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Nostalgia, Ritual, and the Rhetorical Possibility of Southern Baking

Nostalgia, Ritual, and the Rhetorical Possibility of Southern Baking

Chapter:
(p.159) Chapter Six Nostalgia, Ritual, and the Rhetorical Possibility of Southern Baking
Source:
Consuming Identity
Author(s):
Ashli Que Sinberry StokesWendy Atkins-Sayre
Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781496809186.003.0006

Although the South is well known for its desserts, it might not always be clear how Southern dessert traditions developed as they did and how they figure in shaping the identities of the region’s people and practices. Burke (1966) reminds us that terministic screens direct our attention to certain realities and away from others, whereby we forget that baking constituted back breaking, sweaty repression for certain groups of Southerners. This chapter argues that familiar Southern desserts may tie us to our pasts, but through certain types of nostalgia and ritual they also provide space to help change the South’s narratives about race, gender, and community. Southern desserts are suspect in limiting women’s subjectivities, worry modern health sensibilities with their Southern sweetness, and carry the weight of troubling African American history. Our meal ends, however, by investigating how these traditions might offer a taste of connection and resilience along with satisfaction.

Keywords:   Dessert, Terministic screens, Ritual, Nostalgia, Race, gender, community

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