Ethnographic Food Writing, or How I Ate My Way Across Wisconsin and Indiana and Lived to Write About It

April 28, 2012

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Cover of Joanne Stuttgen's book "Cafe Indiana" (detail)

Joanne Stuttgen is a folklorist and author of Cafe Wisconsin and Cafe Indiana, two ethnographic books about the food, people, culture, social rituals, and history of each state’s small town cafes. Stuttgen is also a co-author of Cafe Wisconsin Cookbook and Cafe Indiana Cookbook, which offer recipes and a more indepth examination of cafe food. In this talk, Joanne Stuttgen shares her research and fieldwork methodologies developed while writing these books. As she writes, “Everyone is always very curious about why and how I ate my way across two states one diner at a time. Most people have a romantic view of my adventures and have no idea just how much work there is!”

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.