Category Archives: anthropology

How Bad Is Food Insecurity for Disabled Americans? It’s worse than the Census data show

Elaine Gerber

With the 2020 Census around the corner and proposed changes to it highly politicized , I want to hold up to everyone – especially my fellow food ethnographers – how important recent changes in how “we count,” count!

For example, prior to the 2010 Census, we did not know how many blind and visually impaired people were living in the US because the Census did not disaggregate “sensory impairment” data and lumped blind and Deaf people together into one category.  Yet, their needs vis a vis food access and security would be quite different, such as reading tiny nutrition labels or communicating with the cashier.  Thankfully this hard-fought change was successful, and supports the development of policy solutions for various subpopulations.

As an applied anthropologist and disability studies scholar, these issues are important to me—and many others:  approximately 20% of working-aged adults have some form of impairment or disability.  Moreover, the tight relationship between poverty and disability means that there is a high percentage of impairment (and by extension, disabled people) in the low-income and disenfranchised populations that many of us work with, even if we don’t look for it or ask about it directly.

I have been arguing for over 10 years that access to food is much harder for disabled Americans than for their non-disabled counterparts (see Eat, Drink, and Inclusion) But there were no large-scale national datasets that either collected or de-aggregated their data in such a way to prove this.  So I was thrilled to see the Census report released in 2013 that confirmed the problem of a “dietary divide.”

These census data show that nearly one-third (31.8%) of all U.S. households with food insecurity included a working-age disabled adult and nearly 38% of households with very low food security included a working-age disabled adult.  By comparison, 12% of households with no working-age disabled adults were food insecure.  The census also demonstrated that food insecurity is an issue even when disabled people were employed: over 20% of households with a disabled adult who was working full-time were food insecure.

These statistics are incredibly valuable.  Yet, these do not fully capture the extent of food insecurity for disabled people.

One, these likely underestimate the problem, as the census data cited above are self-reported.  The census numbers might not accurately reflect the number of people who have highly stigmatized conditions (such as cognitive or psychiatric impairment); mental health issues are often not acknowledged, let alone disclosed, and many other hidden/non-visible disabilities are frequently underreported.  Estimates of rates of mental illness alone range from 20-80%  of the general population, with certain segments, such as veterans and college students, experiencing a disproportionate amount of that burden.  Further, ethnographic accounts have illustrated that there are many disabled people – people with impairments that would qualify as “disabled” under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) – who do not identify as disabled, including people with everyday health problems, such as a “bad back,” hypertension, migraines, and chronic pain, as well as those whose membership in this category is temporary (e.g., see Webber et al).  These conditions will affect how often someone can get to the market or how many groceries they can carry home, yet these people most likely would not have been included in the 2013 census numbers.

Two, the data only include non-institutionalized adults, thus leaving out several key populations.  Keywords here are “adult” and “institutionalized.”  The census data does not include disabled children or any seniors (people 65 and older) – and seniors represent the largest demographic of disabled people in the U.S., even if culturally we prefer to consider these people “elderly,” rather than impaired.  Nor does it include the many disabled working-aged adults who are living in group homes, larger institutions, and nursing homes, or who are incarcerated.  The DOJ estimates that imprisoned people are 3-4 times more likely to report having a disability as the non-incarcerated population.  There is every reason to believe that food insecurity is as bad, if not worse, for institutionalized disabled persons.  Nothing about the care of people in institutions generally, nor the history of the treatment of disabled people in this country, would suggest otherwise.

These numbers are only part of the picture. These statistics do not describe the qualitative ways in which disabled people’s experiences accessing food is different from that of non-disabled people, nor does it address other aspects related to food insecurity beyond food acquisition, such as cooking and food preparation, inclusion and commensality that accompanies dining, or the development of cultural identities (e.g., adulthood status) linked to independent food choice. Yet, research suggests that disabled people experience additional barriers shopping, cooking, and dining. For more, see an executive summary of my #EatDis research, AND stay tuned to this blog.

Elaine Gerber is a medical anthropologist and disability studies scholar who works at Montclair State University.  She formerly served as the Senior Research Associate at the American Foundation for the Blind and as President of the Society for Disability Studies.

 

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What FoodAnthropology Is Reading Now, February 19, 2019

David Beriss

A brief digest of food and nutrition-related items that caught our attention recently. Got items you think we should include? Send links and brief descriptions to dberiss@gmail.com or hunterjo@gmail.com.

