67th out of 85 books — 27 voters
Building Houses Out of Chicken Legs: Black Women, Food, and Power
Chicken--both the bird and the food--has played multiple roles in the lives of African American women from the slavery era to the present. It has provided food and a source of income for their families, shaped a distinctive culture, and helped women define and exert themselves in racist and hostile environments. Psyche A. Williams-Forson examines the complexity of black wo...more
Paperback, 317 pages
Published June 1st 2006 by University of North Carolina Press
(first published January 1st 2006)
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Considered for the food class, this is an anthropological-historical study of the foodways of African-Americans Americans, from the economic reality that women and children could raise chickens for a little extra money on very little resources, selling fried chicken to train passengers for extra income (or making box lunches because of non-existent or segregated eating facilities), the oral histories of the rise and fall of the Coon chicken franchise, white women competing to have the best cooks...more
This is by far one of the most interesting books I've ever read. It explores the links between black american history/culture and the food we eat, drawing from extensive primary documents and research. It poses that food within the black experience, especially chicken, not as something of stereotype, but actually a tool of resistance and independence (as enslaved black women were able to sell it at a time when they were considered property) and illustrates how our connection to it and other food...more
A look at chicken in African-American history and contemporary culture, the ways women in particular have used chickens and cooking as a source of agency. Interesting in some parts, but problematic at others. She wants Kara Walker to be more explicit about the intentions of her art, for instance, which seems absolutely unfeasible. Got to talk to the author on the phone for our class, though, and she seems a nice, intelligent person.