So, inspired by the ketchup thread, I've been digging through old cookbooks at the library for a few hours, which has led to two things: 1. the conclusion that some of the best paleo cookbooks were written hundreds of years ago (seriously--i might have to start a blog!) and 2. the following question that I still am having trouble phrasing...
How did it come to be that in wide swaths of America, with the exception some regional and ethnic cuisines, that traditional peasant foods (I'm thinking game meat, offal, etc.) are typically available or considered desirable to only a small segment of the population--namely the rural poor (who hunt or have family that do) and rich urbanites? Does anyone have any theories about or could anyone point me to a culinary history book on how these foods went from being peasant foods to, for lack of a better term, fancy foods?
To clarify a bit--when I lived in NYC, my boyfriend at the time's well-off grandparents used to take us to high end restaurants and talk to me about their meals (venison, rabbit, liver) as if I, as a poor person who had grown up in a rural area, had never heard of these delicacies. Coming from a hunting family, I was always "WTF? I grew up eating deer every day!" And now, living in a Maine city, I look at the menus for local restaurants (examples: hugos and evangaline) and I drool--paleo options ripe for the picking--bacon dusted pig ears, sweetbreads, rabbit terrine, duck. But these are restaurants way out of my price range and comfort level. Unfortunately, in my super white city, they are also some of the only that serve offal or interesting paleo friendly meals. How did this happen in the US?
I know colonists have always taken meals from those they colonize, exoticized and then appropriated them. But how/why, in America, have we exoticized our own traditional foodstuffs, especially at the cost of our palate breadth and health? Is it a symptom of the convenience food advertising juggernaut starting in the early-to-mid 20th century convincing us these things were backward? Or is it part of the historical revisionism that erased what traditional American cuisine was in order to bolster the lipid hypothesis, relegating certain foods to French restaurants that are seen as hoity-toity in America? Or something else entirely?