We must begin this review with a shout out to FoodAnthropology co-editor Amy Trubek, who was interviewed by Evan Kleiman on her wonderful show “Good Food” about her recent book “Making Modern Meals: How Americans Cook Today” (2017, University of California Press). This is why the anthropology of food and nutrition is great! You can (and should) listen to Amy’s interview here, or to the whole episode, which looks broadly at modern home kitchens and cooking, here.

What varieties of rice did enslaved Africans grow and cook when they were first brought to the Americas? That question has been explored in a lot of recent research. One of the more fascinating threads in this research is traced out by Kim Severson in this recent New York Times article about “hill rice,” a variety that may have been common among West Africans living along the Atlantic coast. Chef B.J. Dennis and historian David Shields found this variety still growing in a region of Trinidad settled by Africans who had been enslaved in the U.S. The story is interestingly complex and provides great insight into the history of African foodways in the Americas.

You may already know that “services,” broadly defined, make a growing contribution to the U.S economy. Within that, however, it seems that restaurants are now one of the largest sectors. In this article from The Atlantic, Derek Thompson points out that restaurant jobs make up a stunningly large amount of all job growth in some cities in recent years (more than a third of the new jobs in New Orleans since 2010). What does the growth of often poorly-paid jobs of this sort mean for the future? Thompson is not optimistic.

As we have noted in other recent columns here, cases of sexual misconduct have roiled the restaurant industry in significant ways in the last year. Generally, individuals have been accused of anything from bad behavior to actual crimes, but whole businesses have suffered as a consequence. This may or may not be just—after all, if an owner or chef is accused, should all the waiters, bartenders, line cooks, etc. pay the price? In this article from The New Yorker, Helen Rosner raises the question of the responsibility of restaurant critics in this situation. Should they write about restaurants owned by bad actors? For another view, read this article by Tim Carman, from the Washington Post.

The politics around pesticides and organic food is always complex. This article, by biologist Allison Wilson, reviews a recent book by Philip Ackerman-Leist, “A Precautionary Tale: How One Small Town Banned Pesticides, Preserved Its Food Heritage, and Inspired a Movement” (2017, Chelsea Green Publishing). The book tells the story of how an Italian town decided to declare itself pesticide-free as a growing non-organic apple industry grew nearby. You can also watch an interview with the author from KPFK’s “Rising Up With Sonali” here.

Meanwhile, President Trump and his colleagues continue to pursue some of the favorite policy dreams of the American right, including undermining or getting rid of programs for poor Americans whenever possible. This includes SNAP, also known as food stamps. The president recently proposed replacing the program with a service that would deliver food directly to people’s homes and the White House budget has proposed sharp cuts to the program. The politics of SNAP and the program’s notable effectiveness are analyzed by Kriston Capps at Citylab, here.

On a somewhat-less-serious note, consider the question of how to translate menus. There are often curious translations on menus in restaurants owned by recent immigrants, but even fancy white table cloth restaurants feature menus that are (sometimes willfully) hard to interpret, even for native speakers of the language in which they are written. Emily Monaco explores this entertaining issue in this article, from Atlas Obscura. I was interviewed for this article and pointed her toward the charmingly obscure menus of Terre-à-Terre, in Brighton.

It is Presidents Day here in the U.S. and Civil Eats has reprinted an analysis of the 8 presidents who they think most shaped the U.S. food system. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Richard Nixon, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama are the 8. The contributions each president made are not all positive and this is not about cheerleading.

It might seem odd to put a neighborhood guide in this reading digest, but between the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang and the distressing anti-immigrant discourse drifting hysterically out of Washington D.C., I think it is worth noting that some of the most impressive additions to America’s culinary diversity are Korean. So, with that, note this stunning guide to Koreatown, in Los Angeles. I have seen whole cities with less interesting guides. For those of us who are not in LA, we can dream. If you are there, get busy.

