November 29, 2015: Once again, there were more great food reads this week than could be included in one post. Here were some of my favorites. If you would like to share an article with other FoodAnthropology readers, please email it to LaurenRMoore@uky.edu.
There was an article about the decline in breakfast cereal consumption in the United States, as children identify less strongly with cereal characters and health trends favor Greek yogurt and hot cereals: Breakfast Cereal’s Last Gasp
I recently discovered the work of Michael Twitty, who is a scholar of “the foodways of Africa, enslaved African Americans…and the African and Jewish diasporas” and has a fantastic blog, Afroculinaria. Two pieces I enjoyed this week were A People’s History of Cornbread Stuffing, written for Vice with a companion post with pictures on Twitty’s blog. Then, for some Thanksgiving-related humor, Twitty also authored the satire post How to Survive Black Thanksgiving as a Non-Black Guest.
Through Twitty’s work, I discovered Vice’s food channel Munchies, which offers a satisfying array of deep-diving journalism, recipes, and entertaining pop articles (recovering from stressful holiday travel? You might sympathize with this woman who drank a whole bottle of cognac rather than surrender it to the TSA). Of their more serious work, there was a recent piece titled Cooking with Muxes, Mexico’s Third Gender, and a look at The Silent Epidemic Behind Nicaragua’s Rum.
The New York Times reported on recent genetic work suggesting that agriculture did more than increase rates of malnutrition and infectious disease. It has also been linked to broader DNA changes, including changes that altered height and skin color: Agriculture Linked to DNA Changes in Ancient Europe
There were two great pieces about the history of leftovers–first, An Economic History of Leftovers written by historian Helen Veit at The Atlantic. Then, Dr. Viet was interviewed at FoodTank about her work: Researching the Remains: A Leftovers Q&A with Food Historian Helen Veit
Treehugger profiled a new agricultural robot that uses environmental sensors to monitor plants and weed fields: This car-sized autonomous farm robot smashes weeds to death
Though it was released last year, readers may still be interested in this podcast on The Anthropology of Pie, by Stuff Mom Never Told You.
Sociological Images, at The Society Pages, the fantastic and prolific sociology blog, pulled up an old piece for their “Flashback Friday” series that may still be of interest here: Anorexia Mirabilis: Fasting in Victorian England and modern India. They also posted 23 Thanksgiving Food Facts, for fun.
Food writer Elizabeth G. Dunn wrote about The Myth of Easy Cooking, offering a brief history of the cookbook industry and the contemporary intersection of busy lives and a “food culture” in which an iceberg lettuce chopped and tossed with mayonnaise (quick cooking from the 1950s–and truly easy) is unacceptable.
With criticism for research that strategically downplayed the role of Coca-Cola’s sugary beverages in obesity, there was news that Coke’s top scientist is stepping down: Coke’s Chief Scientist, Who Orchestrated Obesity Research, Is Leaving
Finally, there was a piece in The New Yorker about Asian-American cooking that profiled several cookbooks and an upcoming PBS documentary Off the Menu, and reflects on the role of cookbooks in our lives. The author writes, “the belief that we can better understand one another by eating each other’s food quietly underwrites an increasingly expansive vision of American cuisine. Whether we can actually consume our way to cultural comprehension is, of course, another question entirely. And what if it’s your own culture you’re trying to understand?”: Chinese Food and the Joy of Inauthentic Cooking