An Unexpected Journey
Food history and current events
Welcome to the Historical Supper Club. Pull up a chair. The food is great, and so is the conversation. I hope you don’t mind if we range a bit. We’ll be talking about politics, current and historical events, economics, race, gender, ethnicity, globalization, the environment, and just about everything else related to food. Oh, there will be historical cookbook recommendations, and recipes, and all that fun stuff, too. Links to the latest food history publications. Maybe even a book review or two. But mostly, all the sorts of conversation you know happens at the best dinner parties.
I’ve been studying writing about the history of food in the United States in earnest since my Master’s thesis in 2015. It was on food conservation efforts by society ladies in Orange County, NY during the First World War. The thesis clocked in at 89 pages, but I found I couldn’t stop writing. World War I domestic history was just too fascinating, and too under-studied. I’ve since turned it into a book (albeit an incomplete one), but my deep dive into the food history of the Progressive Era and the First World War has made me recognize, again and again, the sometimes eerie parallels between then and now.
2015 was also the year I started blogging at www.thefoodhistorian.com. And I don’t intend to stop. It’s important to offer well-researched food history articles written for the general public without a paywall.
But I’ve written often about current events in historical context, sometimes seriously, sometimes less so. Coronavirus and Spanish Flu. The politics of our modern disgust with 1950s food. Even the Golden Girls and household labor. I even wrote an academic article about the connections between dairy prices, food riots, and stagflation. In World War I, not today, although the comparisons are clear as day to me.
Historical Supper Club is where I hope to air some more of those thoughts. Those who fail to learn from history are supposed to be doomed to repeat it. That’s not always true, but it sure can be frustrating for historians when the lessons of the past are neither heeded nor learned.
I’m not sure where this unexpected journey will take me. I wasn’t planning to start a Substack, but seems like I’ve got an outlet in me, after all. I hope you’ll join me, for supper and the journey.