Jeffrey Pilcher has been a leading figure in the emerging scholarly field of food history. From an early research focus on Mexico and Latin America, he has expanded his scope to food in world history. He is the author of ¡Que vivan los tamales! Food and the Making of Mexican Identity (1998), The Sausage Rebellion: Public Health, Private Enterprise, and Meat in Mexico City(2006), and Food in World History (2006). His latest book, Planet Taco: A Global History of Mexican Food (2012), seeks to historicize authenticity and show how Mexico’s national cuisine developed through global interactions, particularly with Mexican American cooks.
As the articles editor for the peer-reviewed journal Global Food History, Professor Pilcher has published special issues developing innovative concepts such as Culinary Infrastructure and Migrant Marketplaces. He also edited the Oxford Handbook of Food History (2012) and a four-volume anthology from Bloomsbury entitled Food History: Critical and Primary Sources (2014).
He is currently working on two major projects. The first is dedicated to mapping and analyzing histories of multicultural foods in Toronto, from the First Nations to the contemporary age of global migration. This SSHRC-supported project is designed to facilitate active participation from student researchers, who leverage their classroom learning as well as linguistic and cultural competencies to record the homeland foodways and cultural adaptations of Toronto and Scarborough’s diverse immigrant communities. Students who wish to participate are encouraged to contact Professor Pilcher. Research materials, including interactive historical maps, stories of culinary icons, and oral histories are publicly available on the project website:
His second current project examines the world history of beer over the past two hundred years, following the spread of European lager through networks of trade, migration, and empire. The research moves between the global and the local to explore how European brews became situated within the drinking cultures of Mexican pulque, Japanese sake, and South African sorghum beer, among others.
Professor Pilcher helped to establish the Food Studies minor program at UT Scarborough and he teaches classes on the history of food and drink in Latin America and around the world. He has a B.S. in mathematics and computer science from the University of Illinois, an M.A. in Mexican history from New Mexico State University, and a Ph.D. in Mexican cultural history from Texas Christian University. He has taught at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina, the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy.
B.S. in Mathematics and Computer Science (University of Illinois)
M.A. in Mexican History (New Mexico State University)
Ph.D. in Mexican Cultural History (Texas Christian University)