The Food Heritage, Hybridity, and Locality Conference, which was held here at Brown University, October 23-25, 2014. This exciting event brought together presenters from throughout the United States and across the globe, whose work explores the intersection of tradition, place, and the dynamic processes of fusion, melding, and hybridization that create new food phenomena.
Providence, Rhode Island proved a unique host for this conference—and not just because it has earned top rankings among Travel and Leisure’s America’s favorite food cities. As the conference call for papers states so well, waves of immigration have fashioned Rhode Island food culture into a unique hybrid, marked by such gastronomic wonders as Rhode Island chowder, whose clear broth defies both cream and tomato-based conventions, and Johnnycakes, cornmeal cakes whose origins are a complex combination of worlds both old and new. Even local, homegrown favorites fuse the conference’s themes of heritage, hybridity, and locality, like Del’s lemonade, a lemon flavored Italian ice sold from distinctive mobile units that first set up shop in Cranston, Rhode Island in 1948, and coffee milk, a beverage very deservedly Rhode Island’s state drink. Rhode Island provides additional examples, including the chow mein sandwich, the wimpy skimpy (a stuffed spinach pie served at Caserta Pizzeria in Federal Hill), and the grilled pizza made famous at Al Forno in Providence.
The conference was free and open to the public. View the conference program for more information.