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Dethroning the Deceitful Pork Chop: Rethinking African American Foodways from Slavery to Obama (Food and Foodways)

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The fifteen essays collected in Dethroning the Deceitful Pork Chop utilize a wide variety of methodological perspectives to explore African American food expressions from slavery up through the present. The volume offers fresh insights into a growing field beginning to reach maturity. The contributors demonstrate that throughout time black people have used food practices as a means of overtly resisting white oppression—through techniques like poison, theft, deception, and magic—or more subtly as a way of asserting humanity and ingenuity, revealing both cultural continuity and improvisational finesse. Collectively, the authors complicate generalizations that conflate African American food culture with southern-derived soul food and challenge the tenacious hold that stereotypical black cooks like Aunt Jemima and the depersonalized Mammy have on the American imagination. They survey the abundant but still understudied archives of black food history and establish an ongoing research agenda that should animate American food culture scholarship for years to come.