Representing a Region and Its Cuisine: Professor Erica Abrams Locklear Discusses Appalachia on the Table

When her mother passed along a cookbook made and assembled by her grandmother, Erica Abrams Locklear thought she knew what to expect. But rather than finding a homemade cookbook full of apple stack cake, leather britches, pickled watermelon, or other “traditional” mountain recipes, Locklear was surprised to discover recipes for devil’s food cake with coconut icing, grape catsup, and fig pickles. Some recipes even relied on food products like Bisquick, Swans Down flour, and Calumet baking powder. But why was that surprising? In this talk, Erica Abrams Locklear draws from her new book, Appalachia on the Table, to explore where her—and the nation’s—Appalachian food script came from. In her talk she will focus on the representations of foods consumed, implied moral judgments about those foods, and how those judgments shape reader perceptions of those depicted. The question at the core of Locklear’s analysis asks, How did the dominant culinary narrative of the region come into existence and what consequences has that narrative had for people in the mountains? One aspect of her talk will feature archival materials from Appalachian Virginia that demonstrate long-standing culinary knowhow, despite century-old narratives that once suggested otherwise.

Erica Abrams Locklear is a professor of English and the Thomas Howerton Distinguished Professor of Humanities at the University of North Carolina Asheville. She is the author of Appalachia on the Table: Representing Mountain Food and People and Negotiating a Perilous Empowerment: Appalachian Women’s Literacies. She is a seventh-generation Western North Carolinian who loves good food, books, and conversation.

Event Details

Date & Time

Location

Virginia Museum of History & Culture

June 11, 2022

Star Gazing and Laser Nights

Virginia Living Museum
July 9, 2022

Star Gazing and Laser Nights

Virginia Living Museum
August 13, 2022

Star Gazing and Laser Nights

Virginia Living Museum