Tag: Food

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 →

Helen Atwater: The First Lady of American Nutrition You’ve Never Heard Of

When I was researching the history of American food guides, I came across one of the earliest resources, “How to Select Foods,” published in 1917 by Hunt and Atwater. At first I assumed that this Atwater was Wilbur Olin Atwater, the man so often heralded as “The Father of American Nutrition.” I was wrong. It… Read more →

Why Eighteenth-Century Hangriness Might Be A Thing (And Why It Matters)

Captured by Abenaki Indians from New Hampshire in 1724, the Englishwoman Elizabeth Hanson described how after a disappointing hunt, her captor “with a very angry Look threw a Stick or Corn-Cob at me,” and threatened to kill her and her children. But, Hanson observed, “when-ever he was in such a Temper, he wanted Food, and… Read more →

“We lost our appetite for food”: Why Eighteenth-Century Hangriness Might Not Be a Thing

In August 2015, Oxford Dictionaries declared that the word “hangry” had entered our common vocabulary. Surely most people living in the twenty-first century have experienced the sense of being simultaneously hungry and angry. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, hunger was also everywhere. A recent NPR essay examines how slaveholders withheld food from enslaved people,… Read more →