Welcome to Dr. Frederick Douglass Opie's personal website

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Jacksonian Democracy, Votes, and Food

Shaker Pie, this and other pie recipe below 
The Republican Primary in Florida is heating up with election day just around the corner. One common argument is that Governor Romney will win the primary because he has out spent his opponents 3 to 1.  As a Professor of History and Foodways this interpretation reminds me of the Jacksonian era. During the antebellum period party operatives used “election day treating,” a practice rooted in British political culture, to get people to vote (your vote in exchange for food and spirits—especially whisky and rum). Historically the tactic had a strong class dimension to it and particularly so after 1828 when Jacksonian Democrats increased popular participation in elections by reducing residency requirements for voting, eliminating the practice of voting by voice, and increasing access to voting places. For the poor election day meant a mouthwatering spread that might include in the words of traveler Adam Hodgson, “four or five turkeys on the table, and the greatest possible variety and profusion of meat, poultry, and pastry” and decanters full of brandy, whisky, and rum. When I think of an old put extremely good southern pastry, lemon shaker pie comes to mine. Here’s a recipe and some additional pies recipes that are often forgotten too. Also see the piece on history in the making in a Mississippi election today.

Stumping and Eating: Puerto Rican Barbecue

Stumping and Eating: Puerto Rican Tamales