The astronomical growth in food studies during the last decade as well as technological advances in communication, in food production, and in studies of climate change have contributed to increased diversity in the strands of interest in foodways as they intersect with utopian studies. This introductory essay to the special issue on utopian foodways acknowledges specific details of some of these changes and intersections, explains the origin of the issue in a 2013 workshop at the University of Kansas, and provides an overview of the essays included. These essays range chronologically and geographically from studies of seventeenth-century America (and earlier European influences) through nineteenth-century France, to American locales of the twentieth century, to imagined settings in fictional literature, and finally, to imagined communities created through diet books in the present. Thematically, they include analyses of images of abundance and lack in the past, “real” practices in the past and present, and imagined eating in the future. The essay concludes with a call for “speculative” futures in research, writing, and teaching about utopian food practices.

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