Author Archives: laurenrmoore

What FoodAnthropology Is Reading Now, June 10 Edition

Hello FoodAnthro readers. If you have articles you’d like to share in future round-ups, please send the link and a brief description to Thanks to the readers who provided the content for this week!

We are in the month of Ramadan–which began June 6th this year–meaning the internet abounds with articles documenting, debating, and explaining the month of fasting. Some resources food anthropologists may want to be aware of include the #RamadanDiaries hashtag on Twitter and accompanying blog series over at Savage Minds.

Fusion featured tips from Muslim food bloggers on surviving and enjoying Ramadan fasting, Vox offered some basics in the form of 9 Questions You Were Too Embarrassed to Ask about the holy month, and The Atlantic wrote about how Muslims in Nordic countries handle sunrise-to-sunset fasting when the sun never sets: How to Fast for Ramadan in the Arctic.

From the end of May, Anthony Bourdain shared a snapshot of sharing a meal with President Obama in Hanoi: Six True Things About Dinner with Obama

Gastropod came back recently with an episode dedicated to one of humanity’s long-standing hobbies: beer. They take listeners from pre-industrial brewing to contemporary trends in Everything Old is Brew Again

NPR covered the heated and intractable debates in New Jersey over what to call the state’s signature pork product which, as the reader who submitted the article commented, “sounds like Spam or baloney”: New Jerseyans Chew Over What To Call Their Favorite Pork Product

Ancient rice and beans allow archaeologists to trace links between Madagascar and ancient Indonesia, as reported in the Washington Post (Signs of Madagascar’s first settlers discovered — and they came from 3,000 miles away). Or, if you prefer, the full report is here (Ancient Crops Provide First Archaeological Signature of the Westward Austronesian Expansion)

And finally, from the Washington Post, a story of about how coffee is displacing tea in England: The Slow Death of the Most British Thing There Is

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What FoodAnthropology Is Reading Now: May 26th Edition

May 26, 2016: Hello FoodAnthropology Readers,

We have a short but worthwhile round up for you this week. As always, if you have a link you’d like to see included, please send it to with a short blurb.

From NPR, journalist Kat Chow considers her father’s use of the term “Oriental” to describe Asians, in the context of his own history as a sometime owner of a Chinese restaurant and her experience working in a Chinese/Italian fusion restaurant herself: My ‘Oriental’ Father: On the Words We Use to Describe Ourselves.

If you’re going to be in the Detroit area this weekend, you may want to check out the conference Eating Insects Detroit: Exploring the Culture of Insects as Food and Feed, which will take place at Wayne State University May 26-28.

How has food assistance for poor people been linked to work in the new American welfare landscape? Maggie Dickinson explores this question in the latest issue of American Ethnologist: Working for Foodstamps: Economic Citizenship and the Post-Fordist Welfare State in New York City

Emily Contois taught a course on Food and Gender in US Popular Culture this year at Brown University. Her students produced a fascinating blog: Food and Gender in US Popular Culture.

And in a related (with a gender focus) development, check out this article about a new television show focusing on women in farming: New “FarmHer” TV Show Features the Rock Star Women of Agriculture.

Rhubarb is, in the opinion of at least one of this blog’s editors, clearly a culinary gift from the gods to humanity. The leaves, however, are poison. How poison? Read the fascinating story here: Does Rhubarb Deserve Its Killer Reputation?

Following up with more fruit (and following up on last week’s reference to a banana museum), it is time to debunk the banana history we think we know: Bananas!.

The latest episode of Gravy, the podcast from the Southern Foodways Alliance, explores food and environmental racism in Mossville, Louisiana. Listen here: What’s Growing in Mossville?

