Dr. Meredith Abarca
What has led me to become a professor of Food Studies and Literature in the Department of English at the University of Texas at El Paso, is a life-long passion for food and for people’s stories, especially when these are about food. I define myself as “a child of the kitchen.” I grew up in restaurants, for a while I thought of becoming a professional chef, and then one day I found myself getting a Ph.D. and writing about the transformative power that food holds in all of our lives. Since then, I’ve continued to research and write about this power in Voices in the Kitchen (2006); Rethinking Chicana/o Literature Through Food: Postnational Appetites (2013), Latin@s’ Presence in the Food Industry: Changing How We Think about Food (2016), and in numerous articles in scholarly journals and edited collections. Through lectures and workshops, I’ve had opportunities of sharing the social, cultural, historical and philosophical complex dynamics that food plays in our lives in places like the Southern Foodways Alliance Symposium in Oxford, Mississippi; the University of Gastronomical Sciences in (Colormo) Parma, Italy; the University of Technology in Sidney, Australia; the University of Paris-Sorbonne, France; the University of Oslo, Norway; the University of Toronto, Canada, and numerous US academic settings. I’m also the creator, editor, and curator of El Paso Food Voices, an open source archive digital project, as well as El Paso Food Voices podcast series.