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Cuisine Author Jeff Pilcher Talks About 'Columbian Exchange' for SNC


November 11, 2003

[ Jeff Pilcher Photo ] DELAWARE, OHIO -- Dr. Jeff Pilcher, author of ¿Que vivan los tamales! Food and the Making of Mexican Identity and professor of history at the Citadel, will lecture as part of the Sagan National Colloquium public affairs series at Ohio Wesleyan University on Thursday, Nov. 13, at 7:30 p.m. in OWU's Hamilton-Williams Campus Center Benes Room. Dr. Pilcher will examine "The Roots of Globalization: Cooks and Crops in the Columbian Exchange," which relates to this year's Colloquium theme on "Food: A Harvest of History, Culture, Politics, and Science."

Dr. Pilcher won the Thomas F. McGann Memorial Prize for ¿Que vivan los tamales! Food and the Making of Mexican Identity (1998). At the Citadel, Dr. Pilcher teaches courses on Latin America and food and culture. He has written extensively about cuisine and culture, including articles for The Cambridge World History of Food (2000). His topics have included "Mexican Cookbooks as Cultural Capital," "Tamales," "Chiles, Chocolates, and Race," and "The Historical Geography of Southwestern Cuisine."

In the spring of 2003, Dr. Pilcher organized a conference on Cuisines of the Lowcountry and Caribbean in Charleston, South Carolina. The conference included "tastings of historic Madeiras and Rare Rums, demonstrations of grits cookery, and presentations on the latest products by regional food companies," in addition to scholarly papers.

In his lecture, Dr. Pilcher will discuss how Columbus's voyages initiated widespread movements of peoples and plants that profoundly influenced the demographic and cultural history of the world. Although global in scope, these exchanges were negotiated at a local level by ordinary cooks and farmers who created the cuisines we eat today.

The Sagan National Colloquium is in its 18th year at Ohio Wesleyan. All lectures are free and open to the public. More information is available at snc.owu.edu or 740-368-3995.