Date of Award

January 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Geography & Geographic Information Science

First Advisor

Douglas Munski


The foods we eat and how they are prepared are shaped profoundly by where and how we live and our ethnic heritage. Specific dishes and food preparation are an intricate part of a culture’s ethnic signature. The passage of culinary knowledge through generations was accomplished by oral transmission and, more recently, cookbooks. With families becoming busier and current technological advances, new adaptations are joining traditional techniques in preserving the past. The Germans from Russia know all too well the challenges of preserving ethnic foodways. Despite not one, but two migrations, their traditional foodways of two hundred years ago can still be seen today in south central North Dakota. By focusing on the transference of foodways evidenced through the lives of the Germans from Russia in North Dakota, this thesis presents the methods in which foodway traditions have been transferred and adapted through the generations. I explore their historical and cultural background, analyze, and present ethnographic observations of men and women cooking, and sharing food. I also investigate cultural knowledge, assess results of survey instruments, and develop quantitative and qualitative evaluations of ethnic cookbooks and recipes. Foodways are still being transferred through generations today. The means of transference have been adapted to incorporate new technologies, but the ongoing importance of this culture’s ethnic signature remains present in south central North Dakota.