Building Houses Out of Chicken Legs by Psyche A. Williams-Forson

Building Houses Out of Chicken Legs

Chicken--both the bird and the food--has played multiple roles in the lives of African American women from the slavery era to the present. It has provided food and a source of income for their families, shaped a distinctive culture, and helped women define and exert themselves in racist and hostile environments. Psyche A. Williams-Forson examines the complexity of black women's legacies using food as a form of cultural work. While acknowledging t...

Details Building Houses Out of Chicken Legs

TitleBuilding Houses Out of Chicken Legs
Release DateJun 1st, 2006
PublisherUniversity of North Carolina Press
GenreFood and Drink, Food, Nonfiction, History, Cultural, African American, Food History, Race

Reviews Building Houses Out of Chicken Legs

  • Margaret Sankey
    Considered for the food class, this is an anthropological-historical study of the foodways of African-Americans Americans, from the economic reality that women and children could raise chickens for a little extra money on very little resources, selling fried chicken to train passengers for extra income (or making box lunches because of non-existent or segregated eating facilities), the oral histories of the rise and fall of the Coon chicken franc...
  • Nijla Mumin
    This is by far one of the most interesting books I've ever read. It explores the links between black american history/culture and the food we eat, drawing from extensive primary documents and research. It poses that food within the black experience, especially chicken, not as something of stereotype, but actually a tool of resistance and independence (as enslaved black women were able to sell it at a time when they were considered property) and i...
  • John
    A look at chicken in African-American history and contemporary culture, the ways women in particular have used chickens and cooking as a source of agency. Interesting in some parts, but problematic at others. She wants Kara Walker to be more explicit about the intentions of her art, for instance, which seems absolutely unfeasible. Got to talk to the author on the phone for our class, though, and she seems a nice, intelligent person.
  • Katie Wilson
    While I was expecting this book to be more in line with the “food writing” that I like reading, it contained much more cultural/race/gender theory than I was expecting, and quite frankly, could handle.Read Full Review:
  • Frankie
    I must be terribly naive. I expected a book about the great heritage of Black people and great cooking. This is a book about prejudice. Most of it was prejudice I didn't even know existed. And I would have read it with interest if it hadn't been so dry.
  • Ai Miller
    This book was a great look at the complications of stereotypes surrounding chicken and Black women, and really resting in those complications and resisting easy answers. It was very tenderly done, and I really appreciated the care with which Williams-Forson handled the various issues at play: not just the stereotypes and answering them, but also the lived experiences of Black women regarding their relationships to women. For that careful handling...