Foodways, Economic Status, and the Antebellum Upland South in Central Kentucky
Subject: Artifact Class, diet/subsistence
Topic: Socioeconomic Status
Authors: Tanya M. Peres
Summary: Regional cuisines or foodways have been a topic of interest to both historians and archaeologists for at least the past 30 years. Scholars recognize a regional foodway in the antebellum Upland South that is part of the larger Upland South cultural tradition. The agricultural and archaeological data on subsistence in the antebellum Upland South have been woven into an idealized set of subsistence practices that revolved around agricultural practices. The examination of four contemporaneous faunal assemblages representative of different societal classes living in 19th-century Kentucky shows that this generalized version of Upland South foodways does not hold true across economic classes. Instead, a closer look reveals that many people living on Kentuckys antebellum farmsteads struggled regularly for food security and that the idealized version of a shared Upland South foodway was restricted to the wealthy planter class that had ready access to the market economy.
Keywords: Foodways, Upland South, Farms, Plantations, Subsistence, Agriculture, Faunal analysis, Fauna, Wild fauna, Domestic fauna, Socioeconomic status, Status, Upper South socioeconomic patterns, Class, Farmsteads, Market accessibility, Zooarchaeology, Regional patterns, Diet, Livestock, Slavery, Ethnicity, Swine, Sample size, Hunting, Isolation