Union soldiers cooking dinner in camp, Army of the Potomac, 1861-1865
If you had a choice, which would you give up? Food? Or coffee? This coming week, we will look at photography of the Civil War and the difficulties of producing photographs during war. To help better understand the conditions that photographers worked in, in this week’s blog topic we will explore what Civil War soldiers ate and their dependence on coffee. The typical food ration for a Union soldier included small amounts of meat, coffee, and hardtack (what’s hardtack? Look here to find out.) The Union side half-jokingly believed coffee helped fuel their soldiers. Meanwhile, the Confederate South suffered vast food shortages due to strong Union blockades, and resorted to unique recipes (called receipts in the 19th century) to produce coffee substitutes. Read about cooking on the battlefront and the importance of coffee (the word ‘coffee’ appears more frequently than ‘rifle’ or ‘bullet’ in Civil War diaries).
Share what you think is most fascinating about a Civil War soldier’s diet AND post an image of a food item that you cannot live without. You can link to a photo on the web, or take a picture!
Read about what Union soldiers ate at PBS.org.
Read the NYT’s article “How Coffee Fueled the Civil War”
PLEASE SUBMIT YOUR POSTS BY MONDAY SEPTEMBER 22, 2014.
My own example of food photography: Duck confit and potatoes at Brasserie Mollard in Paris
I usually begin the blog in the History of Photography class with a New York Times article by the art critic Roberta Smith who is dismayed with the increasing use of cameras, especially cellphones by viewers when interacting with art. I ask my students to share their opinions about taking pictures of pictures but for our Art of Food learning community, I want to know what you think of the more prevalent practice of taking pictures of food. Read the NYT article “First Camera, Then Fork” on people who take pictures of food and then display them online. Taking pictures of food is so common nowadays that the comedian Adam Sacks produced a spoof commercial when the iPhone 5 was released that highlighted food photography. There are numerous tumblr and flickr groups dedicated to food like the flickr “I Ate This.”
Read the “First Camera, Then Fork” NYT article here.
Watch a parody ad of the “iPhone 5” for Food Photography
Share what you think about taking pictures of food, you may post an image if you wish.
Don’t forget to log in to your OpenLab account (you need an active CityTech email account to register/confirm your OpenLab account) and join the class (request membership!) in order to add a blog post.
See instructions on how to “post” and “comment” under “Blogging Guidelines” above.
PLEASE SUBMIT YOUR POSTS BY MONDAY SEPTEMBER 15, 2014.