Author Archives: laurenrmoore

What FoodAnthropology is Reading Now: January 3rd Edition

January 3rd, 2016:

Happy New Year, FoodAnthropology readers! Like every December and January, the internet is ringing in the year with lists–lists of old things, lists of new things, lists of bests and worsts. The world of food is no exception. Here are a couple of the most interesting lists I’ve read in the past week, along with our usual selection of good reads:

First, EcoWatch published a list of “16 reasons 2016 will bring positive change to the global food system.” They link to several interesting stories, and I learned (for example) that 2016 has been declared the International Year of Pulses, there was a Johns Hopkins University report linking animal product consumption to global climate change, and later this month the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture will host an international meeting focused on urban agriculture for food security.

NPR’s The Salt reports that artificial ingredients are waning in popularity, food waste is a gaining attention, and foodborne illness remains a significant concern for Americans: The Year in Food: Artificial Out, Innovation In (and 2 more trends)

And the last list, for fun, comes from Whole Food’s predictions of the top 7 foods of 2016, which includes alternative flours, fermented foods, and canned wine: Whole Foods predicts the biggest food trends of 2016

The New York Times featured a story about Spain’s truffle industry, and efforts to increase Spanish demand for truffles: Spain Has Little Appetite for Truffles, but Plenty for the Truffle Trade

With stunning images, the New York Times also had a story about how farmers are shaping water policy in California: Farmers Try Political Force to Twist Open California’s Taps

Changes in labor laws are shuttering cooperative grocers’ work-for-food programs, which have been mainstays of co-op culture since the 1970s: Will Work for Food? Co-Op Programs End Amid Labor-Law Fears

The U.S. Army Institute of Environmental Medicine is recruiting participants for a study on how MREs (Meals, Ready to Eat) influence gut health. Army dietitians have created a special cookbook to help participants consume the “tasteless, if not bad” meals: U.S. Army wants you to eat MREs for 21 days straight

Al Jazeera reported on a study published in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology stating that globally, sugar intake is increasing, and other nations are following US trends in their desire for added sugars: World’s diet is getting sweeter, catching up with US

Today, Congress repealed a meat labeling law that had been in place in the US since 2002, and has been challenged by the meat industry since that time. Food and Water Watch described the bill as “a holiday gift to the meatpacking industry from Congress,”though only some segments of the meat industry will benefit from the change: US Repeals Meat Labeling Law After Trade Rulings Against It

Finally, Al Jazeera English released an interesting 25-minute video about Turkish cuisine in Istanbul, describing “how a new generation is keeping Turkey’s centuries-old culinary traditions alive in a modern world”: Istanbul: Turkish cuisine at a crossroads

As always, if you have a link you’d like to share in FoodAnthropology’s weekly round up, please send it to


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What FoodAnthropology is Reading: December 29th Edition

Hello FoodAnthro readers, we have just a couple of news items for this week’s round up.

The first, and most significant, is the death of anthropologist and food historian Sidney Mintz. He passed away on December 26 at the age of 93. FoodAnthropology will post obituaries in the days to come, but in the meantime readers might enjoy this article, All Roads Lead to Mintz, published 20 years ago in the New York times. It weaves together Mintz’s work, cooking, and personal history, and ends with three recipes from “the heart of a Mintz.” Readers may also want to peruse Mintz’s website

Second, the internet was in a tizzy this week when students at Oberlin College protested cultural appropriation in the college’s dining halls, requesting “food that does not trample upon the religions and cultures of various countries.” Innumerable news outlets have covered the story, but a couple of takes can be found at the New York Times (“Oberlin Students Take Culture War to the Dining Hall”)The Atlantic (“The Value of the Oberlin Food Protests”), and The Atlantic (“A Food Fight at Oberlin College”) again.

Finally, readers may also be interested in Ellen Messer’s December 28th post on the Food Policy Blog, “Two Pats and patriotism: Striving for a world, country, and communities without hunger.” The post remembers two heroes in the fight against hunger, Patricia Kutzner and Patricia Young.

