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Even Presidents Need Comfort Food: Tradition, Food, and Politics at the Valois Cafeteria

Even Presidents Need Comfort Food: Tradition, Food, and Politics at the Valois Cafeteria

Chapter:
(p.65) Even Presidents Need Comfort Food: Tradition, Food, and Politics at the Valois Cafeteria
Source:
Comfort Food
Author(s):
Susan EleuterioBarbara BanksPhillis HumphriesCharlene Smith
Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781496810847.003.0004

This chapter explores a legendary cafeteria/restaurant on Chicago’s South Side, the Valois, which showcases the favorite breakfasts of President Barack Obama as well as traditional foods (biscuits, mashed potatoes and gravy, grilled cheese, etc.) associated with comfort and home by Americans. Consisting of a facilitated conversation involving a folklorist and three women of African-American descent who have written about food traditions, this essay explores how restaurants, particularly diners like Valois, emphasize basic foods and plain surroundings (including a cash only policy) in order to create a sense of belonging in a commercial establishment.

Keywords:   Cafeterias, Belonging, Identity, Neighbourhood, African American

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