In this this interview, Dr. Carrie Tippen
talks with Carol J. Adams
about two new books: Burger,
from the Object Lessons series by Bloomsbury (2018), and Protest Kitchen,
a cookbook with over 50 vegan recipes and practical daily actions from Conari press. Both books were published in 2018. Audiences probably know Adams best as the author of The Sexual Politics of Meat,
now available in a 25th anniversary edition from Bloomsbury. In Burger,
Adams offers a history of the hamburger as a cultural object, as much a food item as a symbol in American culture. Through the lens of a vegan feminist critique (Adams describes herself as “a heretic to the religion of the burger”), Adams explores the links between the hamburger and American identity through a history of cattle and colonialism, technology and slaughter, gender and marketing, and the “Teflon” burger’s insistence on maintaining its hold even through “Mad Cow” scares and indisputable evidence of environmental crises. Adams concludes by looking toward the future plant-based “Moonshot” burgers which, as Adams argues, have the ability to replace the beef patty as “the unmarked, slaughterless burger” without losing the cultural symbolism of the Burger. Protest Kitchen
is a cookbook that pairs recipes with specific social and environmental problems and describes how those recipes are acts of resistance or steps toward solving that problem. Adams and Messina take on climate change, food justice, and misogyny while offering advice for “cultivating compassion” and self-care as an act of resistance. Together, the two books are an excellent example of the ways that Adams’s work has always spoken easily to both scholars and popular audiences, and the ways that her work is both highly theoretical and remarkably practical.
Carol J. Adams is a feminist-vegan advocate, activist, and independent scholar. She is the co-editor of several important anthologies, including most recently Ecofeminism: Feminist Intersections with Other Animals and the Earth
(with Lori Gruen). Carol is also the author of books on living as a vegan including Even Vegans Die: A Practical Guide to Caregiving, Acceptance, and Protecting Your Legacy of Compassion,
with co-authors Patti Breitman, and Virginia Messina. Follow Adams on Twitter at _CarolJAdams.
Carrie Helms Tippen is Assistant Professor of English at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, PA, where she teaches courses in American Literature. Her new book, Inventing Authenticity: How Cookbook Writers Redefine Southern Identity
(University of Arkansas Press), examines the rhetorical strategies that writers use to prove the authenticity of their recipes in the narrative headnotes of contemporary cookbooks. Her academic work has been published in
Food and Foodways,
Southern Quarterly, and
Food, Culture, and Society.