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What FoodAnthro Is Reading Now: April 27th Edition

April 27th: Hello FoodAnthro readers, after a few weeks away, we have quite a collection of food news for your Wednesday:

In the New York Times, Chef Dan Barber looks into the practices and reasoning behind making kosher for Passover wheat. If you have ever read Mary Douglas on the abominations of Leviticus, you will find this fascinating: Why Is This Matzo Different From All Other Matzos? An unintended side effect of kosher law: better tasting food

A series from the Tampa Bay Times on whether or not farm-to-table claims in restaurants are true…or fake. Not like that Portlandia chicken sketch, for sure: At Tampa Farm-to-Table Restaurants, You’re Being Fed Fiction

The writers at the Southern Foodways Alliance on being in Mississippi while that state emphasizes discrimination again: The SFA Take: Everybody Knows About Mississippi…

Why do so many Chinese restaurants have similar names? The Washington Post investigates: We Analyzed the Names of Almost Every Chinese Restaurant in America. This Is What We Learned

In The Guardian, a long read about the history of sugar, our health, and nutritional advice: The Sugar Conspiracy

Gastropod released a fascinating podcast on the history of citrus and current threats to citrus groves in Museums and the Mafia: The Secret History of Citrus

There were reports on how bulk retailer Costco is trying to accommodate shoppers’ desires for organic foods: Costco gets creative to meet shoppers’ huge appetite for organics

RAFI has released a trailer for its upcoming documentary Under Contract, about the struggles of poultry farmers. It is embedded here, in an article responding to a NYT column about the cost of cheap meat: The New York Times: Animal Cruelty or the Price of Dinner

Studies have shown that fast food consumption is linked to higher levels of phthalates, which are used to produce plastics: If You Eat Fast Food You’re Getting a Generous Helping of Toxic Chemicals

An article in The New Yorker profiles Gustu, a restaurant in La Paz, Bolivia, and questions whether an upscale restaurant can also benefit the poor: The Tasting Menu Initiative

The USDA is proposing stricter animal welfare rules for organic meats: Agriculture Department is proposing stricter animal welfare standards for organic chicken and meat

As always, if you have a link you’d like to share, you may send it to


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What FoodAnthro Is Reading Now: April 3 Edition

April 3, 2016: Hello FoodAnthro readers, the past week has been overflowing with food news. If you have something you’d like to contribute for future weeks, please email it to

First, there was a  response to links featured in the last roundup, the NPR story about Rick Bayless and When Chefs Become Famous Cooking Other Cultures’ Food. In response, there were articles calling for acknowledgement for all the Mexican cooks who also cook other peoples’ food: Let Us Now Praise OC’s Mexican Cooks; and It’s Okay to Cook “Other People’s Food,” But You Better Be Ready to Talk About It; and, finally, for readers who really want to wade into this debate, The Problem Isn’t Rick Bayless Cooking Mexican Food-It’s That He’s a Thin-Skinned Diva. We can end the battle of Bayless with Civil Eats’ thoughtful piece Beyond Talk: Searching for Real Solutions to Food Appropriation

The James Beard Foundation announced its nominees for the 2016 James Beard Award, and then Longreads followed up with Six James Beard Finalists You Might Have Missed: A Reading List

Civil Eats interviewed Jonathan Gold, subject of the new documentary City of Gold, and only food writer to have ever won a Pulitzer Prize: Jonathan Gold on Sustainability, Food Tribalism, and Eating “Lowish” on the Food Chain

Priceonomics had an interesting piece on the American food industry and the power it wields in our politics and nutritional advice: The Food Industrial Complex

The Huffington Post offered the article Here’s How 8 Different Countries Officially Define What ‘Healthy Eating’ Is, which–you guessed it–compares nutritional advice from across the world and argues that the advice is more similar than it is different.

The Dish argued that Food is made by people and, therefore, food issues are fundamentally socio-political–and our national conversation around food should change to reflect that.

In the same vein, there was a series of Riveting Photos of Migrant Workers Remind Us Who Really Harvests Our Food–and, in a nice change of pace from many photo essays about migration and food-related labor, these photos come from around the world.

While this is from February, rather than the last week, there was a great essay On Being Black in the Kitchen: Edouardo Jordan on the lack of black chefs in fine dining published in Lucky Peach.

The Boston Globe reported on efforts to fight childhood hunger by distributing produce in an elementary school: How to help fight childhood hunger? Open a market inside a school.

Southern Foodways Alliance wrote about The Georgia Peach in Black and White: Civil Rights in the Shadow of Georgia’s Signature Crop, which ties the peach to Georgia’s messy racial politics–worth reading, and includes great photos.

Over at The Salt, there was an article about how Your Quinoa Habit Really Did Help Peru’s Poor. But There’s Trouble Ahead.

