Alyssa Sperry and The Salt Road

Alyssa Sperry is a classically trained Pastry Chef, certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Community Herbalist, and Food Researcher. She has received her B.A. with honors from Washington State University, where she studied anthropology and history. She is currently a Master’s candidate in the Department of International (Global) Studies with specializations in Food Studies and African Studies at the University of Oregon. Her interest are in food and foodways, particularly the historical and contemporary aspect of cultural significance pertaining to food and identity. She specializes in salt research where her current work is researching the topic of salt through the framework of food and identity formation focusing on the island of Jamaica in relations to two African-derived subcultures: Maroons and Rastafarians. The research aims to understand how cultural ideas and beliefs surrounding salt have been passed through generations.

Alyssa’s curiosity with food has also led her to her fascination with food and gender. This has led to her devoted admiration for women like Julia Child and Mary Prince whom were two strong women that changed the world with food influence. By looking at the relationship with food and gender, Alyssa has begun to research other women and how they overcame struggles in life that otherwise might have prevented them from becoming who they are. She hopes to take what she learns from these women to provide other women a means to keep fighting, keep thriving, and keep moving forward regardless of the hardship.

The love for food and admiration for strong women have created a cross-roads for Alyssa to integrate both interest into a blog that will expand on specific topics. Alyssa choose to refer to her blog as “The Salt Road” because salt roads historically were drench in pain, suffering, reward, preservation, life, renewal, and riches. Salt was a valuable sought-out mineral that almost anyone would search high and low for a road leading to the source. Alyssa refers to her current journey in life as “The Salt Road” because of its bumps of hardship and smooth riding of joyful moments all leading down a path of radical self-love. Radical self-love is Alyssa’s salt as it is worth its weight in salt and is highly valuable to acquire.

Alyssa has received multiple awards including, but not limited to the Slape Award, Folger Library grant, and the Library Research Excellence Award. Alyssa has presented at several conferences as a plenary speaker and panelist at the International Congress on the Anthropology of Salt and World History Association conference. And a soon to be published author with several publications on the way.

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