American Studies is happy to announce the recent addition of Foodways Texas to our department! As many of you know, Foodways Texas and AMS have worked together for a few years now. AMS Ph.D. candidate Marvin Bendele is the Foodways Texas executive director, and our very own Elizabeth Engelhardt serves on their executive board.
Foodways Texas is an organization founded by scholars, chefs, journalists, restaurateurs, farmers, ranchers, and other citizens of the state of Texas who have made it their mission to preserve, promote and celebrate the diverse food cultures of Texas. By joining and supporting Foodways Texas, you become part of a movement to preserve the vibrant foodways of Texas through oral history projects, documentary films, recipe collections, and scholarly research. Foodways Texas highlights the state’s distinctive foods and food cultures at their annual symposium, supporting educational food-based seminars, promoting local food networks, and partnering with universities and other non-profit organizations to educate future generations about Texas food histories, cultures, and emerging trends.
They have also worked closely with other centers on campus, like the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, which houses their oral history archive–a growing collection of oral histories, documentary footage, menus, advertisements, cookbooks, and other ephemera from farmers, ranchers, chefs, pitmasters, and restaurant owners from around the state. Several of the interviews were done by members of the AMS community, and they are available online here. Foodways Texas has already released four short documentaries and will show new films at the upcoming conference.
This year’s symposium, Farm to Market 2014, will be held from March 20 to 22 in College Station. Scholars and professionals will gather to discuss Texas crops, the history of Texas markets, urban farming, and farm labor, among other topics; as well as eat some very delicious and educational food. Foodways Texas also holds biannual barbecue camps in College Station in January and June of each year. Unfortunately, June’s upcoming camp is already sold out. As we all know, Austin judges barbecue by length of wait-time, making the barbecue camp the greatest in the state.
In honor of our new addition, go forth and snack!