Pride and Food Shame in Southern Appalachia

Main Article Content

Samantha Castleman

Abstract

Through interviews with western North Carolinians and an analysis of the discourse in online articles, this essay first argues for the importance of foodways research into one insular culinary practice by acknowledging its use in community identity formation. Livermush, a square, sausage-like product made of pig liver, face meat, and cornmeal, is closely related to scrapple but only available in the western portion of North Carolina. Often when locals try to introduce the food to others they are met with disgust, causing shame for the food and the community who eats it. This essay examines food shaming reactions to livermush both in person and in print to detail how capitalizing on these negative judgments has allowed locals to manifest representations of regional pride that are changing the tradition by allowing livermush to be used both as an ordinary food and a reason for celebration.

Article Details

Section
Research Essays, Notes, & Queries

References

Scholarly Secondary Sources
Abrahams, Roger. 1984. Equal Opportunity Eating: Structural Excursus on Things of the Mouth. In Ethnic and Regional Foodways in the United States: The Performance of Group Identity, ed. Linda Keller Brown and Kay Mussell, 19-36. Nashville: University of Tennessee Press.

Barthes, Roland. 2008. Toward a Psychosociology of Contemporary Food Consumption. In Food and Culture: A Reader, ed. Carole Counihan and Penny Van Esterik, 28-35. New York, Routledge.

Blake, Megan K., Jody Mellor, and Lucy Crane. 2010. Buying Local Food: Shopping Practices, Place, and Consumption Networks in Defining Food as “Local.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 100 (2): 409-426.

Bronner, Simon J. 1981. The Paradox of Pride and Loathing, and Other Problems. Western Folklore 40 (1): 115-124.

Curtin, Deane W. 1992. Food/Body/Person. In Cooking, Eating, Thinking: Transformative Philosophies of Food, ed. Deane W. Curtin and Lisa M. Heldke, 3-22. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Deigh, John. 2006. The Politics of Disgust and Shame. The Journal of Ethics 10 (4): 383-418.

Dusselier, Jane. 2009. Understandings of Food as Culture. Environmental History 14 (2): 331-338.

Fischler, Claude. 1988. Food, Self and Identity. Social Science Information 27: 275-293.

Gutierrez, C. Paige. 1992. Cajun Foodways. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi.

Henderson, Laretta. 2007. “Ebony Jr!” and “Soul Food”: The Construction of Middle-Class African American Identity Through the Use of Traditional Southern Foodways. MELUS 32 (4): 81-97.

Jones, Michael Owen. 2000. What’s Disgusting, Why, and What Does It Matter? Journal of Folklore Research 37 (1): 53-71.

Jones, Michael Owen. 2007. Food Choice, Symbolism, and Identity: Bread-and-Butter Issues for Folklorists and Nutrition Studies (American Folklore Society Presidential Address, October 2005). Journal of American Folklore 120 (476): 129-177.

Kristeva, Julia. 1982. The Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection. New York: Columbia University Press.

Lewis, George H. 1999. The Maine Lobster as Regional Icon: Competing Images Over Time and Social Class. In The Taste of American Place: A Reader on Regional and Ethnic Foods, ed. Barbara G. Shortridge and James R. Shortridge, 65-84. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

Lockwood, Yvonne R., and William G. Lockwood. 1999. Pasties in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula: Foodways, Interethnic Relations, and Regionalism. In The Taste of American Place: A Reader on Regional and Ethnic Foods, ed. Barbara G. Shortridge and James R. Shortridge, 21-36. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

Long, Lucy. 2018. Livermush. In We Eat What?: A Cultural Encyclopedia of Unusual Foods in the United States, ed. Jonathan Deutsch, 203-205. Westport: Greenwood Publishing.

Martin, Daniel D. 2000. Organizational Approaches to Shame: Avowal, Management, and Contestation. The Sociological Quarterly 41 (1): 125-150.

Paponnet-Cantat, Christiane. 2003. The Joy of Eating: Food and Identity in Contemporary Cuba. Caribbean Quarterly 49 (3): 11-29.

Sartre, Jean-Paul. 1984. Being and Nothingness: A Phenomenological Essay on Ontology, translated and with an introduction by Hazel E. Barnes. New York: Washington Square Press.

Web Sources
Bashor, Melissa. 2015. In Cleveland County, Livermush is King. Our State, February 23, https://www.ourstate.com/livermush/.

Clevenger, Kelli H. 2016. The Liver Mush Mystique. Paste, January 11, Paste Media Group, https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2016/01/the-liver-mush-mystique.html .

Cohen, Jason. 2015. Everything You Need to Know About Scrapple. Eater, September 1, Vox Media, https://www.eater.com/2015/9/1/9211867/scrapple-goetta-livermush-what-is-it .

Fulton, Wil. 2017. Every State’s Grossest Food (That People Actually Love). Thrillist, January 27, ed. Daniel Fishel, Group Nine Media, Inc., https://www.thrillist.com/eat/nation/worst-foods-to-eat-states .

Hanna, Jason, Madison Park, and Eliott C. McLaughlin. 2017. North Carolina Repeals “Bathroom Bill.” CNN, March 30. https://www.cnn.com/2017/03/30/politics/north-carolina-hb2-agreement/index.html .

North Carolina History Project. 2016. Rip Van Winkle. Encyclopedia Entry. https://northcarolinahistory.org/encyclopedia/rip-van-winkle/.

Rudersdorf, Amy. 2010. NC County Maps. Government & Heritage Library, State Library of North Carolina. In Agan, Kelly. 2012. North Carolina’s 100 Counties. NCpedia, Raleigh: State Library of North Carolina, https://www.ncpedia.org/node/156 .

Scalfani, Jack. 2017. How to Make Livermush. Cooking With Jack Show Youtube, January 31, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xa5HPosf5jA&t=64s .

Zimmern, Andrew. 2014. There you have it! Livermush explained, Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, season 4 episode 4, May 5, YouTube, posted by kurtis, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a49aaqn_Zjo .