"Folklore, which delves into the culture of peoples, may be a more important study about real life--private life--than standard, formal history. . . . One of the lessons that we have learned--or are beginning to learn--from the study of folklore is the importance of food and eating customs in unravelling the history of a people. . . .
Eats may provide as much information about the way we live and see the world as the people we elect to office or the houses we build or the books we approve or the movies we film. . . . The foods we eat, the way we eat them, and the imagination we bestow upon their preparation will tell [much about us] to historians, folklorists, and anthropologists." --James Ward Lee, from the foreword