MHS Book Group: We Are What We Ate

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Tuesday, January 22 – Tuesday, May 28, 2013
WE ARE WHAT WE ATE - A Maine Historical Society Reading and Discussion Program

Facilitator: Larissa Vigue Picard

Join us this January through May for our fourth annual MHS reading group--a great opportunity to engage in discussions about history and connect with members of the MHS community.

This year, we explore a topic that resonates across humanity, inspiring great passion and wide-ranging opinion—food! In non-fiction and fiction, we’ll examine how the food that has been envisioned, produced, sold, shared, cooked, and eaten in the past—whether by desire, tradition, deprivation, or other forces beyond one’s control—has influenced numerous aspects of life. In addition to a wide variety of short readings and excerpts that will be provided as handouts to participants, books include Blood, Bones & Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton; 97 Orchard by Jane Ziegelman; Something from the Oven by Laura Shapiro; and The Emperors of Chocolate, by Joel Glenn Brenner (Emperors is currently out of print but widely available used).

WHEN: Tuesdays 1/22, 2/26, 3/26, 4/23, 5/28 @ 6:30PM
WHERE: MHS Lecture Hall
FEE: $20 members/$25 non-members

BOOKS: Books are not available through the MHS store; participants must supply these on their own.

For more information, including a full reading list, and to register, Download Flyer.

REGISTER: By Friday, January 11! Space is limited space is limited and the group has traditionally filled up fast.  

Three easy ways:

1) visit:
2) call: 774-1822 x215
3) email:

READINGS (books required in red; shorter readings will be provided):

January 22: A Life in Food
• “M. F. K. Fisher on Why She Writes About Food,” from Choice Cuts: A Savory Selection of Food Writing from Around the World and Throughout History, Mark Kurlansky, ed.
• Blood, Bones & Butter, Gabrielle Hamilton
• “Two Menus,” Steve Martin

February 26: Stepping Back in Time
• Part 4: “An Intimate History of the Kitchen,” from If Walls Could Talk, Lucy Worsley
• “Grandma’s Kitchen,” Kenneth Roberts, from The Kenneth Roberts Reader
• excerpt from The Food of a Younger Land, Mark Kurlansky, ed.
• “Blueberry Boy,” Leo Connellan, from Maine Speaks: An Anthology of Maine Literature, ed. by Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance

March 26: Across Cultures
• 97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement, Jane Ziegelman
• “Angelo Pelligrini on the Abundance of America,” from Choice Cuts, Mark Kurlansky ed.
• “The Soup,” Mark Kurlansky, from Edible Stories

April 23: Gender in the Kitchen
• Something from the Oven: Reinventing Dinner in 1950s America, Laura Shapiro
• “Julia to the Rescue,” Chap. 4 of The Tenth Muse: My Life in Food, Judith Jones
• “Why are there no great women chefs?” Charlotte Druckman, Gastronomica, Vol. 10, No. 1, Winter 2010

May 28: The Business of Food & the Ethics of Eating
• The Emperors of Chocolate: Inside the World of Secret World of Hershey and Mars, Joel Glenn Brenner
• “The Fat Girl,” Andre Dubus from his Selected Stories
• “Consider the Lobster,” David Foster Wallace, originally published in Gourmet Magazine, August 2004
• “The Absolutely No-Anything Diet,” George Saunders, from Eat, Memory: Great Writers at the Table, Amanda Hesser, ed.