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Eating America: Crisis, Sustenance, Sustainability


Edited By Justyna Kociatkiewicz, Laura Suchostawska and Dominika Ferens

This volume of essays examines the relationship between eating and crisis. The United States’ long-lasting economic and cultural hegemony raises a number of questions: Has America been – literally and metaphorically – eating, appropriating, exploiting, and molding the world in its own image, or has it been eaten, appropriated, and exploited as a (frequently criticized or disdained) source of ideas, ideology, and knowledge? What is the relation between the current ecological crisis and America’s consumerist economy, with its practices of food production and consumption, and its use of natural resources? What is America’s role in the ongoing crisis of modernity? And, if the crisis continues, where are the sources of sustenance?
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Consuming Latinidad: Mexican Foodways in Maria Ripoll’s Tortilla Soup (2001): Małgorzata Martynuska


The activity of eating and the associated activities of acquiring, cooking and serving food have fascinated filmmakers for years. Cinema has long explored food in creative ways and presented food and drink as metaphors for personal, familial and social issues. There are so many movies focusing on food in their film narrative that we can talk about an emerging ‘food film’ genre. Some of those movies feature a professional cook as the main character: Big Night (Stanley Tucci and Scott Campbell, 1996), Babette’s Feast (Gabriel Axel, 1987), Le Chocolat (Lasse Halström, 2000). Other movies present food as a complex signifying system, e.g. a way of celebrating ethnicity and communicating emotions or cultural identities. Southern, African-American and Mexican ethnic identities are examined in Fried Green Tomatoes (Jon Avnet, 1991), Once upon a Time When We Were Colored (Tim Reid, 1995), Soul Food (George Tillman, Jr., 1997), and Tortilla Soup (Maria Ripoll, 2001). Another interesting movie, What’s Cooking (Gurinder Chadha, 2000), is a study of food as a cinematic metaphor for multicultural Los Angeles, depicting four middle-class families of diverse ethnic backgrounds celebrating Thanksgiving Day.

In the emerging ‘food film’ genre, food plays a vital role in the development of film narrative. The camera often focuses on food preparation or consumption, which takes place either in a restaurant kitchen or at home. The film characters discuss issues of identity, class and culture while preparing or consuming food. The movies place family meals in broader contexts, showing how food exists...

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