Panel Discussion - "Comfort Food: Meanings and Memories"

Monday, July 10, 2017 - 6:00pm - 7:30pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Lucy M. Long, Barbara Banks, Phillis Humphries, Charlene Smith, & Susan Eleuterio

Lucy M. Long, Barbara Banks, Phillis Humphries, Charlene Smith, and Susan Eleuterio discuss Comfort Food: Meanings and Memories.

At the Co-op

RSVP HERE (Please note that your RSVP is requested, not required)

About the book: The perfect collection for anyone seeking to understand the cultural importance of comfort food, Comfort Food explores this concept with examples taken from Atlantic Canadians, Indonesians, the English in Britain, and various ethnic, regional, and religious populations as well as rural and urban residents in the United States. This volume includes studies of particular edibles and the ways in which they comfort or in some instances cause discomfort. The contributors focus on items ranging from bologna to chocolate, including sweet and savory puddings, fried bread with an egg in the center, dairy products, fried rice, cafeteria fare, sugary fried dough, soul food, and others. Several essays consider comfort food in the context of cookbooks, films, blogs, literature, marketing, and tourism. Of course what heartens one person might put off another, so the collection also includes takes on victuals that prove problematic. All this fare is then related to identity, family, community, nationality, ethnicity, class, sense of place, tradition, stress, health, discomfort, guilt, betrayal, and loss, contributing to and deepening our understanding of comfort food. This book offers a foundation for further appreciation of comfort food. As a subject of study, the comfort food is relevant to a number of disciplines, most obviously food studies, folkloristics, and anthropology, but also American studies, cultural studies, global and international studies, tourism, marketing, and public health.

About Lucy M. Long: Lucy M. Long (PhD in Folklore; M.A. in Ethnomusicology) explores the connections between food and identity, culture, and power. She is director of the non-profit Center for Food and Culture (, teaches popular culture, ethnic studies, American studies, and International Studies at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, and has worked extensively with the Smithsonian Institution's Office of Folklife and Cultural Heritage. She has produced numerous documentary videos, museum exhibits, curriculum guides, articles and books on food, including Culinary Tourism (2004), Regional American Food Culture (2007), Ethnic American Food Today encyclopedia (2015, 16), Food and Folklore Reader (2015) and Comfort Food: Meanings and Memories (2017). She frequently draws from her own experiences of growing up in Southern Appalachia and Far East Asia.

About Barbara Banks: Barbara Banks, a longtime resident of the South Side of Chicago, retired from Cook County Hospital in 2008 after forty years of working in medical administration. She earned an Associates Degree from Harold Washington College in Business Administration, and later received a B.A. In addition to writing, especially about food traditions, for the Journal of Ordinary Thought, Barbara is a world traveler and studies French, yoga, Zumba, and other dance exercises in her spare time.

About Phillis Humphries: Phillis Humphries is a longtime resident of Chicago who also lived briefly in New York. After attending school in Chicago, she served as a medical advocate and is a former facilitator for the group, Healing Racism. She is a founding member of St. Thomas the Apostle’s Anti-Racism group, located in the Hyde Park community in Chicago. Phillis is a published writer and wrote for the Neighborhood Writing Alliance from 2006 to 2012. Her hobbies include speed walking and small weight lifting. She has been an avid fan of the Valois restaurant for years.

About Charlene Smith: Charlene Smith, a resident of Chicago and a longtime educator, now retired, taught elementary and special education in the Chicago Public Schools for forty years. She received her associate’s degree from Wilson Junior College, and later completed a BA from Illinois State University and an MA from the University of Illinois. She often wrote and published essays about her southern background in the Journal of Ordinary Thought for the Neighborhood Writing Alliance (NWA). Charlene loves to travel and to discover the richness and history of people, places, and things. She enjoys musical concerts, walking, shopping, cooking, meditation practice, and learning about the secrets of life and living. 

About Susan Eleuterio: Susan Eleuterio is a professional folklorist, educator, and consultant to non-profits. Holding an MA in American Folk Culture from the Cooperstown Graduate Program (SUNY/Oneonta) and a BA in English/Education from the University of Delaware, Eleuterio serves as an adjunct faculty member of Goucher College’s Masters in Cultural Sustainability program. She is the Co-Chair of the Crossroads Fund Board of Directors and serves as a board member for Illinois Humanities and was a workshop leader and board member for the Neighborhood Writing Alliance in Chicago for over ten years. Author of Irish American Material Culture: A Directory of Collections, Sites and Festivals in the United States and Canada, as well as essays in the Encyclopedia of Chicago History, the Encyclopedia of American Folklore, the Encyclopedia of Women’s Folklore and Folklife, and Ethnic American Food Today: A Cultural Encyclopedia; Eleuterio has conducted fieldwork and developed public programs including exhibits, performances, folk arts education workshops and residencies in schools, along with professional development programs for teachers, students, adults, and artists for schools, museums, arts education agencies and arts organizations across the United States. Her most recent publication is Statewide Models for Folk Arts in Education in the Missouri Folklore Society Journal.

About the Neighborhood Writing Alliance: The Neighborhood Writing Alliance (NWA) published the Journal of Ordinary Thought, held weekly workshops in writing and encouraged the belief that “everyone is a philosopher,” for over 17 years in community based writing groups around the city of Chicago. Several of the writing groups continue to meet regularly.

Event Location: 
The Seminary Co-Op Bookstore
5751 S Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL 60637