We have had a brief summer hiatus here in the FoodAnthropology reading and Tour de France watching department, during which we have, in fact, been doing some reading (among other things). Here, then, is a little list of items you may want to read or share with your colleagues, students, friends, or random strangers on social media. And if you find any nifty items out there about food, nutrition, anthropology, etc., that you would like to share with our readers, please send a link and very brief description to email@example.com.
First, an article on the state of food writing in the United States today. Amanda Hesser, from Food52, and Adam Sachs, from Saveur, discuss diversity, investigative journalism, click bait, and food media in general.
This article from the Atlantic looks at the reasons why salads are associated with women, at least in the US, and brings a nice food studies perspective to the broader question of cross cultural perceptions of health and taste in food.
The U.S. elections are impending and one might think that food, nutrition, and agriculture would be hot issues. One would, of course, be wrong. At Food First, Christopher Cook rails against this situation, arguing for the centrality of these issues. Borrowing from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, the New Food Economy web site provides a nice little comparison of where the two major party platforms stand on key food and agriculture issues. Then Dan Mitchell, reacting to Cook’s piece, analyzes why neither party is making a big deal out of food or agriculture issues at this time. This goes far beyond the simple fact that not a lot of voters work in agriculture and, given the historic importance of food in shaping the political history of nations, raises great questions about American politics, economy, and culture. And Tom Philpott, in Mother Jones, speculates about which food and agriculture issues a future Clinton administration might focus on. This could be useful stuff if you want to spark a debate among students this fall.
Meanwhile, it turns out that kids still need to eat school lunches and the government still needs to regulate those lunches…and doing so is seen as an opportunity to make political points. At Forbes, Nancy Fink Huehnergarth outlines the politics of school lunch rule making.
Climate change is making it more difficult for small communities in places like Alaska to acquire the subsistence foods that they depend upon. Although this particular story focuses on very small groups of people in a remote region of the planet, it seems like climate change is going to have an impact on food supplies for many more people in the near future.
Native Americans are still fighting for justice within the food system, as this piece from Food First indicates. As part of their “Dismantling Racism in the Food System” series, Hartman Deetz writes about the connections between fishing rights, recognition, and economic development for the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe in Massachusetts.
800,000 years of oyster middens. Biologists and archaeologists from the Smithsonian have put together a huge data set that allows them to track the relationship between oysters and humans in Chesapeake Bay over a really long period of time. They have figured out the impact of human harvesting of oysters on oyster size, for instance. Drawing on some ideas about Native American oyster practices, they have some oyster management suggestions for today as well.
From Anthropology News, Andrew Newman interviews Alex Hill, epidemiologist and applied anthropologist with the Detroit Health Department. They discuss food access issues in the city, including the idea of a food desert, urban farming, and much more, including a nifty mapping project web site.
From Gastropod, a podcast focused on food, science, and history, the story of how so many things in American supermarkets, including a lot of processed foods, came to be labeled as kosher. When rabbis needed to become scientists…and how the kosher labeling system is itself a result of the industrialization of food in the United States.
The “Mediterranean diet” seems to have been a “thing” in medical circles for nearly as long as the idea of a “Mediterranean cultural region” was a thing in anthropology. What do people in the region think of the diet? Xaq Frohlich writes about the discovery and marketing of the Mediterranean diet in Spain in this article.
It seems fitting to finish this round up with something sweet. As your correspondent had a very brief ice cream truck driving career, this story really struck a chord (pun more or less intended). Ice cream trucks have iconic music. Often, the tune is “Turkey in the Straw.” There is some rather interesting history behind that little tune and Richard Parks, at Lucky Peach, has written about it.