Food is culture. Food is a living history. People’s food practices and memories illustrate this history as one lived in an intimate, sensorial and emotional way. Food, with its material reality and its symbolic and metaphorical implications, offers a dynamic approach for understanding a community’s complex living history filled with unique cultural values. This collection captures the intersections of these dynamics by documenting and sharing Texas living history as it is experienced, remembered, and expressed by those who call Texas home.
To trace living history and culture defined through food practices, this collection uses the methodology of food voice. The term, coined by nutritionist Annie Hauck-Lawson, refers to how food and culinary practices in and of themselves serve as a powerful, highly charged, and personalized voice that crystalizes the dynamic, creative, symbolic, and highly individualized way that food serves as a channel of communication. People’s food stories capture the process of negotiating and readjusting culinary practices due to issues of migration, adaptation, and preservation. It reveals personal and group cultural palates and how these change over time. It expands our understanding of a region’s historical place and its cultural space by tapping into the senses. Food communicates through a sensory totality. Through peoples’ food stories we can hear how an area’s culinary heritage is neither fixed in time nor free of conflict. People’s food stories, therefore, communicate how their culinary practices are shaped by and shape the historical, cultural, and social character of a region.
For more information visit the El Paso Food Voices web site.