If you have a link you’d like to include in the weekly link roundup, please email it to

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What FoodAnthropology is Reading Now, December 20th Edition

December 20, 2015: 

Food Tank put together a list of their 15 favorite books from the last year, which includes sure-to-be-classics on agriculture, food politics, and food security: Food Tank’s Favorite Books of 2015

From the NY Times, a piece on drought in Iran, which is destroying food source, in particular the pistachio crop, and changing the way people live: Scarred Riverbeds and Dead Pistachio Trees in a Parched Iran

A study in Environmental Science & Policy, Investing in the Transition to Sustainable Agriculture, revealed USDA underfunding of sustainable agriculture, and was summarized by the University of Hawaii: Agriculture study shows need for more sustainable agriculture research funding

I recently discovered Nordic Food Radio, a “humanistic and scientific” blog and podcast dedicated to international food and the “edible potential of the Nordic region.” Recent episodes include The New Old Superfood, about the resurgence of the chaga mushroom, and I would kiss them before I eat them, about the Sami practice of insect eating.

While you’re cueing up the podcasts, you can also add A Short History of India’s Distinct Food Habits, a production of The Real Food Podcast in which “mythology expert Devadutt Pattanaik goes back in time to trace the origins of India’s food habits.”

Finally, reporting on allegations that a $10-a-bar chocolate company had been remelting mass-produced chocolate and selling it under their name, an article at qz examines How the Mast Brothers fooled the world into paying $10 a bar for crappy hipster chocolate –certainly a fascinating study in food branding, distinction, and the questions that come with specialty food labels.

If you have a story you’d like to share with other FoodAnthropology readers, please email the link to


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What FoodAnthropology is Reading Now, Dec 15 Edition

Happy December 15, everyone! Here are some of the interesting things we read this week. If you have a link you’d like to share, please email it to Thanks to those who have contributed links!

Anthropological research was in the news this week, with recent findings tracing millet’s path through Eurasia, showing how nomadic groups combined millet with foraging in hilly regions: Millet: The missing link in prehistoric humans’ transition from hunter-gatherer to farmer

Food scientists at Cornell University published research showing that eating with coworkers can positively affect working relationships: Breaking Bread With Coworkers May Boost Work Performance, Team Collaboration

BBC Radio 4 features a Food Programme, and the current episode is on “Food Museums” and is a fascinating look at how they display and curate their contents. Visiting France? Don’t miss the prune museum!: Food Museums

Though I missed it in my Thanksgiving round-up, there was an interview with anthropologist Merry White about Thanksgiving history and traditions: Anthropologist Explains Evolution of Thanksgiving

A new book, Food and Femininity, examines “how women negotiate food ideals and practices in their everyday lives”: A Full Plate: Rutgers-Camden Researcher Explores Food and Femininity in New Book

Eater had a fascinating article about how American vegans and vegetarians are taking on “butcher culture”: How Vegans and Vegetarians Are Redefining Butcher Culture

The USDA has an ongoing “Women in Ag” series, with monthly interviews of women in agriculture. This month features Dr. Lois Wright Morton, professor of sociology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University: In Conversation with #WomeninAg: Dr. Lois Wright Morton

In honor of Hanukkah, we have a short history of latkes from 2011 (along with a recipe for delicious-sounding cheese latkes): Discover the History of Latkes During Hanukkah

Food52 has a fun interactive map of “Cookies of the World”: Cookies of the World

It’s dated, but still fascinating: Smithsonian Magazine has a history of eggnog, originally published in 2013. Did you know it involved West Point cadets and a riot?: Egg Nog: It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone Starts a Holiday Riot

And, finally, National Geographic had an article about how changing diets are impacting Japan’s rice cultivation: As Diets Change, Traditional Japanese Rice Harvest Declines


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What FoodAnthropology is Reading Now: December 6 Edition

December 6, 2015:

For the Paris climate talks this week, an article in The Conversation argues that food–production, consumption, and everything in between–must be part of the climate conversation: The elephant in the room at Paris climate talks: why food production must change

There was an interview with Drs. Luz Calvo and Catrióna Esquibel,two ethnic studies professors who authored a cookbook called Decolonize Your Diet, which promotes a return to indigenous foodways for Latinos: How to Decolonize Your Diet: The Importance of Indigenous Foods

For Thanksgiving, the Southern Foodways Alliance published a touching reflection on service-industry work and the holidays: Blue Collar Holiday

