Category Archives: publications

Community Food Literacy

The Community Literacy Journal has just announced the publication of a special issue on “Community Food Literacies.” This journal is available electronically, through Project Muse, but if you have access to that database (and your subscription includes the journal), you can read the issue.

Here is the table of contents, with links to the articles (or the abstracts, if you do not have access to the journal via Project Muse):

•    Michael Pennell, Introduction to the Special Issue on Community Food Literacies
•    De aquí y de allá: Changing Perceptions of Literacy through Food Pedagogy, Asset-Based Narratives, and Hybrid Spaces” by Lucía Durá, Consuelo Salas, William Medina-Jerez, and Virginia Hill
•    “Mindful Persistence: Literacies for Taking up and Sustaining Fermented-Food Projects” by Christina Santana, Stacey Kuznetsov, Sheri Schmeckpeper, Linda Curry, Elenore Long, Lauren J. Davis, Heidi Koerner, and Kimberly Butterfield McQuarrie
•    Book & New Media Reviews, edited by Jessica Shumake

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Open Anthropology Features Food Anthropology

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The June 2016 issue of Open Anthropology is dedicated to Food Anthropology. Many SAFN members are featured in this open-access selection of articles and reviews from American Anthropological Association journals. Check it out!

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AAA Webinar Wednesday: Research Methods for Anthropological Studies of Food and Nutrition

SAFN is organizing a webinar with the American Anthropological Association. Former SAFN presidents Janet Chrzan and John Brett will lead a discussion of their forthcoming edited collection on research methods for the anthropological study of food and nutrition.

The volume is a truly comprehensive collection of methodological essays by many of the leading scholars in our field. Of course, many of them are SAFN members. You can read more about the book here. It will be published by Berghahn, in a series organized by SAFN, which you can read about here.

This is a great opportunity to learn about the book, discuss the stunning range of methods the book covers, talk with Dr. Chrzan and Dr. Brett, and make contact with others interested in methods issues.

The webinar will be on October 7, at 2 pm Eastern time. Participation is free, but you must register in advance. To do that, visit this web site soon. The password is “anthro” (without the quotes).

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Graduate Journal of Food Studies

Call for Submissions

The Graduate Journal of Food Studies is an international student-run and refereed journal dedicated to encouraging and promoting interdisciplinary food scholarship at the graduate level. The Journal is now accepting submissions for its third issue; the deadline is 31 March 2015.  Graduate students who have written an original food-related essay of first-rate scholarship are encouraged to submit. Essays on global food topics are particularly welcome. All submissions must be emailed to the editor, Carla Cevasco, at editor@graduatefoodassociation.org.

All authors must adhere to the style guidelines, and are encouraged to read previous issues of the journal, both found at www.graduatefoodassociation.org/journal.

Published bi-annually in digital and print form, the journal is a space in which promising scholars showcase their exceptional academic research. The Graduate Journal of Food Studies hopes to foster dialogue and engender debate among students across the academic community.

The Journal features food-focused articles from diverse disciplines including, but not limited to: anthropology, history, history of science, sociology, cultural studies, gender studies, economics, art, politics, pedagogy, nutrition, philosophy, religion, American studies, and the natural sciences. The Journal also includes a section for Book Reviews and features food-related art.

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Modernism in Cooking: New Directions

High science has established its place in contemporary cooking.  John Lanchester has written an excellent piece about it in the March 21, 2011, New Yorker, (pp. 64-68.)  He calls it “Incredible Edibles:  The Mad Genius of ‘Modernist Cuisine.’”

Lanchester starts with “sous vide” cooking.  Sous vide is when you put the food in a plastic bag, withdraw all the air, put it in a warm temperature controlled bath, and cook it for many hours to the exact temperature you wish.  He claims the results are extraordinary, and he reviews some of the leading proponents of it, such as David Chang (Momofuku) and Nathan Myhrvold (Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking.)   The latter book is a huge compendium of sous vide and other high science based approaches to cooking, both for the public and, for those fortunate to have the money and equipment, for the home.

Lanchester then traces the work of other chefs like Ferran Adria in Catalonia and Heston Blumenthal.  What we see is the effort to understand the chemistry and physics of diverse approaches and their extrapolation to exoticness, such as desserts which are cool on one side and warm on the other.  Modernist cooking is differentiated from “traditional” cooking, the New International a la Thomas Keller and Alice Waters.

In the course of his discussion, Lanchester shares nuggets of cooking strategies he has gained from his discussion. One important trick is to keep flipping a steak every fifteen seconds and it will cook faster.  He also shares factoid tidbits that have significant taste and cultural implications. “Water boils at a cooler temperature in Mexico City—twelve degrees Fahrenheit cooler—owing to higher altitude and lower air pressure….the New York oven is seven degrees hotter, and after three hours is ahead by eleven degrees.  That is a complicated matrix of differences for cooks to manage.”

In addition, Lanchester tells us about his own home experiments with modernist cooking and says that it is quite possible to do, provided you have the equipment, time and patience.  He sees a great future for modernist cooking: “…it proposes all kinds of new possibilities beyond familiar sensation and familiar language; food that is, to some deliberate extent, uncomforting.”  I think his review is worth reading for the directions it suggests and the possibilities it offers.  I would like to be able to try some of the recipes from the books he mentions—he has whet my appetite!

Comments by Richard Zimmer

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Anthropological perspectives on migration, food and nutrition

Preparing injera, a transnational Ethiopian dietary staple

With the permission of the editors of Anthropology News, we republish SAFN’s monthly news column from that publication.  This is the May 2011 column, edited by Kenneth Maes and Alyson Young.

