Authenticity is one of those qualities that have proved especially vexing to those of us who are concerned with food matters. It is not simply the question of what makes something authentic, but also the question of what “authentic” means. Most often, what counts as “authentic” is imagined as an absolute state that can be quantified in some way, whether through aesthetic presentation, a specific combination of ingredients, sensory experiences, or the particular origin story attached to a dish or meal. Yet as Arjun Appadurai noted many years ago, authenticity is less an absolute state of existence than it is a relative category. More significantly, it is a relative category that is inherently and explicitly moral. As Appadurai wrote in his essay “On Culinary Authenticity”: “authenticity measures the degree to which something is more or less what it ought to be. It is thus a norm of some sort.” Appadurai then queried the nature of this norm: “But is it an immanent norm, emerging somehow from the cuisine itself? Or is it an external norm, reflecting some imposed gastronomic standard? If it is an immanent norm, who is its authoritative voice…? If it is an imposed norm, who is its privileged voice?” (Appadurai 1986: 25).
FROM THE EDITOR
Editor’s Letter | Melissa L. Caldwell
The Price of Harmony: The Ideology of Japanese Cuisine | Scott Haas
PB&J: The Rise and Fall of an Iconic American Dish | Steve Estes
Free to Serve? Emergency Food and Volunteer Labor in the Urban U.S. | Maggie Dickinson
From Sensory Capacities to Sensible Skills: Experimenting with El Celler
de Can Roca | Ana María Ulloa, Josep Roca, and Hèloïse Vilaseca
Turning Passion into Profession: A History of Craft Beer in Italy |
Matteo Fastigi and Jillian R. Cavanaugh
Commensality, Politics, and Plato | Michael Jackson and Damian Grace
Lee Makes Rugelach | Misha Volf
Innovative Directions in Philosophy of/through Food | Joey Tuminello
The Rewards of (Gluten) Intolerance | Bethany F. Econopouly
and Stephen S. Jones
Falafel Nation: Cuisine and the Making of National Identity in Israel
By Yael Raviv, Reviewed by Richard Klin
Pawpaw: In Search of America’s Forgotten Fruit
By Andrew Moore, Reviewed by Khristopher Flack
Thirsty Dragon: China’s Lust for Bordeaux and the Threat to the
World’s Best Wines
By Suzanne Mustacich, Reviewed by Jean DeBernardi
First Bite: How We Learn to Eat
By Bee Wilson, Reviewed by Lexi Earl
Divided Spirits: Tequila, Mezcal, and the Politics of Production
By Sarah Bowen, Reviewed by Lindi Masur
BOOKS AND FILMS RECEIVED
University of California Press is seeking a new editor for its journal, Gastronomica: The Journal of Critical Food Studies. This quarterly, peer-reviewed publication has been serving the field of food studies since 2001. This position will succeed Melissa Caldwell when her term completes in December 2018.
Gastronomica is a peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary, international journal publishing critical, translational studies on food. In the pages of Gastronomica, you will find examinations of historical trends and transformations in food and eating; analyses of the political, economic, and social dimensions of food production and consumption; research briefs on emerging issues in fields related to food research and innovation; and interviews with key figures in the world of food (scholars, activists, producers, and consumers). With cutting-edge research and explorations of the theoretical and methodological underpinnings of food studies.
The Editor will be responsible for soliciting, reviewing and making final decisions on submissions to the journal and will manage all aspects of the publication and review process working with an editorial board and UC Press staff as appropriate.
Applicants should have a distinguished scholarly record in the field of food studies, anthropology, sociology, or related fields. Previous journal editorial experience is preferred, but not required. Applicants should possess strong organizational and management skills, the ability to work with others and a commitment to publishing high quality, relevant, and engaging scholarship.
Applicants should develop and share their vision and strategy for Gastronomica including mission, aims and scope, strategies for developing and acquiring content, and Editorial Board structure.
University of California Press offers a modest stipend for editorial support for this position.
Applicants should send a letter of application including their vision for the future of the journal, description of qualifications for the position, a current CV, and a description of any potential institutional support to:
Applicants are encouraged to submit applications by January 30th 2018, although applications will be considered on an ongoing basis.
Is there such a thing as a perfect food? A perfect meal? A perfect dining experience? And if so, what would it be like? Would it be a dream come true, would it exceed expectations, or would it be a disappointment because the reality could not match the desire?
For something that ultimately satisfies the most basic of biological needs, food has a curious relationship to notions of perfection, most notably beliefs about what constitutes an ideal or even perfect world. For far too many people around the world struggling with food insecurity, it is basic access to food and water that would be the ideal. For those with stable access to foods, however, often ideals of perfection are expressed through differential values associated with particular foods or the ways in which foods are produced, presented, and consumed.
Food’s place within utopian visions was the theme of the 21st Symposium of Australian Gastronomy, which was held in Melbourne in early December 2016. Food scholars, writers, practitioners, and gastronomes of all sorts gathered from around the world to discuss and experiment with different visions of what might constitute a food utopia. Inspired by Thomas More’s Utopia, published five hundred years ago, symposium participants drew connections between More’s idealistic visions with those of other utopian thinkers and activists, such as Charles Fourier’s ideas about gastrosophy, Soviet-era socialist planners who imagined possibilities for liberation through communal dining, NASA scientists who dreamed of what farms and gardens might look like in space colonies of the future, and even contemporary scientists working in the fields of synthetic biology and hospitality management to create new technologically perfect foods and food experiences. Yet despite the prevailing sentiment of progress and improvement embedded in many utopian dreams, the realities are often far from ideal, and may, in fact, introduce new problems—a reminder compellingly presented by Darra Goldstein, the founder and previous editor of Gastronomica, in her brilliant keynote lecture about the myths of abundance promised by early Soviet politicians and socialist activists.
FROM THE EDITOR
Editor’s Letter | Melissa L. Caldwell
Immigrant Labor, Food Politics: A Dialogue between the Authors of Four Recent Books about the Food System | Margaret Gray, Sarah Horton, Vanesa Ribas, and Angela Stuesse
Willing (White) Workers on Organic Farms? Reflections on Volunteer
Farm Labor and the Politics of Precarity | Julie Guthman
Modern Chinese History as Reflected in a Teahouse Mirror | Carolyn Phillips
Oakland’s Friday Farmers’ Market and Its Vegetable Vocabulary of Love | David Bacon
The Seeds beneath the Snow: A Commentary on Two Films about the Svalbard Global Seed Vault | Tracey Heatherington
Learning to Like Muktuk: An Unlikely Explorer in Territorial Alaska
By Penelope S. Easton, Reviewed by Sveta Yamin-Pasternak
Eating Words: A Norton Anthology of Food Writing
Edited by Sandra M. Gilbert and Roger J. Porter, Reviewed by Tanfer Emin Tunc
Organic Struggle: The Movement for Sustainable Agriculture in the United States
By Brian K. Obach, Reviewed by Bradley M. Jones
Knish: In Search of the Jewish Soul Food
By Laura Silver, Reviewed by Claudia Raquel Prieto Piastro
Nutritionism: The Science and Politics of Dietary Advice
By Gyorgy Scrinis, Reviewed by Lua Wilkinson
Raise: What 4-H Teaches 7 Million Kids and How Its Lessons Could
Change Food and Farming Forever
By Kiera Butler, Reviewed by Ryan Phillips
“Maki” by Julie-Anne Cassidy and Maryse St-Amand © 2015.