Project Overview and Findings

Professors Megan Elias, Fritz Umbach, and Babette Audant introduce us to the Foodways and Humanities Project – what their challenges, goals, and hopes were when designing and starting the project, share how they collaborated, and what their findings were by project completion. Each professor reflects on what was most memorable or meaningful to them and to their students.

Quinine/gin & tonic

The history of quinine and gin & tonic, as it relates to colonization of Latin America, Africa and India. An earlier draft of the film was screened at the Collaboration & Innovation Across the Food System Conference hosted at The University of Vermont in July 2014.

Rice Pudding

Rice pudding is interesting to study as a dish that represents many cultural and historical events. In this video we follow one of its latest adaptations, in the culinary arts kitchen at Kingsborough Community College. It was incorporated into American foodways after it was brought over by Spanish colonizers. By bringing rice with them to the Americas, the Spanish were bringing something that was a product of their own colonization.


“Xocolatl”, meaning bitter water, was a special beverage prepared for the Aztec kings, priests, wealthy, and soldiers. When it went to Spain with the colonizers, at first it was a well-kept secret. How did hot chocolate become the popular, sweet beverage we know today? Taking historical research and the modern palate into account, culinary arts students make their own version.

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