Sometimes I think that it is important to remind the world why New Orleans is such a great food town. So let’s end with a few items that confirm that assertion. First, this article by Brett Martin about “family meal” at the iconic restaurant Commander’s Palace. You may want to change careers. Second, an ode to the lost fried pie maker, Hubig’s, which burned down in 2012 and may never come back. These little fried hand pies were mostly distributed in gas stations and hardware stores and not something you would have been likely to encounter as a tourist…but, as the author, Sophie Lucido Johnson notes, they were objects of much affection and are greatly missed. On another sad note, the city has been in mourning since the passing, last week, of Arthur “Mr. Okra” Robinson, one of the last itinerant vendors of produce in New Orleans. For the last several decades, Mr. Robinson drove his iconic truck through the city’s neighborhoods, calling out the produce he carried in a style that has its roots in the old mobile vendors of products and services that worked for centuries in cities around the world. His loss is keenly felt and his voice will be missed.

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Radio Ethnography, Restaurant Kitchens and #MeToo

Our SAFN president David Beriss has put out a call for blog posts on food workers, food service, restaurant kitchens and the #MeToo movement.

So my ears perked up during a long ice-bedeviled drive from Virginia to Connecticut when The Splendid Table’s February 2, 2018 program began to play over my car’s radio (always tuned to NPR), with a preamble introducing the issue of #MeToo. The featured theme was restaurant kitchens, their people, and their complicated communities, and the first guest was Amy Thielen, chef and author of the 2017 memoir, Give a Girl a Knife, about coming up through the ranks as a chef. (#649: Behind the Restaurant available at https://www.npr.org/podcasts/381444592/the-splendid-table).

The podcast will be of interest to our SAFN scholars, both for its content and as an example of ethnography. The longform interview explored sexual harassment, intimidation and quid pro quo sexual demands in food service settings. It reached a lot of people, conveyed the real-time process of thinking through and reflecting on this issue, and of course, the actual voices of the speakers, with their inflections, pauses, emphases. The same segment explored how restaurant kitchens are both high-stakes and “family,” but the speakers did not relate how those realities promote either an atmosphere in which quid pro quo sexual harassment flourishes—or in which targets of harassment can turn to resources and supports not available in other professional settings.

So, I am newly invigorated to think through and try radio ethnography again. In the 1990s, I co-developed and carried out the ethnography for a radio program series about “community” that was broadcast in southwestern Virginia by WVTF, the NPR affiliate. It was well-received and I hope to develop another on food justice and security movements and work in New England. I would love to hear other SAFN members’ thoughts and experiences with this ethnography medium, its shortcomings and strengths.

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What is Good Food? Anthropologists, historians and economists in conversation

What is Good Food? Five episodes of delicious stories and conversations about how we know what we eat is ‘good’. This podcast series is produced by a group of food researchers, and our conversations are based on papers presented at a food research workshop organised by the SOAS Food Studies Centre and University of Warwick Food GRP. 

Via itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/what-is-good-food/id1309980803?mt=2 

Via soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/whatisgoodfood

Episode 1 wonders whether the past is tasty through a conversation about food history and heritage in Macau and Ghana.

Episode 2 asks who decides what is good food: governments, markets, men, women or children, with examples ranging from London to India.

Episode 3 “tastes like a piece of heaven” and features a conversation about farming and ways of knowing in the US and Bangladesh.

Episode 4 explores “real food” in and around farmers markets in Shanghai and in food education in Taiwan.

Episode 5 features a conversation about the construction of value, with stories about ox meat and bread from Croatia and Morocco.

Comments here on the blog or via the host websites are very welcome!

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AFHVS/ASFS CFP Deadline Extended!

Extended deadline for the upcoming AFHVS/ASFS conference. You have another week! Don’t miss it.

afhvs asfs 2018 logo

The University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems is pleased to host the Joint Annual Meeting of the Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society and the Association for the Study of Food and Society.

This conference is an invitation to engage with the political and governance issues that arise in agricultural and food systems. Giving voice to these issues is fundamental to resolving them, so that we may better function in harmony with natural systems—while ensuring economic viability, food security, and the sovereignty of all people.

Abstracts due: February 22, 2018 at https://afhv2018.wiscweb.wisc.edu

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Thesis Review: Placing the Apple

Nicol_apple trees

Please note: I am soliciting reviews of recent dissertations in the Anthropology of Food. So if you have written a recent thesis or would like to review one, you can contact me directly: Katharina Graf, Associate Book Reviews Editor (kg38@soas.ac.uk).

Placing the Apple: Exploring the Urban Applescape. Poppy Nicol. Ph.D. Thesis, Cardiff University, Cardiff (Wales). 2015.

