Anthropology of food final project


Food, memory, and family are inextricably tied to one another. The meals of our childhood can

linger on well into adulthood. When we visit family they often make us our “favorite” food.

Recipes we learned from our family, friends, and other kinfolk become part of our own cooking

repertoire. We inherit cookbooks and recipe cards, even in this age of the internet and


For this assignment, you should pick a recipe for a dish that has a special place in your life. It

can be a cherished family recipe, a favorite dish one of your relatives, friends, or special person

made for you. It can be a dish of your own that you are proud of and include in your own

catalogue of dishes. It does not have to be fancy or gourmet or “ethnic.” It can be Kraft Mac

and Cheese out of a box, or fried bologna sandwiches. As long as it has meaning for you.

Once you have your dish, I want you to write a short (minimum 4-5 double-spaced pages—not

including works cited, 12-point font, 1” margins) research paper on it. Your report should have

the following information in it:

1. Introduction where you introduce the dish, why you chose it, why it is special for you.

2. Describe what the dish consists of and how it is made. This should be more descriptive

and less of a laundry list recipe.

3. What is the history of this particular dish? Is it a recipe that has been in the family for

years? Did your mother “invent it?” Did it come from a cookbook, a TV show, word of


4. If this dish is similar to other dishes, how is it different and give a general history of the

dish and how it varies. For instance, if it is your grandmother’s chicken and dumplings

how is it similar and different from other chicken and dumplings? What are some

common variations on chicken and dumplings? Give a short history of chicken and


5. A conclusion which should be a short reflection on what you have learned about this

dish and how it relates to family, memory, ethnicity, and identity and any other topics

we have covered (gender, socio-economic class etc).

6. Works Cited

Sources: You can use online source, just don’t use Wikipedia (you can look at Wikipedia to get

ideas of where to look, but do not use it as a source). You can use cookbooks and talks with

your family, friends etc. Please cite all of your work. Use MLA, APA, Chicago, whichever style

you use for your major.

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