Culinary Biographies: Charting South Africa’s History Through Cooking, Consumption, and Language

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Program Description

Talk About Food: South Africa’s Culinary History Through Cooking, Consumption, and Language

with Keri and Kelsi Matwick

A Zoom Presentation

Spanning South Africa’s documented 400-year history, since Dutch colonization, Keri and Kelsi Matwick trace the pathways through which ingredients, techniques, and regional culinary philosophies converged in South Africa  and demonstrate how those intersections established cultural precedents for some of South Africa’s quintessential foods.

By constructing “culinary biographies” of five typical South African foods—Cape Malay curry, Biltong (dried, salted and spiced game meat), sadza (maize meal porridge), malva pudding, and wine—the Matwicks focus on cuisine combined with language to demonstrate how discourse about food has been consequential throughout South African history.

Their research earned the Matwicks one of the CHNY Scholar’s Grants awarded in 2021.  They will join us to present their findings to date and to share some thoughts on their approach to pulling together a grant submission.

All are welcome, especially those interested in applying for a 2022 CHNY Scholar’s Grant—deadline is June 30—who will learn how the grant helped support Kelsi and Keri’s research.

Keri and Kelsi Matwick are identical twin sisters, living in Singapore. They received PhDs in Linguistics at the University of Florida and served in the Air Force. Keri teaches at Nanyang Technological University and Kelsi teaches academic and food writing in the College of Journalism and Communication at the University of Florida in Gainesville.