Tag: Food

An Interview with Janis Thiessen on Snacks

I recently had the opportunity to chat with one of my long time Twitter buddies, Janis Thiessen, Associate Professor of History and Associate Director of the Oral History Center at the University of Winnipeg, about her new book, Snacks: A Canadian Food History. I’ve never had the chance to taste many of the salty and… Read more →

The Cultural Logic of Calories and Body Types

We were promised calorie labels. New York City has required them in chain restaurants since 2008 and California since 2009, but the Affordable Care Act mandated them nationwide. In April 2016, the FDA issued a “final rule” on the calorie-labeling requirement, resolving questions like whether movie theaters and alcoholic beverages were included (they were), and… Read more →

Microwave Cookbooks: Technology, Convenience & Dining Alone

The microwave is celebrating its 50th birthday this year, but even that can’t redeem the innumerable copies of microwave cookbooks you’ll find discarded at thrift shops. Recently, while scanning the musty smelling shelves for vintage copies from Julia Child and James Beard, I finally gave into my curiosity and purchased a small corpus of five… Read more →

A Boy or A Girl? Sex Selection, Regimen, and Fertility in Ancient Greece

Selecting the sex of an embryo brings up a host of ethical, economic, and political considerations. When the issue arises in the western media, the focus is most often on Assisted Reproductive Technologies, such as IVF, or in the context of genetic research (Sex selection: Getting the Baby You Want and Why We Should Consider… Read more →

Real Men & Real Food: The Cultural Politics of Male Weight Loss

When Weight Watchers first launched an online program “customized just for guys” in 2007, one of their advertisements proclaimed, “Real men don’t diet.” This counterintuitive declaration evoked the questions that animate my current research. I’m analyzing how the consumer culture constructs notions of “real men” through depictions of food and the body, particularly during moments… Read more →

The Magic Liquid that Guarantees the Life of the Infant: Breast Milk as a Superfood

“Try squirting milk on that.” I stopped keeping track of how many times someone recommended healing my newborn’s ailments with a direct application of breast milk. From the time my husband cut a nail too short to a slightly more serious case of pink eye, my friends and family had come to regard breast milk… Read more →

“Just Close Your Eyes and Chew!”: Spirulina, Modernization, and the “Lost” Crops of the Past

On February 20, 2017, the young nation of South Sudan declared that it was suffering famine in several regions of the country.1 It was the first of several nations, including Yemen, Nigeria, and Somalia, that have begun to suffer severe food scarcity this year, resulting in what is arguably the largest humanitarian crisis in decades…. Read more →

Itinerant Tacos: A Brief History of Tortilla Factories

The squeaky wheels, the baking corn masa, and the silver behemoth carrying golden circles on a metal conveyor — the sights, sounds, and smells of tortillerías invoke memories of childhood visits to Mexico. However, tortillerías, or tortilla factories, increasingly dot the United States, illustrating a lingering cultural tie to the region south of the border…. Read more →

A Healthy Dose of Skepticism

The FDA is on a mission to redefine healthy, and they “want to get it right.” This undertaking stems in part from ongoing criticism of the FDA’s nearly twenty-year-old, fat-phobic labeling regulations, in which absurdities abound. For instance, low-fat toaster pastries — comprised predominately of unpronounceable ingredients from a chemistry exam, often meet requirements for… Read more →

The Pre-History of the Paleo Diet

Dr. Loren Cordain describes himself as the “world’s foremost authority on the evolutionary basis of diet and disease” and as “one of the world’s leading experts on the natural human diet of our Stone Age ancestors.” He is the self-proclaimed founder of the Paleo Diet Movement and champions a way of eating that mimics that… Read more →