Every Nation Has Its Dish: Black Bodies and Black Food in Twentieth-Century America

Every Nation Has Its Dish: Black Bodies and Black Food in Twentieth-Century America

by Jennifer Jensen Wallach

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Jennifer Jensen Wallach's nuanced history of black foodways across the twentieth century challenges traditional narratives of "soul food" as a singular style of historical African American cuisine. Wallach investigates the experiences and diverse convictions of several generations of African American activists, ranging from Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. Du Bois to Mary Church Terrell, Elijah Muhammad, and Dick Gregory. While differing widely in their approaches to diet and eating, they uniformly made the cultivation of "proper" food habits a significant dimension of their work and their conceptions of racial and national belonging. Tracing their quests for literal sustenance brings together the race, food, and intellectual histories of America.

Directly linking black political activism to both material and philosophical practices around food, Wallach frames black identity as a bodily practice, something that conscientious eaters not only thought about but also did through rituals and performances of food preparation, consumption, and digestion. The process of choosing what and how to eat, Wallach argues, played a crucial role in the project of finding one's place as an individual, as an African American, and as a citizen.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781469645223
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 11/13/2018
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 264
File size: 6 MB

About the Author

Jennifer Jensen Wallach, associate professor of history at the University of North Texas, is the author or editor of several books, including Dethroning the Deceitful Pork Chop.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

A landmark book. Wallach examines how conscientious blacks ate and how the work of eating intersected with the political work of social reform, offering new ways of understanding the massive importance of Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. Du Bois, among many others. Speaking to African American culinary heterogeneity, this book situates food studies as essential to understanding black political life and the drive for full citizenship."—Psyche Williams-Forson, author of Building Houses out of Chicken Legs

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