Presentation Title

Food Symbolism in Appalachian Literature and the Effects of a Dying Culture

Presenter Information

Hallie Knipp

Document Type

Panel Presentation

Keywords

Appalachian literature, food, culture

Biography

Hallie Knipp is a graduate student in the Department of English. She is interested in identity narratives and composition.

Major

English

Advisor for this project

Allison Carey

Start Date

22-4-2021 3:30 PM

Abstract

Food plays a vital role in both Appalachian culture and Appalachian literature. Regional food practices are a key aspect in Appalachian history and regional food imagery is present in contemporary literature’s representations of the family, of sexuality, of religion, and of community. However, much of this imagery hinges on the traditional practices of Appalachian foodways and traditional Appalachian dishes, both of which are at risk. The industrialization of agriculture overtaking the small family farm and the introduction of convenience stores and fast-food restaurants alongside the economic hardship and lack of jobs in the region have created a perfect storm, one which could very well destroy the culinary traditions of the Mountain South. Because Appalachian foods are so intrinsically linked to other key aspects of Appalachian culture, the loss of the regional food traditions would be devastating to the culture at large. These concepts are analyzed in contemporary Appalachian literature, and the question of a changing food culture and its effects on the literature are raised.

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Apr 22nd, 3:30 PM

Food Symbolism in Appalachian Literature and the Effects of a Dying Culture

Food plays a vital role in both Appalachian culture and Appalachian literature. Regional food practices are a key aspect in Appalachian history and regional food imagery is present in contemporary literature’s representations of the family, of sexuality, of religion, and of community. However, much of this imagery hinges on the traditional practices of Appalachian foodways and traditional Appalachian dishes, both of which are at risk. The industrialization of agriculture overtaking the small family farm and the introduction of convenience stores and fast-food restaurants alongside the economic hardship and lack of jobs in the region have created a perfect storm, one which could very well destroy the culinary traditions of the Mountain South. Because Appalachian foods are so intrinsically linked to other key aspects of Appalachian culture, the loss of the regional food traditions would be devastating to the culture at large. These concepts are analyzed in contemporary Appalachian literature, and the question of a changing food culture and its effects on the literature are raised.