In this column we highlight a recently published NAPA Bulletin (vol 34), “Anthropological Perspectives on Migration and Health,” edited by SAFN President Craig Hadley. Articles in this volume address the diet and nutrition of various migrant groups that navigate complex and changing cultural, political and economic contexts.

Hadley’s introduction underlines that interactions between migration and health are highly complex. Anthropologists and allied health professionals have struggled with this complexity, hindered by the use of categorizations that obscure the heterogeneity between and within migrant populations; by imprecise proxy measures of acculturation, which are unable to specify mechanisms by which migration can impact health; and by too often focusing on the health impacts of individual-level agency and group-level cultural norms rather than on social inequalities and public policies that limit access to wealth and information.

Heide Castañeda provides a theoretical and methodological overview, asking what larger anthropological questions can be advanced by studying migrant health. She notes that the study of migrant health highlights global inequities related to labor and health care. The study of migration and health also encourages a rethinking of borders, connections and identities, and ideally forces anthropologists to consider how the knowledge they produce affects study participants and serves certain political agendas. Castañeda asserts that widespread reliance on charity clinics, volunteerism and humanitarian efforts for providing migrants with health care reflects that societies have become accustomed to inequality, and that states are unwilling to address “conflicting economic and political demands related to the continued need for certain forms of migrant labor” (p 20).

SAFN Treasurer Crystal Patil and colleagues report on exploratory ethnographic study of food access and diet among refugee groups of various African and Asian countries resettled in Midwestern US cities. The authors note that refugees face many challenges and opportunities as they transition from low-income contexts characterized by high mortality and low reliance on processed foods to high-income contexts characterized by low mortality and high reliance processed foods. Their ethnographic data suggest multiple ways in which “health and well-being are produced and eroded on arrival in the United States” (p 155), involving interactions among the resources and services available within environments of resettlement, migration geopolitics, the influences of peers, resettlement agencies and ethnocultural norms, as well as individual characteristics and household socioeconomic status.

Ramona Pérez, Margaret Handley and James Grieshop provide an account of the political, economic and nutritional implications of lead-contaminated ceramic cookware produced in Oaxaca, Mexico. This cookware is sent along with food care packages to migrant families in Monterey County, California through envios. In the late 1990s, the cookware was linked to lead toxicity resulting in gastrointestinal distress, severe headaches and malaise, which were detected among Mexican-American children seeking care at public clinics in Monterey County. In California, the public policy response was to conduct unannounced health inspections on businesses thought to be involved in the envios system, to confiscate food items and threaten to fine the businesses. This approach was perceived as akin to racial profiling and discrimination and drove some envios underground. In Mexico, the policy response has been largely nonexistent because Mexican officials do not consider lead exposure a significant problem. In addition, the Mexican state cannot afford to provide ceramic-producing communities with resources necessary for production techniques that do not require lead. Faced with these sensitive political and economic challenges, Pérez and colleagues decided that one way to address the health impacts of lead exposure was through nutritional programming in both Oaxaca and California. Promoting diets rich in calcium and iron can prevent the rapid absorption of lead. While this approach does not eliminate the problem, it “provides profound opportunity for a healthier life despite the lack of intervention by Mexican government officials and absence of community based health programming by health officials in the Monterey area” (p 120).

Other food and nutrition-focused articles in the volume include Horton and Barker’s on the diets and oral health statuses of Mexican immigrants and their children in California’s Central Valley; Dharod and Croom’s on the prevalence of child hunger among Somali refugee households in Lewiston, Maine; and Trapp’s on the implementation of the USDA and Office of Refugee Resettlement Food and Nutrition Outreach program.

Please send your news and items of interest to Kenneth Maes or Alyson Young.

Posted by Kenneth Maes.

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Special Issue of Food & Foodways

I just got a copy of the most recent volume of Food & Foodways. This special issue was guest edited by SAFN member John Brett and Culture & Agriculture member Lisa Markowitz. For those of you interested in food policy and security, this volume of Food & Foodways should not be missed. The articles largely come out of a double session of papers from the 2007 American Anthropological Association meeting in Washington, DC. These panels were organized by Tom Marchione who wanted these sessions on food security and policy to underline the social justice aspects of food systems.

“The Public Interest and the American Food Enterprise: Anthropological Policy Insights”

Original Articles
Introduction: The Public Interest and the American Food Enterprise: Anthropological Policy Insights
Lisa Markowitz; John Brett
Pages 1 – 6
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A Tribute: Thomas J. Marchione, Anthropologist, Food-Security Specialist, and Human Rights Advocate
Ellen Messer
Pages 7 – 9
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Food Aid and the World Hunger Solution: Why the U.S. Should Use a Human Rights Approach
Thomas J. Marchione; Ellen Messer
Pages 10 – 27
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The Political-Economics of Developing Markets versus Satisfying Food Needs
John A. Brett
Pages 28 – 42
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The Wages of Food Factories
Michael J. Broadway; Donald D. Stull
Pages 43 – 65
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Expanding Access and Alternatives: Building Farmers’ Markets in Low-Income Communities
Lisa Markowitz
Pages 66 – 80
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The American Omnivore’s Dilemma: Who Constructs “Organic” Food?
Janet Chrzan
Pages 81 – 95
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Eliminating “Hunger” in the U.S.: Changes in Policy Regarding the Measurement of Food Security
David A. Himmelgreen; Nancy Romero-Daza
Pages 96 – 113
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Book Reviews
A Review of “The World of Soy”
by Christine M. Du Bois, Chee-Beng Tan, and Sidney Mintz (eds.), The University of Illinois Press, 337 pp.

Ryan Thomas Adams
Pages 114 – 117
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A Review of “Reading Food in Modern Japanese Literature”
by Tomoko Aoyama. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2008. 274 pp.

Klara Seddon
Pages 117 – 120
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posted by Rachel Black

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