Art of the Historic Foodways Project

Ricardo Perez

Folklorist Jay Anderson defines foodways as “the whole interrelated system of food conceptualization, procurement, distribution, preservation, and consumption shared by all members of a particular group.” As anthropologist, Maria Franklin observed, “food links people across space and time and helps to create a connection between the living members of a group and the past members.” Food is used to reinforce ties to ancestral homelands, ancestors and places of comfort and stability.

During my time with the National Park Service, I took part in the development of programs to reflect the stories beyond the battlefield at Moores Creek National Battlefield in Currie, North Carolina. One focused on the cuisine of the 18th century. I wanted to know which foods were consumed by those during the American Revolution and on the home front. I wanted to understand the ingredients, food preparations and influences of the new immigrants and enslaved peoples to the colonies and trades of the 18th century.

Art of the Historic Foodways Project is a sample of select images I studied during my course of discovery during this project. I hope to inspire others to record their family’s culinary heritage on recipe cards and keep them safe for future generations.

Ricardo Perez is the former Superintendent of Moores Creek National Battlefield and now a volunteer with the National Park Service, demonstrating 18th century cooking. He currently serves as President of the Art League of Leland.