Perhaps you could say it all began when, deep in the darkness of writing my dissertation, I desperately needed a project to distract me and to remind me of the joys that can come from history and writing. Perhaps it started when I was looking for excuses to have friends over on a more regular basis for dinner parties. In reality, it probably started when I was 7, and I would sit and devour books on the American presidents – more fascinated by what was cooking in the White House kitchens than what was cooking in the cabinet room.
Wherever and however it began, this blog launched on October 31, 2011 after years of ideas kicking around in my head. It has been my culinary play-pen where I could tease out the interesting nuances of American cookery and food traditions.
First and fore-most, I consider myself a public historian. My official training is in history, cultural studies and performance. I write and maintain this blog in my spare time. My dissertation had nothing to do with American food traditions or contemporary food politics. I finished my doctorate at the University of Minnesota in 2014. For nearly two years, I worked with the Minneapolis-based advertising agency space150, who generously agreed to be my cocktail guinea pigs. After that, I was a Visiting Professor in Theatre and Dance at Macalester College in Saint Paul for two years, where I taught courses in performance theory, public history, and cultural studies. In 2015 I made a big move to Austin, Texas to work for the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin. There I oversee the collections in theatre and performing arts and occasionally get to investigate our unexpectedly extensive holdings in gastronomy.
I was born and raised in Southwest Ohio, at the cross-roads of Eastern, Midwestern and Southern cultures. I spent several summers in Central Maine and Eastern Tennessee, lived in Washington D.C. for a brief period of time, called Minneapolis home for a decade, and now reside in Austin, Texas.