Camelia Dewan (Stockholm University, Sweden)

Poppy Nicol’s thesis Placing the Apple explores the dynamics of the urban apple in the UK. She follows the different types – commodity and club brands as well as different (heritage) varieties of apples across the food distribution chain from multiple retailers (like Tesco) and wholefood markets to community food initiatives and local growers and sellers. The thesis is firmly based in the intersection between geography and anthropology through its use of political ecology and multi-sited qualitative fieldwork to follow the urban apple in order to understand ‘the becomings of the apple’. The thesis itself presents a strong stance supporting place-based, knowledge-intensive, community-centered practices of ‘agro-ecology’ and argues that this has the potential to support more regenerative agri-food systems, particularly in city-regions, while being critical to dominant neoliberal forces that dominate the apple production and distribution sectors.

Throughout the six substantive chapters, Nicol shows the different motivations of producers, retailers and community-centered growers. The use of the London-based social enterprise Growing Community to illustrate agro-ecological logics in the urban apple is one that is particularly original and revealing in terms of an alternative food system within an urban environment. The concept of ‘agro-ecological practices’ permeates the thesis and Nicol juxtaposes it with global, intensified modes of agriculture. In doing so, the author departs from ideas of ‘urban metabolisms’ and ‘depletive agri-food systems’ where the commercial, globalized and corporate apple contributes to the depletion of biodiversity, soil and nutrition caused by the global industrial agri-food system in its search to maximize yield and profit. This is then contrasted with ‘regenerative agri-food systems’ based on agro-ecological practices aiming to optimize ecological processes promoting soil health. Nicol draws on Altieri (1988) to suggest that such practices consider cultivation as a food web rather than a food chain, whereby all elements, cycles and processes within the system are implicitly interrelated, interconnected and interdependent of one another. Such an approach enhances beneficial ecological processes to create a healthy soil with vital soil microbial and mycorrhizal activity that supports more resilient and efficient farming systems. This often involves a range of agronomic techniques, including intercropping, the recycling of manure and food crops into fertilizers and agroforestry, that reduce the use of external inputs and maximize resource efficiency (De Schutter 2014:9).

Nicol argues that the case of Growing Communities in Hackney, London, demonstrates how agro-ecological communities of practice support citizens to grow, trade and consume food in more healthy, ecological and just ways. With the support of the local authority (Hackney Council), housing associations and a number of community groups, Growing Communities have made use of public, private and community-owned space for expanding their patchwork-farming network, box-scheme distribution hubs, farmers’ market as well as the Growing Communities headquarters. Nicol offers many positive examples of the organization’s attempts to support apple variety diversity, including how it has supported a number of school food-growing projects within the borough, developed a network of market gardens and worked with local resident’s groups to plant a community orchard in the public Hackney area. It has also gone beyond Hackney by acquiring a 1.4-acre ex-council nursery site in Dagenham, the first Growing Communities ‘Starter Farm’, which is leased from Dagenham Council. Instead of being on a commercial basis, Growing Communities have focused on the multi-functionality of social spaces. Its distribution sites include three health food shops, an arts center, studio, a community garden, community center, city farm, two churches and a climbing center, as well as the Growing Communities headquarters, enabling interactions between residents.

The logic extends also to the shifting preferences of producers and buyers. Rather than the criteria for sameness, consistency of taste, durability (thicker-skinned apples) and perfection, pickers of local agro-ecologically grown apples tend to use their senses (taste, smell, sensation) to select apples for harvest, those that are deemed unfit for human consumption are used as forage matter or animal feed. The buyers of these apples, in turn, were found to prefer taste over looks and found beauty in imperfection after initial hesitation of how different these agro-ecological apples were compared to the more recognized supermarket brands. Nicol admits that though these sales are marginal in terms of proportions of apples consumed within the borough, she argues that Growing Communities provides a case of a community-led distribution scheme enabling the entry of the agro-ecological and proximate apple into the city.

