Home Cooking is the product of a class project undertaken by the students in Montana State University's upper division history course, The History of Food in America (HSTA 409), in Spring 2012.
Students conducted oral history interviews with someone in their family or community, focusing on foodways that had particular meaning to them. The interviews were often rich, full of family history, stories of friendship, and tales of thoughtful choices about growing, preparing, and eating food--most often in good company. The students then wrote short narratives based on some aspect of their interview. This posed hard choices for many who had a wealth of delectable material. Students also collected recipes from the person they interviewed, and in many cases a photograph--sometimes one they took themselves or drew from a family collection. All of the stories have to do with the role of food in making a home, whether among blood kin or a wider community.
The stories and recipes collected here represent a wide range of family memories and of regional and international cuisines. Some are drawn from experiences growing up on Montana's farms and ranches; some explore individuals' choices to become vegetarian; some are stories of immigration, of the relationship between work and food, of family celebrations, of meaningful encounters. Every one of them speaks to the significance of food--the topic that we explored in this class.
I want to thank Jan Zauha, whose idea it was to produce this as a digital project, and to Jason Clark and especially Kate Kotzian who turned the pieces of this project into Home Cooking.
Professor of History