This essay draws on critical studies of food, race, class, and environment to consider food's role in the cultivation of queer literary and political cultures in Appalachia. Texts such as Jeff Mann's Loving Mountains, Loving Men, a collection of poetry and essays, speak to a double-bind in which queer Appalachian writers often profess to find themselves: on the one hand, dismissed as coal-loving “white trash” by urban environmentalists; on the other, subjected to right-wing violence at home. Mann's writing negotiates this tension through poetic engagement with “hillbilly” gustatory traditions—namely, by adopting the recipe form. These poems, and the acts of foraging, preparing, and sharing food they represent, articulate queer communities gathered around tactile experiences of place. They also illustrate the promises and pitfalls of the recipe's representational potential. On the one hand, defining food by its regional character risks reiterating essentialist notions of nature and identity. On the other, focusing on food's disruption of conventional material boundaries neglects the lived social conditions facing marginalized peoples in the region. By focusing on the open-ended preparation of food rather than the end product, Mann mediates these extremes, typifying foodways, region, and queerness alike as ongoing phenomena.

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