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Edible Identities Focus of New Book by Anthropologist Ronda Brulotte

In September, 2014, "Edible Identities: Food as Cultural Heritage" was released by Ashgate Press. Edited by Dr. Ronda Brulotte and Dr. Michael A. Di Giovine, the book examines how "food - its cultivation, preparation and communal consumption - has long been considered a form of cultural heritage. A dynamic, living product, food creates social bonds as it simultaneously marks off and maintains cultural difference. In bringing together anthropologists, historians and other scholars of food and heritage, this volume closely examines the ways in which the cultivation, preparation, and consumption of food is used to create identity claims of 'cultural heritage' on local, regional, national and international scales."

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Brulotte is Assistant Professor of Anthropology and faculty affilate with the Latin American & Iberian Institute. Di Giovine is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at West Chester University of Pennsylvania, and Honorary Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The publication has received numerous positive reviews. One of the reviewers, Ted Bestor, Harvard University, wrote "This path-breaking collection examines cuisine and cultural heritage as they create and reinforce culinary identities across shifting planes of local, national, and transnational contexts. The essays, by leading specialists in food studies as well as by young scholars, focus on the US, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Slovenia, Spain, France, and Germany, as well as on UNESCO's role in promoting cultural heritage movements. An appetizing world tour of culinary heritage, and a must-read for serious food specialists." In a similar vein, Richard Wilk, Indiana University, applauded the publication as a collection of "imaginative and sophisticated" case studies that "shows us how cuisines can both unite and divide people, connecting daily routine meals with lofty ideals of nationality and global citizenship. It is full of convincing evidence that communities are not just imagined, they are also eaten."

Image: Photograph of peppers, nopal, and mint in Centro Texutl Chico, Chiapas, Mexico. Reprinted Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike © from Flickr user Ted McGrath.

--Posted October 20, 2014.