Monday, January 30

Hungry People in the Wartime South Ate Rat Pie

The mail is still exciting hereabouts. (We get few junk mail circulars at SFA world headquarters.) Each day, new foodways-focused books and journals cross the transom. If you could join us in the office this afternoon, you could peruse the latest smart offerings. We keep them stacked on the coffee table, within easy reach. Meanwhile, on the bulletin board, we post the most intriguing academic articles.

Earlier this afternoon, I posted an over-the-transom article "Hungry People in the Wartime South," written by Joan E. Cashin of Ohio State University and recently published in Weirding the War: Stories from the Civil War's Ragged Edges. (I think that's a crazy-good title, though this reviewer disagreed.)

Dr. Cashin knows how to nail a lead. In that fine essay, she defines hunger by telling the story of Morton, a young white boy from Scott's Hill, Virginia, who curbs his appetite with rat pie, made from filleted rodents, baked in a pan lined with dough. 

On this Monday afternoon, as I look toward dinner and plot a last minute market stop, the reality of war time rat pie resonates.