Civil Eats has their own food news round up, which you won’t want to miss: All the News That’s Fit to Eat: BPA is Still in Cans, Whole Foods’ Move to Slow-Growing Chickens, and CA’s Minimum Wage Boost

Politico reported on how U.S. Companies Make Case for Keeping Cuba Organic, and how U.S. markets could benefit from a ready source of organic bananas and coffee

There was an article about gender in the food industry–specifically, that Food Tech is Just Men Rebranding What Women Have Done for Decades. Soylent? Remember Slimfast?

Finally, some humor to start your week off on the right foot:

At The New Yorker, I’m Finally Taking Responsibility and Blaming All My Problems on Processed Foods

And, a Tumblr that has recently gained traction and has been turned into a sad? hilarious? hilariously sad? book: Dimly Lit Meals for One


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What FoodAnthro Is Reading Now: March 23rd Edition

March 23rd, 2016:

From the podcast The Sporkful, an episode titled “Other People’s Food,” which discusses the pros and cons of culinary appropriation in an interview with celebrity chef Rick Bayless: Other People’s Food

When you’re finished with that podcast, you can jump over to Gastropod for their newest cast focused on the history and science of caffeine: Caffeine: The World’s Most Popular Drug

Kraft Foods this week revealed that they removed artificial dyes and preservatives from their iconic macaroni and cheese–months ago. Over 50 million boxes sold without anyone noticing the change: Kraft Reveals Revamped Mac and Cheese 50 Million Boxes Later

And, in other news from food giants, Mars announced that it would begin labeling GMO ingredients in its products: The Maker of M&Ms and Snickers Is Adding GMO Labels to its Products

While you’re thinking about GMOS, you may want to read this Politico piece on Vermont’s impact on GMO labeling around the country: How Vermont beat Big Food

An article in The Atlantic questions the benefits (and drawbacks) of sugar taxes, which are gaining favor around the world to fight obesity: The Wages of Sin Taxes

St. Patrick’s Day was a week ago, and there was a flurry of great articles addressing the holiday and, in particular, the food with which we celebrate it: at NPR, Feast Like It’s 399: What Would St. Patrick Eat?; at the American Anthropological Association,  Sham and the Rock on 17th March, St. Patrick’s Day; an old one from NPR on The Dark History of Green Food on St. Patrick’s Day, and from The New York Times, Corned Beef and Cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day? Not So Irish, Historians Say

Finally, Civil Eats profiled a new book that focuses on labor issues in the restaurant industry, and aims to be a “guide for anyone who eats out and anyone who wants to eat better and more ethically”: ‘Forked’ Tells the History of Tipped Labor and Offers a Guide to Dining Ethically

As always, if you have a link you’d like to include in a future round up, please email it to



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What FoodAnthropology Is Reading Now: March 14 Edition

March 14, 2016: Hi FoodAnthro readers, we have quite a collection of stories for you this week. As always, if you’d like to submit a story for the  round up you can email it to:

First, there has been ongoing controversy at Iowa State University following the collection of over 57,000 student signatures in December 2015–and handed to university administrators in February 2016–expressing concern over research involving genetically modified bananas. The research involved a feeding study in which university undergraduates ate the modified bananas, and subsequent support for the researcher from university administrators. The contest can be followed here:

Genetically Modified Bananas Spark Controversy

When a Banana is Much More than a Banana

Letter: ISU Dean Supports Researcher

CivilEats posted a great food news round up of their own, which I won’t replicate here but instead will direct you to–it includes data on tax contributions of undocumented immigrants in the United States, the resignation of the FDA’s top administrator, antibiotic-free meat at In-and-Out, and a story about Americans’ processed food consumption: All the News That’s Fit to Eat

NPR featured a story about ugly produce coming to a Whole Foods near you: From Ugly to Hip: Misfit Fruits and Vegetables Coming to a Whole Foods Near You

The Secret Ingredient podcast, this time focusing on the future of food via SXSW. Soylent (which “embodies the spirit of SXSW”), what might happen to real food, etc. Provocative, of course:
A short summary of a study of the impact of climate change on African diets: African Diet, Jobs Will Be Hit Hard by Climate Change
What should we think about racism in farming? How can we address the lack of African American farmers? Activist Farmers Are Telling Corporate Food Industry That Black Lives Matter
Finally, learning from kitchen labor. Short, but cute: Some Of Life’s Best Lessons Can Be Found In ‘Lousy’ Kitchen Jobs

