MCS Recipe Research Collaborative

The Policy Center is leading a collaborative research project on campus which includes students, faculty, and staff who are passionate about food. The researchers are curious about the role of food, recipes, and cooking in politics and public life, and are eager to share those lessons with a broad range of audiences – from students to scholars to civic organizations.

Started at UMaine in fall 2018, the research collaborative supports students and faculty interested in food, recipes, politics, and history. Each member of the collaborative brings a different perspective to the group; several undergraduate students are writing honors theses related to the collaborative’s focus on food and politics, others engage by spreading the word about the project through social media on
Facebook and Instagram. Several students plan to present their work at the 2019 UMaine Student Symposium. One student and three faculty members have had a panel (entitled Recipes of Resistance: Food and the Negotiation of Women’s Political Roles) accepted for presentation at the 2019 annual meeting of the Association for the Study of Food and Society in Anchorage, Alaska, this June. Amy Blackstone (MCS Policy Center) and Rachel Snell (History & Honors) are co-leaders of the collaborative.

The group organizes public events relevant to the collaborative’s interests, while faculty and students engage in independent research or related projects. At monthly meetings the group discusses scholarly literature relevant to their work, presents in-progress research, and discusses results from testing recipes from the late Senator Margaret Chase Smith’s extensive recipe collection. One outcome of the recipe testing will be to create a recipe book, celebrating Sen. Smith’s collection and sharing related vignettes from her life.

On March 7, the collaborative will host a public talk by food folklorist and scholar Diane Tye. Details about that event can be found on Facebook.