On the Creation and Resuscitation of Regional Cuisine
In order to revive a famous cuisine, such as that of the southern Lowcountry, one has to know what it was and why it came to be. This table to farm reconstruction of the rise of southern cuisine in the 19th-century "age of experiment" explores the agriculture, the market preparation, and the kitchen craft of the chief ingredients that made up the rice-based cookery of the coastal south from Wilmington, NC to Jacksonville, Florida, in light of American and southern culinary practices. This information informs the current repatriation of heritage ingredients and their adoption by southern chefs. 120,000 words. Submitted to the University of Chicago.
Table of Contents
Note: Word counts are in parentheses
- Rebooting a Cuisine (7,197)
Cooking (Pt I)
- The South and the Institutions of American Food (12,654)
- Madam Eugène and 19th-Century Restaurant Cuisine in New Orleans (11,623)
- The Maryland Club Feast (5,547)
- Charleston's Caterers 1795-1883 (6,994)
- The Jockey Club Banquet of February 1, 1860 (4,038)
- Possum in Wetumpka (7,160)
Selling (Pt II)
- Touring the City Markets 1810-1860 (6,963)
- Fish Master: C. C. Leslie and the Reconstruction of Charleston Cuisine (6,385)
- The New York Market: National Supply and Demand (4,696)
- Truck Farming (3,752)
Planting (Pt III)
- Carolina Gold Rice (9,143)
- Sugar from the Sugarcane (6,097)
- Sorghum (4,949)
- Prospecting for Oil (6,900)
- Peanuts and Peanut Oil (5,598)
- Citrus (6,393)
- The Return of the Tastes (6061)
The Theatrical Cabinet Card and Its Creators
A comprehensive history of American stage photography from the rise of the cabinet card to the point (circa 1920) when Hollywood still photography eclipsed theatrical photography as the dominant pictorial mode of representing performers and performances in single images. This project entails several sorts of inquiry—a biographical and critical examination of the photographers most involved in stage imagery—a reconstruction of the sequence of changes involved in the development of the principle genres of performing arts photography (performer portraits, character portraits, tableaux, production stills, continuity images)—an evaluation of the ancillary arts (prop design, costuming, background painting, tinting, and negative painting) involved in producing studio imagery—and an interpretation of the uses to which these images were put by photographers, performers, theatrical producers, periodical editors, and consumers. I will also reflect on how changes in the technology of the camera and dark room inflected the look of images of the period of study.
This immensely popular body of photographic work has never been systematically studied. The existing connoisseurship for the work of performing arts photographers is strangely spotty, focusing on only less than five of the over one hundred producers of performing arts photography. The body of work under study provides the only material traces of theatrical arts—drama, dance, vaudeville, and opera—notorious for their evanescence, their brief life in the lived moment. Some trace of the visual component of the theatre and its performers survives in these documents, supplying an access to the faces of performers, from the 1850s, to tableaux of costumed performers from 1875, to stage pictures in 1883. This of course predates substantially the earliest mutascope images of dancers and vaudeville performances from the 1890s and the first wax cylinder recordings of the audio dimension of performances from the same decade.
Besides the documentary and historical importance of this body of work, the photography drove certain significant changes in transatlantic culture. It became the vehicle for the emergence of the professional beauty in the late 1870s, and enabled the emergence of the first theatrical celebrities whose fame was entirely based upon appearance rather than talent (Maude Branscome, Venie Clancy). Theatrical photography also destabilized the certitudes of cultural beliefs in the power of the image as an index of personal character. The proliferation of images of performers in myriad roles manifesting a broad range of personification suggested that one's being in the world was performed rather than habituated.