Spring 2016, Volume 16, Number 1

Spring 2016, Volume 16, Number 1

Editor’s Letter | Melissa L. Caldwell

RESEARCH BRIEFS16_1_cover_large
Banking on Wild Relatives to Feed the World | Maywa Montenegro

Introducing a Special Issue on Rescuing Taste from the Nation: Oceans, Borders, and Culinary Flows | Cecilia Leong-Salobir, Krishnendu Ray, and Jaclyn Rohe

Love in a Hot Climate: Foodscapes of Trade, Travel, War, and Intimacy | Jean Duruz

“Tastes Like Horse Piss”: Asian Encounters with European Beer | Jeffrey M. Pilcher

Feeding the Girmitiya: Food and Drink on Indentured Ships to the Sugar Colonies | Ashutosh Kumar

A Foreign Infusion: The Forgotten Legacy of Japanese Chadō on Modern Chinese Tea Arts | Lawrence Zhang

Culinary Work at the Crossroads in Istanbul | Zafer Yenal and Michael Kubiena

The Flow of Turtle Soup from the Caribbean via Europe to Canton, and Its Modern American Fate | May-bo Ching

Epilogue | Prasenjit Duara

The Knife and the Sharpener | Andrew Simmons

Dated, Labeled, and Preserved | Nancy Sommers

The Slaughter
Directed by Jason B Kohl, Reviewed by Alex Blanchette

Black, White, and Green: Farmers Markets, Race, and the Green Economy
By Alison Hope Alkon, Reviewed by Fa-Tai Shieh

The Donut: History, Recipes, and Lore, from Boston to Berlin
By Michael Krondl, Reviewed by Zenia Malmer

Eating Dangerously: Why the Government Can’t Keep Your Food Safe and How You Can
By Michael Booth and Jennifer Brown, Reviewed by Kai Chen

Writings on the Sober Life: The Art and Grace of Living Long
By Alvise Cornaro, Reviewed by India Aurora Mandelkern

Note-by-Note Cooking: The Future of Food
By Hervé This, Reviewed by Camila Loew

Word of Mouth: What We Talk About When We Talk About Food
By Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson, Reviewed by Cornelia Gerhardt

The Language of Food: A Linguist Reads the Menu
By Dan Jurafsky, Reviewed by Anna Wexler

Word Salad Challenge | Richard Wilk


Top Image:
FIGURE 4: The Tsingtao brewery, founded in 1903, with its iconic German architecture and a Chinese-English sign reading: Tsing Tao Beer can give you passion and happiness.


Don’t Mono-crop the Movement: Toward a Cultural Ecology of Local Food | B.R. Cohen

from Gastronomica 14:1

What matters for the future of healthy food is not just farmers’ markets, CSAs, urban farms, food hubs, and the like—the particular individual innovations of the foodsheds—but the ways they interact and overlap. 

The former director of the Community Food Security Coalition, Andy Fisher, recently pondered what, if anything, holds the local food movement together. The CFSC is a coalition of several hundred food security organizations across North America; Fisher’s prior experience at its helm offered a vantage point to ask about cohesion and common purpose. It was an echo of the point Michael Pollan made about the 2012 election, when President Obama had asked if there really was a movement to be tapped—for him, a voting bloc—or just a collection of disparate pieces. And it is an important question for advocates and activists to ask, but not because there actually is one thing holding the movement together, like a label, or an aphorism, or a fad diet, or an appeal to public health. Rather than an individual feature that can center various attempts to improve food and farming, what matters is the way the many activities of local food advocates overlap with one another in an interdependent, ecological whole.

