Wild Boar to Baconfest: Pigs in History and Popular Culture

Presented by Cynthia Clampitt, author

Pigs were the first food animals to be domesticated, so they have a history with humans that goes back more than 12,000 years. Antiquity is only one of the reasons, however, that pork is the most commonly eaten meat in the world. This odd, contradictory animal offers a great range of advantages when it comes to feeding large populations, especially urban populations, though historically, it has also offered several disadvantages. Pork was virtually the only meat available to most of Europe during the Middle Ages, and if you ask for meat in China, you will get pork. From the invention of blood sausage by the Assyrians to creation of such American icons as barbecue and hot dogs, pig has remained on the menu for all but a few notable people groups. Celebrated at fairs and looked to for medical research, pigs offer culinary delight and potential promise but also create some challenges. So the topic of pigs is as far-ranging as the pigs themselves.

Cynthia Clampitt is a writer, speaker, and food historian. She has pursued her love of culture, history, and food in thirty-seven countries on six continents (so far) but has in recent years increasingly focused her studies on the American Midwest. Clampitt has been writing and talking about food history for more than twenty years. She is the author of Pigs, Pork, and Heartland Hogs: From Wild Boar to Baconfest (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018) and Midwest Maize: How Corn Shaped the U.S. Heartland (University of Illinois Press, 2015). In addition, she contributed major articles to the Food Cultures of the World Encyclopedia and Street Food Around the World: An Encyclopedia of Food and Culture and shorter articles to the Encyclopedia of Chicago Food and Drink. Clampitt is a member of the Greater Midwest Foodways Alliance, Culinary Historians of Chicago, the Society of Women Geographers, the Agricultural History Society, the Association of Food Journalists, the Midwestern History Association, and the history section of the International Association of Culinary Professionals.

This program is hosted by the Greater Midwest Foodways. To reserve, please e-mail: greatermidwestfoodways@gmail.com. Copies of Cynthia Clampitt’s book will be available for purchase, please advise when you reserve.

Saturday, November 10, 2018 at 10 AM

Bethany Retirement Community, 4950 N. Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60640

Free street parking and Bethany Hospital parking lots

Cost: $5.

The Greater Midwest Foodways Alliance is dedicated to celebrating, exploring and preserving the American Midwest’s unique food traditions and their cultural contexts.