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What FoodAnthropology Is Reading Now: March 2 Edition

Hello FoodAnthropology readers, we have a short round-up this week, featuring a lively internet debate about the nature of American millenials. As always, please send any links you’d like to share to

In the Chronicle of Higher Education, a piece on hunger among undergraduates discussed studies showing that anywhere from 20 to 59 percent of college undergraduates are at risk of going hungry, and calls for educators to do more toward systemic changes that will help support these students: Students Shouldn’t Have to Choose Between Books and Food

NPR reported on an effort by the EPA to revoke approval of a pesticide that is found on 14 percent of the nation’s almonds, peppers, and watermelons: In An Unusual Move, The EPA Tries To Pull A Pesticide From Market

Stephen Satterfield was named Culinary Trust’s Growing Leaders Food Writing Fellow, and will spend his tenure writing about food culture and food justice. If you’d like to start following him now, you can find him here.

Over at Southern Foodways Alliance, there was a short piece on the history of Tampa Devil Crabs, and their relationship to the Tampa cigar industry: Tampa Devil Crabs

There was quite a bit of internet debate about millennials’ food habits–particularly their consumption of cereal. It started with a piece in the New York Times asserting that millennials don’t eat cereal because they don’t care to wash out the bowl (Cereal, a Taste of Nostalgia, Looks for Its Next Chapter) and the thread was picked up by the Washington Post, Business Insider, and Fortune (among others) decrying the laziness of young Americans.

The shots were answered by millennials and their defenders across the internet, who argued that millennials’ avoidance of cereal likely has more to do with awareness of added sugars (Millenials Monthly: F*ck Cereal); pointed out the problems with the survey and broad-stroke comparisons of generations ( Really? Millennials Probably Not Too Lazy to Eat Cereal); and asserted that cereal is dull, unfilling, and “makes me sad” (This Is Why Millennials Actually Don’t Eat Cereal)

Finally, Adam Gopnik in The New Yorker bemoaned the creation of croissants that are not, in fact, crescent-shaped (though “croissant” means crescent). He describes how they came to be and what it means to leave crescent-shaped croissants behind: Straightened-Out Croissants and the Decline of Civilization

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What FoodAnthropology Is Reading Now: February 23rd Edition

Hello FoodAnthro readers, I hope you enjoy this week’s round up. Please send any links you’d like to share to

Kathleen Purvis tosses some fighting words at other southern food writers, implying that non-southern men have taken over southern food journalism. “Try proposing Southern food articles on anything that doesn’t involve standing around big pits of burning wood and listening to the squeals of butchered pigs,” she writes in what might be a manifesto on gender and food writing. But, really, is this just a southern issue?   The Testosterone Takeover of Southern Food Writing

Then, you may want to read the Southern Foodways Alliance’s response to Purvis: Writing and Righting Wrongs

Gastropod released a podcast about baby food and learning to eat, which featured NYU food historian Amy Bentley and British food writer Bee Wilson, and discuss the formation of food likes and dislikes from an early age: First Foods: Learning To Eat

There was an article in The Washington Post about the impact of early-life poverty on cravings and food consumption in adulthood: The crippling thing about growing up poor that stays with you forever
I recently learned of a blog that may be of interest to FoodAnthro readers. Food writer Kat Kinsman has put together a remarkable site devoted to the mental health issues of the people who work in professional kitchens. This is a tough issue, highlighted by some prominent chef suicides, but beyond that, this site examines both the sorts of people who cook professionally and the impact restaurant work can have on people: Chefs with Issues

In old American movies, people always seem to be drinking coffee with their meals (not just breakfast and not just at the end of the meal). If you ever wondered why, here is a brief history of the rise and fall of coffee as the thing to drink with everything: When Coffee Was King

An article in The Conversation challenges the widespread idea that food cravings indicate a nutritional deficiency, and offers other research on cravings: Health Check: Do We Crave the Food Our Bodies Need?

Over at Civil Eats, there was an article about superfoods, labeling, and the nutritional claims made about them: Are ‘Superfoods’ Over?



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What FoodAnthropology Is Reading Now: February 17 Edition

Hello FoodAnthro readers, here’s a selection of reads that intrigued us over the last week:

Though it began in January, I only recently discovered the site Grounded Women: Stories of Women Who Farm, a photo essay series that profiles–with excellent photos–stories of women in agriculture.

