“When we were married, she gave us a dozen pullets”: Using Food to Cement and Negotiate Relationships During the Dust Bowl

Mary A. Larson (Oklahoma State University)

Resources in rural communities were scarce during the Dust Bowl, especially in the areas of Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, New Mexico, and Colorado that were hit hardest by the almost decade-long drought. Because of this scarcity, food was a strong signifier of relationship and community as recalled through the words of women who lived during that time. This paper investigates the symbolism and importance of food beyond nutritional value. Based on archival resources, including oral histories, journals, diaries, letters, and articles from the period, this talk will touch on how food functioned in symbolic as well as nutritive ways.

Part of 05-09 Social Histories In and Through Oklahoma, Friday, October 14, 10:30 am–12:30 pm