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Eating In the Side RoomFood, Archaeology, and African American Identity$
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Mark S. Warner

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780813061115

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813061115.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 28 September 2021

In the “Side Room”

In the “Side Room”

Eating with the Maynards and the Burgesses

(p.109) 7 In the “Side Room”
Eating In the Side Room

Mark S. Warner

University Press of Florida

This chapter attempts to discover the cultural significance attached to food choices. The taken for granted-ness of food choices also can make the broader cultural meanings difficult to reconstruct. The problem is compounded when looking at oppressed groups that were largely silenced within the official historical record. Given this problem, I have had to rely on just a handful of clues within the oral, written, and material record of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to tease out what certain foods might have meant for families like the Maynards and Burgesses. My search for food-related commentary or imagery produced by African Americans during this period led me to survey old cookbooks, listen to the blues, ask my wife about quilting, and read through quite a number of oral interviews conducted from the 1930s onward. In the end, it is the persistence of references to certain foods across such a wide range of cultural forms that is striking and significant for understanding what the meals the Maynards and Burgesses ate in the “side room” might have meant, both to them, and to other African Americans living in the Chesapeake.

Keywords:   Chesapeake region, African American foodways, The Blues

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