Bloomberg Business reported this week about mislabeling and adulteration in shredded cheeses: The Parmesan Cheese You Sprinkle on Your Penne Could Be Wood

A recent study by researchers at Cornell University suggests that a cluttered kitchen can contribute to overeating: A Cluttered Kitchen Can Nudge Us To Overeat, Study Finds

Kitchens are important in schools as well as at home. Civil Eats wrote about the critical lack of kitchen infrastructure that prevents many schools from introducing new, healthier meals: In the Case of School Lunch, Kitchens Might Be as Important as Ingredients

Caitlin Daniel, a doctoral candidate in sociology at Harvard, wrote an op-ed in the NY Times arguing that poor parents do not push their parents to try new foods because the cost of food waste is too high: A Hidden Cost to Giving Kids Their Vegetables

All Things Considered interviewed John Boyd Jr., the president of the National Black Farmers Association, about his work to promote and improve farming for African-American farmers. In the interview, he discusses the complicated relationship between African Americans and farming in the United States: Farmer John Boyd Jr. Wants African-Americans To Reconnect With Farming

The Southern Foodways Alliance published a great story (with an even better subtitle) about jell-o and modernity in Appalachian Kentucky: Electric Jell-O: Refrigeration Brought the Jiggle to Rural Appalachia

Since it’s politics season, FoodTank put out a list of 10 Food Policy Questions We Want Answered From the 2016 Presidential Candidates which was followed by six more questions from Mother Jones: 6 Things I Would Ask the Presidential Candidates about Food and Farming

Finally, to shift the spotlight from the United States, NPR reported on food shortages in Venezuela and the resulting push for urban gardens: Facing Severe Food Shortages, Venezuela Pushes Urban Gardens

As always, please email if you have a link you’d like to include in a future roundup.

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What FoodAnthropology Is Reading Now: February 9th Edition

February 9, 2016: Hi FoodAnthropology readers,

We have a reader contribution to kick us off this week:

Food, Art, and History at the Getty Center: If anyone is in or going to Los Angeles, it’s worth a visit to the Getty Center to see exhibit called “The Edible Monument: The Art of Food for Festivals”. (Actually it’s always worth a trip to the Getty if you’re in Los Angeles.) I visited in December and my first thought, when I saw the title, was of Glastonbury, Woodstock, Burning Man, and so forth. I pictured hot dogs and veggie burgers, carts with ketchup and mustard. No, nothing of the sort; this is the Getty, and these festivals were medieval. Literally. The exhibit is largely pictorial. My favorite image is ‘The Land of Cockaigne, where whoever works the least earns the most’, a colorful illumination from the early 17th century depicting among other scenes ‘plains of marzipan and candies’ and ‘moat of good Greek wine.’ The centerpiece of the show is Ivan Day’s ‘Dessert Table after Menon’, an architectural model constructed of sugar. The exhibit ends on March 13, 2016.

Mars, in response to consumer demands, announced they will remove artificial colors from all its products globally. While artificial colors have already been eliminated from products sold in Europe, they remain in use in the USA. Mars’ change will align them with other food manufacturers, Nestlé and Hershey, which have made similar pledges: Mars to ditch all artificial colours from its entire global food portfolio

Food Tank interviewed John M. Mandyck, author of Food Foolish: The Hidden Connection between Food Waste, Hunger and Climate Change: Understanding food waste, hunger, and climate change with John Mandyck

Slog considered how Beyoncé, in the single Formation she premiered at the Superbowl, used food to convey aspects of identity, blackness, and Southern womanhood: Food and Identity in Beyoncé’s “Formation”

NPR’s The Salt wrote about a Japanese program to certify Japanese restaurants operating outside the country, ensuring they uphold standards of traditional Japanese cuisine: Sorry, Sushi Burrito: Japanese Program Certifies Authentic Cuisine

The New York Times wrote about the rise in–and importance of–cover crops in agriculture: Cover Crops, a Farming Revolution With Deep Roots in the Past

Finally, in honor of the Lunar New Year, Time published A Very Brief History of Chinese Food in America from food historian Emelyn Rude.

As always, if you have a link you’d like to share with other FoodAnthropology readers, please send it to


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