And, while we are thinking about those who labor for our food, NPR took a look at the labor behind half of the United States’ sweet potato crop, which comes out of North Carolina: Behind Your Holiday Sweet Potato Dish, Hard Work in the Fields

There was a book review essay on several novels related to restaurant industry work that takes a few swipes at professional food writing. It goes beyond consumption and calls attention to the work of the restaurant industry, saying “now is the time for a more critical, intelligent, and politically aware food writing—one which is willing to leave behind its tired emphasis on customer satisfaction, and which at long last takes up the task of representing service labor for what it is. Imagine a writing that makes space for other ‘classic waiter questions,’ like, ‘could you please look me in the eye when you speak to me?’ or ‘could I please have health insurance?‘”: On Writing and Restaurant Labor

Huffington Post featured a piece by Krishnendu Ray discussing the links between restaurant labor, the making of “ethnics,” the framing of “ethnic food” and his work in general. This is a good intro to how one undermines the very concept of ethnicity with food: Taste, Toil, and Ethnicity

In response to a recent E.Coli outbreak, Chipotle may roll back its local sourcing practices: Chipotle Tightens Standards Amid E. Coli Outbreak, Putting Buy-Local Pledge in Jeopardy

Researchers from Rice University have developed a method to distill alcohol with sunlight, rather than heat: Move Over Moonshine–Here Comes Sunshine

And finally, for fun, McSweeny’s offers this satire on food habits, on the relentless search for big data, on modern consumption, etc. The drones are coming. Tell Us How We Did With Your Order of Egg Whites and Avocado Wrap

If you have a link for the FoodAnthropology round up, please email it to Lauren Moore at

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What FoodAnthropology is Reading Now: November 29th Edition

November 29, 2015: Once again, there were more great food reads this week than could be included in one post. Here were some of my favorites. If you would like to share an article with other FoodAnthropology readers, please email it to

There was an article about the decline in breakfast cereal consumption in the United States, as children identify less strongly with cereal characters and health trends favor Greek yogurt and hot cereals: Breakfast Cereal’s Last Gasp

I recently discovered the work of Michael Twitty, who is a scholar of “the foodways of Africa, enslaved African Americans…and the African and Jewish diasporas” and has a fantastic blog, Afroculinaria. Two pieces I enjoyed this week were A People’s History of Cornbread Stuffing, written for Vice with a companion post with pictures on Twitty’s blog. Then, for some Thanksgiving-related humor, Twitty also authored the satire post How to Survive Black Thanksgiving as a Non-Black Guest.

Through Twitty’s work, I discovered Vice’s food channel Munchies, which offers a satisfying array of deep-diving journalism, recipes, and entertaining pop articles (recovering from stressful holiday travel? You might sympathize with this woman who drank a whole bottle of cognac rather than surrender it to the TSA). Of their more serious work, there was a recent piece titled Cooking with Muxes, Mexico’s Third Gender, and a look at The Silent Epidemic Behind Nicaragua’s Rum.

The New York Times reported on recent genetic work suggesting that agriculture did more than increase rates of malnutrition and infectious disease. It has also been linked to broader DNA changes, including changes that altered height and skin color: Agriculture Linked to DNA Changes in Ancient Europe

There were two great pieces about the history of leftovers–first, An Economic History of Leftovers written by historian Helen Veit at The Atlantic. Then, Dr. Viet was interviewed at FoodTank about her work: Researching the Remains: A Leftovers Q&A with Food Historian Helen Veit

Treehugger profiled a new agricultural robot that uses environmental sensors to monitor plants and weed fields: This car-sized autonomous farm robot smashes weeds to death

Though it was released last year, readers may still be interested in this podcast on The Anthropology of Pie, by Stuff Mom Never Told You.

Sociological Images, at The Society Pages, the fantastic and prolific sociology blog, pulled up an old piece for their “Flashback Friday” series that may still be of interest here: Anorexia Mirabilis: Fasting in Victorian England and modern India. They also posted 23 Thanksgiving Food Facts, for fun.

Food writer Elizabeth G. Dunn wrote about The Myth of Easy Cooking, offering a brief history of the cookbook industry and the contemporary intersection of busy lives and a “food culture” in which an iceberg lettuce chopped and tossed with mayonnaise (quick cooking from the 1950s–and truly easy) is unacceptable.