There is a tendency in the thesis to strongly promote Growing Communities and agro-ecological practices. However, by showing how Hackney Council enable this community-based initiative by providing long-term access and security of tenure of production, trade and distribution sites, Nicol shows the importance of how regenerative agri-food systems are dependent upon securing physical, economic and political space that support and enable such practices. She suggests that forms of governance at local, regional, national and international levels can foster or frustrate the scaling-out of agro-ecological practices. Drawing on existing research by Altieri and Nicholls (2012:22), she argues that powerful political and economic organizations and institutions tend to support research and development for the conventional agro-industrial approach, while research and development for agro-ecology and sustainable approaches have been largely ignored or even ostracized. Nicol found that governance – particularly at national-level – marginalizes agro-ecological practices via the rise of investment in research and development in sustainable intensification, retail-led forms of market transformation and an obstructive policy and planning framework. She argues that practices of consolidation, privatization and externalization of risk enacted by a small number of multiple retailers are enacted within an enabling political and regulatory environment.

Nicol highlights that it is the dominance of multiple retailers in terms of market-share and policy environment that further complicate competition from more agro-ecologically oriented supply forms. The challenges of agro-ecological production and trade are compounded amidst a regulatory environment supportive of ‘market-led’ transformation, whereby supermarkets are considered the ‘familiar’ (HM Government 2008:64) and, it is suggested, default shopping environment for most citizens (pp. 223-224). Nicol shows that the corporate logic favors centralized, vertical forms of supply based on large-scale forms of production, while direct forms of supply tend to be decentralized and horizontal, facilitating trade with small-scale producers.

Nicol states that her analytical framework is informed by political ecology, relational geographies and social practice to explore “the distribution of power and politics in the scaling-up and scaling-out of [agro-ecological versus industrial] practices in and through place” (p. 278). Yet, the theoretical development and linkages to political ecology and how power dynamics shape the availability of the apple and structure of its trade could be developed further with clearer examples. It would have been useful to understand the political ecology that leads to agro-ecological practices being actively ‘marginalized’. In terms of scale, could it be that there is a limit to how much locally-grown and agro-ecological apples can meet demand? Could scaling up of spaces in the borough itself help meet the apple demand of the Hackney community considering that many community members are dependent on food vendors and multiple retailer brands buying commodity and ‘club’ brand apples? The question is, even if access to physical space was not precarious, would it be enough?

A deeper political ecology analysis of the constraints in scaling up agro-ecological apples would strengthen this thesis further. In terms of the use of ‘relational geographies’ and the recognition that non-humans do not just exist within the city and how things ‘become’ food, this could also be developed further with more explicit examples and linkages. It would also be interesting to gain a further understanding of whether the growers and Growing Communities themselves speak about their practices as agro-ecological? In addition, how do her interlocutors perceive the link between agro-ecology and the commodified and brand apples and do they express any concerns about sustainability, particularly in terms of ‘degenerative agri-food systems’ and how commodity and ‘club’ brands may reduce the biodiversity of apple varieties globally?

Her comparison between traditional, organic and biodynamic orchards and agroforestry is an interesting one, particularly in terms of how “biodynamic agriculture considers both the material and spiritual context of food production and works with cosmic as well as terrestrial influences” (p. 214). Pest and disease are seen as indicative of unbalanced fertilization and lack of soil fertility within biodynamic practices. It would be interesting to learn more about how these growers understood and/or embraced ideas of spirituality in agro-ecological practices as this speaks to current anthropological discussions on vitality, life-force and the unseen, as well as burgeoning research and the importance of symbiotic relationships between microbiomes, bacteria and fungi with other life forms (e.g. Tsing et al. 2017). In the concluding chapter, Nicols advocates that agri-biodiversity, agro-ecological and place-based practices as well as producer livelihoods are to be supported, but it is unclear what perspectives and information underlie these suggestions. Why agro-ecological above biodynamic or organic? Such a discussion would strengthen the arguments further.

Overall, this is a well-researched thesis that provides an interesting example of alternative food movements in the UK through the example of a community-based social organization using creative means to expand urban forms of gardening and local produce.

References

Altieri, Miguel, Environmentally Sound Small-Scale Agricultural Projects: Guidelines for Planning. Edited by H.L. Vukasin. New York: Codel. 1988.

Altieri, Miguel and Clara Nicholls, “Agro-Ecological Scaling-up for Food Sovereignty and Resilience.” Sustainable Agriculture Review 11 (2012): 1–29.

De Schutter, Olivier. “Final Report: The Transformative Potential of the Right to Food.” Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier De Schutter. New York: UN General Assembly. 2014.

HM Government, Food Matters: Towards a Strategy for the Twenty-First Century. London: Cabinet Office. 2008.

