January 18, 2016: Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, FoodAnthro readers! There has been quite a bit of new in the past week. If you have a link you’d like to contribute to this round up, please email LaurenRMoore@uky.edu.
Of the reads I bookmarked this week to assign and discuss with a class, I most enjoyed Kate Norquay’s essay on What I Learned from Four Years Working at McDonalds.
The Southern Foodways Alliance had an essay on Tasting Laos in the North Carolina Mountains.
There were three separate pieces on chickens this week. Two focused on change in the poultry industry, the first questioning whether John Oliver’s segment on the poultry industry had an impact on poultry farmers. Politco thinks it might, as some Democratic lawmakers use the publicity to protect growers: John Oliver vs. Chicken
Along those lines, NPR’s The Salt reported on a shift toward cage-free houses for egg production: Most U.S. Egg Producers Are Now Choosing Cage-Free Houses
Last but not least in the chicken round-up, there was a brief report in the New York times on new funding for a research project that could be called “All About Chickens,” which will investigate both chicken past and questions like “how did chickens get associated with Easter?”: Chicken Weren’t Always Dinner for Humans
Netflix just announced a new Michael Pollan documentary, which will be a four-park series “that explores different methods of cooking and their evolutionary and cultural impacts on humankind, with the ultimate goal of ‘[issuing] a clarion call for a return to the kitchen in order to reclaim lost traditions and restore balance to our lives.'”It will debut February 19th: Netflix Announces New Michael Pollan Documentary Series, ‘Cooked’
In food allergy news, there was a recent study suggesting that blood cells found in newborns’ umbilical cords could predict food allergies: Cord Blood Cells Foretell Food Allergy
A bill in California that would have put warning labels on sugary drinks was defeated for the third year in a row, even as some research suggests both widespread support and efficacy: California Soda Warning Label Bill Dies as Research Suggests Efficacy
From the New York Times, Bettina Siegel discusses cultural and political reasons why making U.S. school lunches more like France would be difficult: The Real Problem with Lunch
From Lucky Peach, writer Adriane Quinlan encounters the entire world through the tasting room in the Coca Cola museum in Atlanta. Carbonated ethnography? Around the World in Eighty Cokes
Curated by the Southern Foodways Alliance, Cornbread Nation 2015 is a collection of southern food writing from last year. The best, in fact, at least if the SFA folks are right. Cornbread Nation 2015
As most readers have likely heard, a federal emergency has been declared over contaminated water supply in Flint, Michigan. In the Atlantic, David Graham raises questions about how the state of Michigan ended up poisoning the water supply in Flint and inflicting brain damage on children. Water is of course the essential food and the infrastructure that delivers it in much of the United States is in bad shape, raising the question about whether or not Flint’s problems will occur elsewhere. But this is also a question of democracy and politics, as Graham notes.
For an even more in depth view of the issues in Flint and elsewhere, this article by Alana Semuels, goes into how public policy in Michigan led to this situation: Aging Pipes Are Poisoning America’s Tap Water