This is a point about organizational identity and the political possibilities such an identity makes possible. It is grounded, though, in the ways advocates for food health, security, and sovereignty envision the spatial arrangements of food production, distribution, and consumption. In North America—and across the United States in particular—good food advocates over the past generation have defined that spatial arrangement almost entirely through the farm-to-fork trope. That trope provides a common framework to think about the various stages involved in food and farming. Consider its many examples. Farmers’ markets, food hubs, community supported agriculture (CSA), virtual marketplaces, organic grocery stores, rooftop, community, and schoolyard gardens, 100-Mile Diets, urban farms: the architecture of reform is endless, but every part seeks to reduce the distance between food producers (farms) and consumers (forks).

Some innovations, for example, pull consumers closer to producers by bringing them to the farm (CSAs); some redefine consumers as producers too (gardens and urban farms); some eliminate links in the long farm-to-fork chain by appealing to urban living patterns (virtual marketplaces, organic grocery stores, food trucks). These would seem to provide points for a food movement to rally around.

Read more

Executive Pastry Chef: Washington, D.C. | Bill Yosses

from Gastronomica 10:1

When I first began visiting France, I was amazed at the quality of the produce, especially at Rungis, the large food market outside of Paris. The chef I worked for at La Foux d’Allose, in the sixth arrondissement, was a man of Rabelaisian dimensions and appetites, and working for him changed me forever. Each day Alex Guini would meet me in front of the restaurant at 3:00 a.m., and we would drive his little Renault deux-chevaux to the market to buy provisions. The pavilions at Rungis are the size of airplane hangars and are filled with the best products Europe has to offer, from Spain, Germany, Italy, and beyond. Several acres of primeurs—fruits and vegetables—are displayed like jewels; the purveyors eye each new customer suspiciously.

Above: Pastry chef Bill Yosses puts the finishing touches on a cake for the Fourth of July celebration at the White House, July 2008. Photograph by Chris Greenberg © 2008

Read more

Emile Zola’s Portrait of Les Halles | Alexandra Leaf

from Gastronomica 1:2

Les légumes

Le pavillon des gros légumes est très encombré. A 10 heures, les allées encore pleines de détritus. Des montagnes de choux.

Autour de deux pavillons des légumes et des fruits se trouvent les marchandes en plein vent; tables posées sur des tréteaux, garnies la plupart d’étoffes noires. Le gros marché se tient sur le large trottoir du côté de la rue Rambuteau. Les marchandes y sont sur trois rangées avec passage pour aller aux grilles: deux rangées dans la rue du Pont Neuf. Ce qui frappe, ce sont les chicorées épanouies, montrant leur cœur blanc dans le vert tendre de leurs grosses feuilles. Carottes rouges, navets blancs avec leur panache de feuilles vertes. Hauts paniers d’artichauts. Tranches jaunes de potiron. Tas de julienne coupée. Tas de tomates, de pomme de terre, d’oignons blancs. Paquets de poireaux. Paquets pour le pot-au-feu. Paquets d’oseilles et d’épinards. Concombres. Choux épluchés blancs. Montagne de choux, les frisés, toutes les espèces. Romaines empilées. Paquets d’ail, de thym, de laurier, de ciboule. L’après midi, parapluies attachés à un baton, droit ou penché. Les parapluies sont surtout d’un bleu éteint. Le soleil tape obliquement sur les légumes, rougit les carottes, allume le cœur blanc des chicorées. Très pittoresque. Une marchande protégeant trois salades sous une vielle ombrelle de satin. Paris circule dans la large rue.

Les tas de tomates, bien rangées, d’un rouge vif.

Les bottes de mouron et les millets en branches, les échaudés.

Les scaroles au cœur blanc. Les choux violets. Les choux frisés. Les choux blancs épluchés. Artichauts cuits.

Les marchandes aux petits tas, surtout vieilles, ratatinées.

En bonnet, nu-tête, les jeunes en filet, les vielles surtout en marmotte, toutes avec des tabliers. Peu d’hommes.

Portrait of Emile Zola, ca. 1900. From Emile Zola, Carnets d’enquêtes: Une Ethnographie Inédite de la France; by permission of Librairie Plon, Paris

Read more