Tsing, Anna L., Heather A. Swanson, Elaine Gan, and Nils Bubandt, eds. Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet: Ghosts and Monsters of the Anthropocene. London: Minnesota University Press. 2017.

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What Foodanthro is Reading Now, February 6 2018

A brief digest of food and nutrition-related items that caught our attention recently. Got items you think we should include? Send links and brief descriptions to dberiss@gmail.com or hunterjo@gmail.com.

Maybe you’re eating this at lunch time. If so, how does your lunch break compare to workers around the world? This story was interesting for the ways it resonated with the narrative of lack of time given the number of hours taken up by work, and also the idea of “junk” and “fast” food around the world.

Civil eats had a story about the nuances that need to be added to the narrative of “Eat less Meat:”

For me and many like me, grazing is our art form—it’s our best tool for breathing new life into neglected land.

While at times it may be important to struggle over what kind of food is the most morally righteous– sustainable or ethical or healthy, Ariel Greenwood makes points about levels of deep investment in food systems:

…few environmentalists who are opposed to grazing animals and eating their flesh have demonstrated either the degree of embodied affection, personal risk, and deep practice or the knowledge of grassland dynamics, plant succession, and wildlife movement that I’ve seen among the graziers in my life. So I urge those who care about the meat industry’s impact on the environment to bring more curiosity and humility to the discussion.

(Also, where was I when “woke” became an adjective?)

As a counterpoint, The California Sunday Magazine ran a fascinating, lengthy article on Steward Resnick, the biggest farmer in the United States, with startling photos of bare-grounded orchards. It’s worth the time to read. From the ability to shape entire communities of labourers (a major public health intervention?!), to thoughts about the productivity of the land, this is a powerful article about big agriculture. When the scale is so large the productivity per acre is no longer important:

“These trees are pruned by a machine that hedges one side and then the other,” he says. “But the smaller farmer still uses a pruning shears to make his most important cuts. If he knows what he’s doing, the shears can make a thousand more pounds an acre.”

And water is at the centre of it all. Water is on everyone’s minds here in Cape Town, too, where we’re facing the worst drought in living memory, our taps are at risk of running dry. Guess who is coming to the rescue? Yup. Coca Cola.  And South African Breweries. I’m skeptical whenever these companies start feigning altruism, but I’m overly cynical. It’s striking that, in a drought, the largest farms (and the largest companies) seem to be above the immediate impact.

I didn’t know Ruby Tandoh before this interview, but now I really want to read her books. Of Samin Nosrat’s book, she says:

It’s about the basic elements of good cooking, but I’ve been reading it like a novel. Everything I’ve been doing so far in the kitchen has been wrong, it turns out, but I’m fine with Samin telling me I’m a fool. I would put my life in her hands.

I also thought her reflection on the global discourse around food was apt:

I think there’s too much focus on hardcore foodie stuff – being preoccupied with provenance and so on. Or else focusing on nutrition. These things are actually pretty interesting and useful in themselves, but what we’ve lost is the focus on just enjoying food. I want to remind people that it’s actually fine to enjoy a ready meal. We live in a time when you can get a macaroni cheese and it’s done in four minutes – that’s pretty amazing.

While it is amazing that you can get macaroni cheese cooked in four minutes, there’s some question as to frequency: Check out this article on ultra-processed food in Europe for a sense of just how ubiquitous these foods are:

Eating biscuits or crisps or drinking cola occasionally does no harm, he says, but these foods are designed to make us want more of them. “It is beyond liking. We are entering the world of craving,” he said. They are also universally available and cheap. The key ingredients are refined flours, cheap oil and fats, sugars, starches, protein isolates and salt.

“We are moving further and further away from food that nourishes us,” he said.

In this article, Hawkes is quoted as saying that our collective taste culture(s) need to change, which seems to be fertile ground for food anthropologists.

Lastly, the labels we give food— “mainstream” and “alternative” food necessarily shapes who consumes it, as well as the direction of the system itself:

The links that surplus food has with waste and commercial loss cause us to see surplus food as inferior food, despite its edibility. For example, some attempt to shame governments into changing social policy by calling it “leftover food for leftover people”. While I agree that austerity and welfare policies are causing great harm to families and communities, I also know that donated surplus food is a resource that supports the resilience of organisations aiming to help struggling communities and households.

 

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