With criticism for research that strategically downplayed the role of Coca-Cola’s sugary beverages in obesity, there was news that Coke’s top scientist is stepping down: Coke’s Chief Scientist, Who Orchestrated Obesity Research, Is Leaving

Finally, there was a piece in The New Yorker about Asian-American cooking that profiled several cookbooks and  an upcoming PBS documentary Off the Menu, and reflects on the role of cookbooks in our lives. The author writes, “the belief that we can better understand one another by eating each other’s food quietly underwrites an increasingly expansive vision of American cuisine. Whether we can actually consume our way to cultural comprehension is, of course, another question entirely. And what if it’s your own culture you’re trying to understand?”: Chinese Food and the Joy of Inauthentic Cooking


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What FoodAnthropology is Reading Now: November 22 Edition

November 22, 2015: There’s good news for FoodAnthropology readers this week: it was a great week for internet food reads. Here’s a round of up what captivated FoodAnthropology over the last seven days.

If you have a link you would like to contribute to future round-ups, please email

First, as apple-picking season draws to a close, there were two apple articles worth reading. The first, from The Atlantic: “What Do Professional Apple Farmers Think of People Who Pick Apples for Fun” (“you have to gently pull them away from the idea that the skilled employees we have … [are] not idiots off the street”). Then, NPR’s The Salt offered “Inside the Life of an Apple Picker

There was news from two of the biggest names in U.S. food journalism, Michael Pollan and Mark Bittman. Pollan has turned his bestseller In Defense of Food into a documentary, which premiered at the 2015 Mill Valley Film Festival in October 2015. And, in honor of Mark Bittman’s departure from the New York Times, the NYT Magazine featured Mark Bittman’s Top 10 Columns.

Another documentary that’s making the news is Just Eat it: A Food Waste Story, which documents two filmmakers’ efforts to subsist on food waste in order to bring attention to stunning levels of food waste built into the North American food system.

Scientific American featured an article about the links between food insecurity and HIV outcomes, and summarizes pilot research that seems to improve HIV outcomes through agricultural interventions: “In Kenya, Improving Food Security and HIV Outcomes through Farming

ReadThink published an article describing Switzerland’s cheese industry, and how the nation went from over 1000 cheeses under production to just three following World War I: “The Swiss Cheese Mafia

Gastropod, the podcast that “looks at food through the lens of science and history” released a 40-minute dive into the world of mushrooms: “The Mushroom Underground

On November 19th, the US Food and Drug Administration announced that AquAdvantage salmon, a genetically modified, fast-growing salmon, would be the first transgenic animal approved for human consumption in the US: “Salmon is the First Transgenic Animal to Win US Approval for Food

Representatives from the Latin American Scientific Society of Agroecology (SOCLA) penned “Reflections on the FAO regional meeting of Agroecology for Africa” that offers insight into the goals and politics of agroecological work.

There were reports this week from a study showing that (American?) men overeat in the presence of women, and draws conclusions about the evolutionary basis of this behavior: “Men Overeat to Impress Women;” the original article can be found here: “Eating Heavily: Men Eat More in the Company of Women

A report from on the U.S. Farm Bill from UC Berkeley’s Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society “finds that corporate control and structural racialization within the US food system leaves marginalized communities disproportionately impacted by the agricultural policies and outcomes generated by the Farm Bill”: “Farm Bill Report

There were reports this week that present-day obesity in humans may be linked to a genetic mutation in an extinct species of ape: “Obesity in Humans Linked to Fat Gene in Prehistoric Apes

Though this was published in August, it’s still worth reading in November: writer Ruth Tam’s reflection on “How it feels when white people shame your culture’s food-then make it trendy

Scientific American wrote about efforts to save heirloom varieties of date palm in Egypt: “Save the Date: Preventing Heirloom Date Palm Extinction in Egypt’s Siwa Oasis

Finally, The Atlantic reported on research from the Weizmann Institute of Science that uses an algorithm to “accurately predict how a person’s blood-sugar levels will spike after eating any given meal,” and can be used to develop personalized plans for blood sugar management: “The Algorithm that Creates Diets That Work for You

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