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'This Is The Plate': Utah Food History, Culture, And Folklore On Thursday's Access Utah


The first book-length treatment of Utah’s distinctive food heritage, “This is the Plate” traces Utah’s food history from pre-contact Native American times through the arrival of multinational Mormon pioneers, miners, farmers, and other immigrants to today’s moment of “foodie” creativity, craft beers, and “fast-casual” restaurant-chain development.

Contributors also explore the historical and cultural background for scores of food-related tools, techniques, dishes, traditions, festivals, and distinctive ingredients from the state’s religious, regional, and ethnic communities as well as Utah-based companies. And of course, the book covers Jell-O salads, funeral potatoes, fry sauce, and the distinctive “Utah scone.” 

The book’s editors Carol Edison, Eric Eliason, and Lynne McNeill join us for Thursday’s Access Utah.

Carol A. Edison retired as director of the Folk Arts Program of the Utah Arts Council in 2011. In 1986 she established the Chase Home Museum of Utah Folk Arts, the nation’s only museum dedicated to a state collection of contemporary folk art.  Edison is a recipient of the American Folklore Society’s Benjamin A. Botkin Prize for lifetime achievement in public folklore.


Eric A. Eliason is professor of English at Brigham Young University and specializes in folklore. His books include: The J. Golden Kimball Stories; Wild Games: Hunting and Fishing Traditions in North America (with Dennis Cutchins); Latter-day Lore: Mormon Folklore Studies (with Tom Mould); and The Island of Lace: Drawn Threadwork on Saba in The Dutch Caribbean (with Scott Squire).


Lynne S. McNeill is assistant professor of folklore in the English Department at Utah State University. She is author of the popular textbook Folklore Rules, co-editor of Slender Man is Coming: Creepypasta and Contemporary Legends on the Internet, and reviews editor for the journal Contemporary Legend. She has made several appearances on national television and radio programs.


Tom Williams worked as a part-time UPR announcer for a few years and joined Utah Public Radio full-time in 1996. He is a proud graduate of Uintah High School in Vernal and Utah State University (B. A. in Liberal Arts and Master of Business Administration.) He grew up in a family that regularly discussed everything from opera to religion to politics. He is interested in just about everything and loves to engage people in conversation, so you could say he has found the perfect job as host “Access Utah.” He and his wife Becky, live in Logan.