Culinary Tourism in the Land of Meat and Potatoes and Green Bean Casserole

April 28, 2012

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Cover of Lucy Long's book "Regional American Food Culture" (detail)

The culinary tourism industry focuses on distinct, memorable, and fine-dining food destinations. While such destinations exist in the American Midwest, the overall image of this region does not evoke these types of experiences. The Midwest, however, offers a wealth of rich foodways experiences. If we open our eyes to the meaningfulness of food to residents, the historical contexts behind contemporary food, the shift to foodways (or the totality of activities and concepts surrounding food) from food, and the idea of “reading” a culture through its food, we can turn a culinary roadtrip to the Midwest into an adventurous exploration of the meanings of everyday and common foods and foodways.

Lucy M. Long is founder and executive director of the Center for Food and Culture in Bowling Green, OH. She is also adjunct faculty at Boston University in the masters program in gastronomy and a research associate at the Institute for the Study of Culture and Society at Bowling Green State University. She is the author of Culinary Tourism (University of Kentucky Press, 2004) and Regional American Food Culture (Greenwood Press, 2009). She is currently editing the Food and Folklore Reader (Berg) and Encyclopedia of Contemporary Ethnic Food in the U.S.

This talk was part of the Greater Midwest Foodways Alliance's fifth annual symposium, "Road Food: Exploring the Midwest One Bite at a Time." Other events from this symposium recorded by Chicago Amplified—listed in the order they were presented—are as follows:

Marked for Life: My Travels on Route 66 in '53, with Terri Ryburn
State Fair Heirloom Recipe Contest, with Catherine Lambrecht
Mobile Food in 19th-Century Chicago, with Peter Engler
Food Trucks: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, with Louisa Chu
Will Success Spoil Regional Food?, with Michael Stern
The Drive-In Restaurant: Before and After the Dawn of Fast Food, Food Theater, with Mary Bergin
A Gopher Turned Badger Eats Hoosier, and Vice Versa: Midwestern Culinary Traditions in the Small-Town Cafe, with Joanne Stuttgen
What Happened to Horseshoes?, with Julianne Glatz
Pies on the Road, with Shirley Cherkasky
Ethnographic Food Writing, or How I Ate My Way Across Wisconsin and Lived to Tell About It, with Joanne Stuttgen
Culinary Tourism in the Land of Meat and Potatoes and Green Bean Casserole, with Lucy M. Long
Summer Vacations in Northern Wisconsin, with Kelly Sears
Born to be Mild: Oral Histories and Pathways of the Midwest Supper Club, with Dave Hoekstra
Farmers Markets of the Heartland, the Ultimate Road Trip, with Janine MacLachlan
On the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail, with Clara Orban
Remarks by Marilyn Wilkinson of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board
Feast: Radical Hospitality in Contemporary Art Curator-Led Tour

Recorded Saturday, April 28, 2012 at Kendall College.