January 24, 2016: Hello FoodAnthropology readers. Doubtless, some of you are getting buried in the East Coast snowpocalypse, and others are closely following the political race in caucus states. We have reads for both groups, and much more:
There were warnings this week for the snow-bound: do not eat the snow. Or, if you do: do not eat the first snow. Studies have shown that snow absorbs toxic pollutants from the air, and it’s possible that the freezing temperatures could cause the release of additional toxic compounds: Snow Soaks Up Toxic Pollutants In The Air, Study Shows
There was also speculation from a number of sources about Americans’ pre-storm panics. Why, given the wide variety of shelf-stable sustenance available, do Americans make a run on milk, bread, and (sometimes) eggs? A 2005 article from the Washington Post describes it as a “symbolic survival schema”–invoking manna and mothers’ milk–while the psychologists interviewed for “Milk, Bread, and Eggs: The Trinity of Winter-Storm Panic Shopping” suggest that the short shelf life of these items offers a psychological promise that storm will end soon. The only anthropologist consulted for the piece reminds us that it’s not just milk and bread: alcohol is also a pre-storm staple for many.
If alcohol was one of your pre-storm bulk buys, you may be interested in article from National Geographic’s The Plate discussing the long history of hangover cures: From Fried Canary to Pickled Plums, History’s Questionable Hangover Cures
In October 2015, cheesemonger Gordon Edgar released Cheddar: A Journey to the Heart of America’s Most Iconic Cheese. The Splendid Table interviewed him recently, and the short interview sheds some light on the history of cheesemaking and, along with it, the US food system: The history of cheddar cheese reflects the development of the U.S. food system
Anthropology News put the spotlight on a forthcoming book that may be of interest to food anthropologists: Eating NAFTA: Free Trade, Food Politics and the Destruction of Mexico, from anthropologist Alyshia Gálvez: Eating NAFTA
Pacific Standard reported on a dentist-turned-sugar-industry-investigator is using sugar industry archives to prove “that Big Sugar steered scientists away from looking at the ingredients’ harmful effects”: The Former Dentist Uncovering Sugar’s Rotten Secrets
The Atlantic published a series of stunning photographers from a year in the life of an American wheat farmer: Faith, Family, and the American Farmer
Finally, a moment of bipartisan consensus: on the campaign trail Raw Hot Are Where It’s At, as Hillary Clinton munches raw peppers and Jeb Bush makes spicy guac to stay healthy on the go.