Savory Statehood: Reading Display Highlights Culinary Diplomacy

An illustration of the globe positioned as a plate between a fork to its left and a spoon and knife to its right on a dark blue background.

Did you know that Lauinger Library hosts an incredible collection of cookbooks from around the world? Have you ever wondered how cuisine and culture affect international relations? This March and April, stop by the Recommended Reading shelf across from the circulation desk to browse an assortment of titles that explore the social and political side of food, curated by librarian Kim MacVaugh. If one piques your interest, you can check it out on the spot.

Culinary diplomacy, or gastrodiplomacy, is the sharing of culinary traditions through state and non-state actors as a way of spreading values and encouraging engagement across cultures. The oft-cited adage “the easiest way to win hearts and minds is through the stomach” reflects the belief that people can find common ground when they eat together. Whether it’s a state dinner or dorm takeout, meals offer an opportunity to learn about each other, our backgrounds, and our shared interests.

If you’d like to try cooking a new cuisine, consider My Abuelo’s Mexican Feast, A Taste of Persia, Pimentos and Piri Piri, or any of dozens of mouthwatering cookbooks found in Lau. For insight into how food affects global politics, look for Food in Zones of Conflict, Table Talk: Building Democracy One Meal at a Time, or Foodies: Democracy and Distinction in the Gourmet Foodscape.

To browse all books on the display virtually, check out the Culinary Diplomacy site. The library also wants to hear from you: send your feedback about this month's book display.