Project Title

“Corn and Tomatoes” – An Edible History Project Examining Their Historical Role in Southern Foodways

Presenters

Academic department under which the project should be listed

RCHSS - Interdisciplinary Studies

Faculty Sponsor Name

Tom Okie

This was a creative activity that did not use human subjects in the research process. Research was conducted using primary and secondary source materials such as newspaper articles, peer-reviewed journal articles, and literature.

Abstract (300 words maximum)

This research was conducted as part of an edible history project for a graduate study of movements in American culture, particularly southern food in American history. As such, the culminating activity has produced this essay, which provides an explanation for how tomatoes and corn became an intrinsic part of the foodways of the American South. It briefly describes the history of these two ancient vegetables and their journey from South America (tomato) and Mexico (corn) as they made their way first into Southern gardens, then kitchens, and finally its culture. Identifying various specific historical examples such as the tomato clubs started in South Carolina that used the canning of tomatoes to transform social hierarchies at a grassroots level and which ignited rural girl’s entrepreneurial spirits, it shows how fully these two vegetables have become part of the cultural fabric of Southern food history. Exploring festivals and regional specialties where tomatoes and corn reign supreme, this research demonstrates how the various Southern areas (Old South, Coastal/Low Country, Appalachia, Creole, Deep South) have adopted these two vegetables. Using first person point of view in order to employ an embodied prose approach specifically aimed at using my experience as a Southerner in order to inhabit the space of the narrative, this project provides the opportunity to explain the historical scholarship on southern foodways while also relating what I hope is a compelling narrative.

Project Type

Poster

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 

“Corn and Tomatoes” – An Edible History Project Examining Their Historical Role in Southern Foodways

This research was conducted as part of an edible history project for a graduate study of movements in American culture, particularly southern food in American history. As such, the culminating activity has produced this essay, which provides an explanation for how tomatoes and corn became an intrinsic part of the foodways of the American South. It briefly describes the history of these two ancient vegetables and their journey from South America (tomato) and Mexico (corn) as they made their way first into Southern gardens, then kitchens, and finally its culture. Identifying various specific historical examples such as the tomato clubs started in South Carolina that used the canning of tomatoes to transform social hierarchies at a grassroots level and which ignited rural girl’s entrepreneurial spirits, it shows how fully these two vegetables have become part of the cultural fabric of Southern food history. Exploring festivals and regional specialties where tomatoes and corn reign supreme, this research demonstrates how the various Southern areas (Old South, Coastal/Low Country, Appalachia, Creole, Deep South) have adopted these two vegetables. Using first person point of view in order to employ an embodied prose approach specifically aimed at using my experience as a Southerner in order to inhabit the space of the narrative, this project provides the opportunity to explain the historical scholarship on southern foodways while also relating what I hope is a compelling narrative.