Author Archives: laurenrmoore

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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What FoodAnthropology Is Reading Now: February 2 Edition

February 2: A lot of thought-provoking food news this week, FoodAnthro readers! As always, if you have a link you’d like to share, please email it to

First, congratulations to our own David Beriss for being picked up by NPR’s The Salt: New Orleans: A City In The Grip Of King Cake Madness

The National Resources Defense Council wrote about recent research suggesting that, despite media celebration of women in agriculture, there has been stagnation in female farm ownership and income over the last several decades: The Endangered Female Farmer

Civil Eats reported on California’s Grand Plan to Fight Climate Change on the Farm, which includes funding for farmers who implement measures to “contain soil nutrients, sequester carbon, and decrease greenhouse gases.”

From anthropologist Gary Nahbhan, some thoughts on what it means for Tucson to have been named the first UNESCO City of Gastronomy in the United States: What Will a UNESCO City of Gastronomy Do for Tucson and for Other Cities?

The New York Times published an editorial condemning North Carolina’s “ag gag” law that went into effect Jan 1. It is the most extensive of such laws in the nation, banning whistleblowers at workplaces across the state: No More Exposés in North Carolina

Brentin Mock over at CityLab wrote about history of environmental racism in the United States, and how the crisis in Flint, Michigan is not an isolated incident: If You Want Clean Water, Don’t Be Black in America

Anthropologist Gregory Button follows up on his FoodAnthropology posting on the Flint crisis by putting the water scandal there in the context of other disasters that have impacted food and water: The Flint Water Crisis is Not Within Parallel in Michigan History

There was a lot of controversy recently about a column at The Washington Post arguing that the leaders of the U.S. “food movement” are out of sync with what consumers actually care about: The Surprising Truth About the Food Movement

Civil Eats profiled Dr. Joe Leonard, the assistant secretary for civil rights at the USDA, and how he promotes equality “within a government agency that was built on institutional racism”: The Man Working Behind the Scenes to Bring Racial Equality to the Food System

Following up on a recent story about the fallout surrounding Mast Chocolate, The New Yorker wrote about a growing suspicion of craft food and the people behind it: The Way Forward for Hipster Food

BBC News reported on an interesting study in Israel, showing how different people’s bodies respond differently to the same foods: Why Do People Put On Differing Amounts of Weight?

In a similar vein, Gastropod put out a podcast about The End of the Calorie, which was paired with an article in The Atlantic on the same topic: Rethinking the Calorie

From the Baltimore City Paper, a really moving tribute to Sidney Mintz: The Anthropologist: Sidney Mitz: 1922-2015

Finally, drawing on work by anthropologists (most notably Stephen Le) and other scholars, this article raises some good questions about how we talk about ancestral foods, why we might want to pay attention to historical environmental/human adaptations, and why meals are probably a better to think about than nutrients. Don’t be fooled by the headline, this is neither a call to eat like your actual grandmother, nor like someone’s paleo ancestor: Eat like your grandma: Why you should skip the kale salad

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What Food Anthropology Is Reading Now: January 24 Edition

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 Mexicofrom 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.

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What FoodAnthropology is Reading Now: January 18 Edition

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

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




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What FoodAnthropology is Reading Now: January 10 Edition

Hello FoodAnthro readers, we’ve got a great collection of readings this week. As always, if you have something you’d like to share on a future round-up, please email it to

The federal 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee released the 2015-2020 federal dietary guidelines. The official guidelines can be found here. FoodAnthropology will publish a commentary on the changes soon, but in the meantime readers may want to peruse general coverage from The New York Times or check out Civil Eats’ report Shaping the 2015 Dietary Guidelines: A Timeline, which traces how the guidelines came into being.

Alongside commentary and critique of the guidelines, Marion Nestle published an article analyzing the relationship between nutrition research and funding from the food industry. This link is to her blog, but it was also published in JAMA Internal Medicine: Viewpoint: Food-Industry Funding of Food and Nutrition Research

There were some incisive thoughts by Psyche Williams-Forson on the relevance of food and justice to the current American debates about race and justice. While there, check out the entire Food, Fat and Fitness blog, it’s all great: Black Lives Matter, even in Food Justice

Erin Griffith over at PS Mag published a fascinating tale of her experience working at a well-known (but unnamed) American cookie factory: My Summer at the Junk Food Mill

Grist featured a fantastic line up of food writing from 2015–all of the pieces are worth reading, from Cheeseburger Ethics to an article advocating eliminating all tipping in the food industry: The food writing that set my brain on fire this year

From the Financial Times, a story on the “Great British Curry Crisis.” South Asian food in the UK is changing and some see it as a crisis, while other see it as a challenge to evolve with changing tastes, different migration patterns, and new generations of cooks, eaters, and entrepreneurs: The Great British Curry Crisis

From December, there was a Scientific American article about concerns over antibiotic resistance as Antibiotic use in food animals continues to rise 

Finally, there was also a report on new agricultural testing in the United States, examining the impact of microbial seed coatings in hopes of boosting crop production: Microbes added to seeds could boost crop production

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