New Books Network

Maria Veri and Rita Liberti

Gridiron Gourmet

Gender and Food at the Football Tailgate

University of Arkansas Press 2019

New Books in American StudiesNew Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in FoodNew Books in Gender StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in SociologyNew Books in SportsNew Books Network January 3, 2020 Keith Rathbone

Today we are joined by Maria Veri, Associate Professor of Kinesiology at San Francisco State University, and Rita Liberti, Professor of Kinesiology at California...

Today we are joined by Maria Veri, Associate Professor of Kinesiology at San Francisco State University, and Rita Liberti, Professor of Kinesiology at California State University, East Bay.  Together they are the authors of Gridiron Gourmet: Gender and Food at the Football Tailgate (University of Arkansas Press, 2019), one of the most compelling books on sports studies to come out this year.

In our conversation, we discussed the origins of tailgating in the United States, the way that tailgate gender roles changed throughout the 20th century; the interplay between the gender of tailgaters, cooking technologies, and food ways of tailgating; and the future possibilities and current limitations of the tailgating community.

In Gridiron Gourmet, Liberti and Veri trace the long history of American tailgate practices and use that history to unpack tailgating in several sites across the contemporary USA.  They base their study on a wide range of sources, including newspaper, cartoon, television shows, cookbooks, and ethnographic and observational research in locations as varied as the Bay Area, Buffalo, and Louisiana.  They discover how the practices of tailgating shifted from one emphasizing feminine domesticity in the first half of the 20th century to the valorisation of hyper masculinity in the 1970s.

Their work is organized thematically with chapters on technology and spectacle; gender, class and cooking; race, gender, and class on the black top; and the creation of long-term tailgating communities.  Considered together their research shows how tailgating provides men with “culinary cover” to enact traditionally female role such as cook and even nurturer in the shadow of the stadium.  Innovative tailgaters further expand their roles through creative reconstruction of masculine identities, even as not all people are able to equally participate in the tailgate lots.

Gridiron Gourmet will appeal to scholars broadly interested in sports studies, American football, food studies, and cultural studies.

Keith Rathbone is a lecturer at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. He researches twentieth-century French social and cultural history. His manuscript, entitled A Nation in Play: Physical Culture, the State, and Society during France’s Dark Years, 1932-1948, examines physical education and sports in order to better understand civic life under the dual authoritarian systems of the German Occupation and the Vichy Regime. If you have a title to suggest for this podcast, please contact him at