The Covid Food Archive is a dynamic record of how the Covid-19 pandemic has changed our relationships with cooking and eating. Visitors are encouraged to contribute their own recipes, images, and stories.

 
 
The Covid Food Archive Logo

The Covid Food Archive is a dynamic record of how the Covid-19 pandemic has changed our relationships with cooking and eating. Visitors are encouraged to contribute their own recipes, images, and stories.

Background

Some of the earliest and most profound effects of the pandemic were felt in how we eat. In the spring of 2020, a sudden American vogue for baking left grocery store shelves barren of flour and yeast, while Instagram feeds filled with pictures of homemade sourdough. Dinner parties were postponed and, even now, eating together with friends and families carries a calculated risk. As the pandemic continues, restaurants remain among the businesses hardest hit by lockdowns, restrictions, and staffing shortages.

COVID-19 has deeply disrupted the ways we eat, cook, and think about food. This site creates an archive of what and how we have eaten during the pandemic.

The Covid Food Archive is managed by Philip Gleissner, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures at The Ohio State University, and Harry Kashdan, Ph.D., Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities at the University of Pennsylvania. Web design, graphic design, and technical assistance have been provided by Maria Palazzi, Professor of Design and Director of the Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design, Leigh Bonds, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Digital Humanities Librarian, Taylor Olsen, and Gabriela Miniello at The Ohio State University.

Researchers interested in working with data collected on the COVID Food Archive should write to Philip Gleissner at info@covidfoodarchive.org.

Background

Some of the earliest and most profound effects of the pandemic were felt in how we eat. In the spring of 2020, a sudden American vogue for baking left grocery store shelves barren of flour and yeast, while Instagram feeds filled with pictures of homemade sourdough. Dinner parties were postponed and, even now, eating together with friends and families carries a calculated risk. As the pandemic continues, restaurants remain among the businesses hardest hit by lockdowns, restrictions, and staffing shortages.

COVID-19 has deeply disrupted the ways we eat, cook, and think about food. This site creates an archive of what and how we have eaten during the pandemic.

The Covid Food Archive is managed by Philip Gleissner, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures at The Ohio State University, and Harry Kashdan, Ph.D., Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities at the University of Pennsylvania. Web design, graphic design, and technical assistance have been provided by Maria Palazzi, Professor of Design and Director of the Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design, Leigh Bonds, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Digital Humanities Librarian, Taylor Olsen, and Gabriela Miniello at The Ohio State University.




Researchers interested in working with data collected on the COVID Food Archive should write to Philip Gleissner at info@covidfoodarchive.org.

Research Notes

The COVID Food Archive can be mined for a range of insights about how practices of cooking and eating have changed over the course of the pandemic. Researchers might pursue questions about the types of dishes made or consumed during COVID-19, the use of particular ingredients, evolving attachments to heritage foods, consumption patterns in different locations, or more. For more project ideas or questions regarding editorial decisions made in the process of building this archive, contact Philip Gleissner at info@covidfoodarchive.org.

On Collections:

Contributions are assigned to collections by the editors of the archive to make it more accessible to the reader. For example, the items in the collection “Mediterranean Food Culture students, Spring 2021” were submitted by Dr. Kashdan’s spring 2021 class Italian 2061: Mediterranean Food Culture. The items in “CFA Legacy” were submitted during the first phase of this site and imported later, using the Omeka 2 Importer module. Due to the transition from Omeka to Omeka S, these imported items feature slightly different metadata, such as differently formatted dates and missing geolocations that keep them from being displayed on the map.

Site Development

The first iteration of the COVID Food Archive was programmed in Omeka Classic, but the present site runs on the newer Omeka S platform. Hosting is provided by Reclaim. The "Collecting" module from Omeka allows us to solicit stories, images, and recipes from our users, which are organized both by content type and under a constantly evolving system of tags generated by the project leads. The "Mapping" module additionally allows site contributors to have their contributions pinned to specific locations; site users can browse a public map of all contributions by clicking "Browse by Location" in the top menu bar.

Collections (accessible by clicking "Browse Collections" in the top menu bar) consist of groups of recipes, stories, and images curated by the project leads. One currently available collection groups contributions from students in a course at The Ohio State University; another allows site browsers to access every contribution which has an image attached.

Leigh Bonds suggested the use of the Omeka platform when this project was in its earliest planning stages. Philip Gleissner and Harry Eli Kashdan designed the original iteration of the site; the current version was designed by a team at the Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design at Ohio State: Maria Palazzi (lead), Gabriela Miniello (design) and Taylor Olsen (frontend/backend development).

About the Volume / Book

Forthcoming in May 2023, Resilient Kitchens: American Immigrant Foodways in a Time of Crisis (Rutgers University Press), is a stimulating collection of essays about the lives of immigrants in the United States before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, told through the lens of food. Their stories range from emotional reflections on hardship, loss, and resilience to journalistic investigations of racism in the American food system. Aimed at a popular audience and also designed to be suitable for use in undergraduate classrooms, the volume includes a vibrant mix of perspectives from professional food writers (Reem Kassis, Mayukh Sen), restaurateurs (Bonnie Frumkin Morales, Fernay McPherson), scholars (Krishnendu Ray, Guillermina Gina Núñez-Mchiri), activists (Sangeeta Lakhani, Geetika Agrawal), and more. Each contribution is accompanied by a recipe of special importance to the author, ranging from breads and cakes to elaborate dinner dishes. These recipes invite readers to materially engage with the essays. The volume features hand-drawn illustrations by Filipino-American artist Angelo Dolojan, gorgeous food photography, and images of pandemic life contributed by all of the authors.