Cult Food (Online)

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Taught by Sarah Lohman

Sarah Lohman is a culinary historian and the author of the bestselling and critically acclaimed book Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine. She focuses on the history of American food as a way to access stories of women, immigrants, and people of color, and to address issues of racism, sexism, and xenophobia. Her work has been featured inTheWall Street Journal andThe New York Times, as well as onAll Things Considered; and she has presented across the country, from the Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington, DC to The Culinary Historians of Southern California. She is also 1/2 of the Masters of Social Gastronomy, a monthly food science and history talk at Caveat NYC, with Brainery co-founder Jonathan Soma. 



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*This is a live, online class via Zoom.*

In this online talk, Food Historian Sarah Lohman explores the often bizarre connections between food and America's cults.

America in the mid-nineteenth century is thought of as a time of repression, but it also birthed a legion of free-thinking, free-lovin', agrarian societies. Although these utopian groups were often focused on building a better world through food, many of these gatherings led to disaster. When the time comes to pick your cult, will you be smithing flatware to make a buck like the Oneida Community or subscribing to a radical vegetarian diet like the Fruitlands?

The agrarian cults of the 19th century have a direct connection to the Hippie cults of the 20th century. But like The Source Family, the free-love, vegan-focused cults of the American Southwest were all fun and games until someone declared themselves the Messiah. And in the 21st century, we'll focus on the proliferation of cults that use diet and fasting as a control technique: NXIVM, Weigh Down Workshop, and even LuLaRoe.


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