor in food production? And how does food security ensure national security?
Curation, exhibit design, and installation: Khanh Vo, Special Collections Graduate Apprentice and PhD Candidate in American Studies, with assistance from Jennie Davy, Exhibits Manager, and Meghan Bryant, Research & Instruction Associate.