Welsh (York St John Univ., UK) aims to reform and expand the study of Caribbean food through orality, fictions, and nonfictions. Through seven chapters, dating from the Amerindians' foodways to food patterns in 2018, she investigates Caribbean food via oral presentations, literary texts, historical accounts, travel writings, memoirs, and cookery books. Chapters 1 and 2 delve into the foodways and social order from early white accounts of Caribbean foods. The third chapter is a continuum focusing on foods in the 19th century, while chapter 4 focuses on food and the politics of identity through race, class, caste, and gender in literary texts, and chapter 6 replicates the same emphasis using cookbooks from Barbados. Interviews with Bajan women form the core of chapter 5, and the final chapter looks at Rastafarians’ eating habits. Altogether, the text has insightful pictures, an informative foreword, and a solid introduction, including historical background, theories, methodology, and structure, making this an important addition to the study of Caribbean gastronomy.
Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; professionals.
— Choice Reviews
Food, Text and Culture in the Anglophone Caribbean is one of the most exciting recent additions to Caribbean cultural studies. Focussing on such varied texts as Marlon James’ A Brief History of Seven Killings, memoirs, travel accounts and oral histories, Lawson demonstrates the centrality of food in the construction of Caribbean identity—both at home and in the diaspora—and provides novel insights into long-standing debates surrounding the authenticity and commodification of Caribbean culture.
— Henrice Altink, Professor of Modern History and Co-Director of the Interdisciplinary Global Development Centre, University of York
Food, Text and Culture in the Anglophone Caribbean ranges widely across disciplines and time, drawing together a huge range of materials for all those interested in the significance of food in the Anglophone Caribbean. From fragmentary mentions of the food culture of enslaved people found in travelers' accounts and planters' diaries, to interviews with contemporary Bajan women about their culinary lives, this book demonstrates the always contested and political nature of the region's foodways.
— Diana Paton, William Robertson Professor of History, University of Edinburgh