What FoodAnthropology Is Reading Now, August 15 edition

Since I spend an inordinate amount of time reading about food, I thought it would be great to share articles that I’d been reading. The only problem with this plan is that I hear about many of my favourite food reads right here on the FoodAnthro (and that I unapologetically use British spelling). So you’ve guessed by now that I’m not Lauren or David. I’m new. My name is Jo Hunter-Adams, and I’m based at University of Cape Town (I’m South African, though I spent my twenties becoming Bostonian enough to follow the Red Sox from Cape Town). I’m going to be writing these columns every two weeks.

Please do help me by telling me about food stories that are interesting, informative or weird (or any other adjective you like). You can email me at hunterjo at gmail.com.

The Guardian wrote about Italy’s policy focused on allowing donated food. “But the move to encourage Italians to use doggy bags to take leftovers home from restaurants is perhaps one of the biggest cultural changes envisioned by the law. In many restaurants, and among many Italians, such requests are rare.”

The Conversation writes about the challenge of agricultural technology keeping pace with climate change , where the rapidity of temperature change sometimes means that by the time a new crop is ready to be used, the temperature has already changed too much for it to the advantage that the scientists were selecting for in the first place.

Corinna Hawkes argues in The Guardian that we need to break down some of the dichotomies around food supplies, in favour of a “diversity of approaches:”

A better food supply will be built by lots of small strategies in an overarching framework, not by any big single mega solution.

Here’s a South African article about bread, which is a main staple in poor communities, using a very familiar narrative about the value/morality of homemade food (while noting the limitations of those, particularly for a disabled baker):

Currently affordable bread is not sufficiently nutritious. One of the biggest challenges in poor communities in South Africa is a lack of education and knowledge about healthy bread. These communities will need to be taught about the nutritional value of stone-ground flour and bread baked using timeless, non-automated methods.

To borrow from Tolstoy: all good food is alike, but each bad food is bad in its own way. Irina Dimitrescu writes a fascinating article in The Atlantic about the subjectivity and fascination of “bad” food:

How many more scrumptious, luscious desserts, or meltingly tender meats can readers stand to hear about? How many more inspirational grandmas, tending to the stove? Badness, on the other hand, is specific and endlessly varied. There are so many culinary catastrophes, each one with its own individual meaning.

Is there anything in the world of food writing you especially enjoyed this week? Tell us about it.

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