Using new archaeological data and colonial narratives, I reconstruct the menu of French colonial Louisiana with the aim of showing how the sensual and social experience of eating relates to the political rationalities of colonialism. In Louisiana, food practices enunciated a hierarchy of taste that positively valued Native American foods while showing how easily they could be “civilized” by French cooking practices. Cooking and eating were fundamentally colonial practices, and incorporated colonialism's inherent tensions and contradictions. Food practices were particularly important in French strategies to absorb the native into the colonial body and protect imperial culture against a constant assault on the senses.

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