History of Chicago Series. Industrial Food Production In Chicago, 1840-1970.
Just in time for your Thanksgiving feast, join Dr. Chris Stacey for an exploration into Chicago’s history of food. We’ll start with the city’s agricultural influence, especially vegetable and dairy farming, and move through the innovative history of industrial food production. We’ll examine the stockyards to candy manufacturing to the local brands that made instant, ready-to-eat, and easy-to-prepare edibles and we’ll discuss how Chicago’s contribution to the culinary landscape came to be considered a central element in domestic and international interpretations of “the American way of life.” As a way of discussing the historical importance of food as a signifier of identity and of difference, we’ll also look at the experiences of Korean military brides in the city as they sought to balance traditional foodways with demands to make “American food” for their families. Their stories reveal how food is connected to identity, emotional life, and concepts of the nation – how food is never simply about eating something put in front of us but has always been embedded in a complicated matrix of power relations.