Maness Lecture Imagining Chow Chow: Home Canning and Nostalgia in the Twenty-First Century
People long for all sorts of things–prior experiences, imagined pasts, alternative futures–voicing their nostalgia in narratives anchored to people, places, and processes. In this collaborative interdisciplinary event, Danille Christensen first explores nostalgia’s role in creating (racialized) cultural imaginaries. Drawing on representations of home canning that include war posters, industry advertisements, and cookbooks, she explores how nostalgia can shore up old hierarchies but also provide space for counternarrative and new possibilities. Then, in a live demonstration, April McGreger walks us through the gestures, scents, and meanings of Black matriarch Julia Pettaway’s chow chow, a recipe from a volume compiled by Pettaway’s granddaughter in 1987. Event guests are invited to sample this storied relish alongside black-eyed peas and cornbread in a reception to follow.