Summer 2016, Volume 16, Number 2

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Summer 2016, Volume 16, Number 2

FROM THE EDITOR
Editor’s Letter | Melissa L. Caldwell

RESEARCH BRIEFS
Seeding Controversy: Did Israel Invent the Cherry Tomato? | Anna Wexler

For Oompa-Loompas, Orange Was the New Black | Layla Eplett

RESEARCH ESSAYS
Cultivating Community: Black Agrarianism in Cleveland, Ohio | Janet Fiskio, Md Rumi Shammin, and Vel Scott

The Mikoyan Mini-Hamburger, or How the Socialist Realist Novel about the Soviet Meat Industry Was Created | Ronald D LeBlanc

Siopao and Power: The Place of Pork Buns in Manila’s Chinese History | Adrian De Leon

Materializing Memory, Mood, and Agency: The Emotional Geographies of the Modern Kitchen | Angela Meah

Wicked Nutrition: The Controversial Greening of Official Dietary Guidance | Susanne Freidberg

VISUAL ESSAY
Bashir & Bashir | Demet Güzey

CREATIVE REFLECTIONS
My Dead Father’s Raspberry Patch, My Dead Mother’s Piecrust: Understanding Memory as Sense | Lisa Heldke

A Rule of Thumb for Eating with Your Hands | Turna Ray

You Say “Barberyes” and I Say “Barberries” | Sandra Clark Jergensen

REVIEW ESSAYS
Hungering for Heritage: Nostalgia and the Rise of Critical Southern Food Studies | Jennifer Jensen Wallach

Cooking in Modernity’s Crucible: Global Locals, Native Creoles, and Caribbean Food | J Brent Crosson

Response from the Author | Candice Goucher

REVIEWS
Culinary Herbs & Spices of the World
By Ben-Erik van Wyk, Reviewed by Susan Strasser

The Culinary Imagination: From Myth to Modernity
By Sandra M Gilbert, Reviewed by Laura T Di Summa-Knoop

Food Activism: Agency, Democracy and Economy
Edited by Carole Counihan and Valeria Siniscalchi, Reviewed by Elisa Ascione

Cumin, Camels, and Caravans: A Spice Odyssey
By Gary Paul Nabhan, Reviewed by Natalie Rachel Morris

High Society Dinners: Dining in Tsarist Russia
By Yuri Lotman and Jelena Pogosjan, Reviewed by Alison K Smith

Food at Sea: Shipboard Cuisine from Ancient Times to Modern Times
By Simon Spalding, Reviewed by Abigail Carroll

BOOKS AND FILMS RECEIVED

Top Photo:
FIGURE 3: Vegetable Bouquet, Colfax Garden.
PHOTOGRAPH BY BRAD MASI © 2015

Resistance Is Fertile! | Anne Meneley

from Gastronomica 14:4

The practices of everyday commensality—producing, provisioning, and consuming food and drink in the West Bank of Palestine—are radically affected by the Israeli occupation. I discuss two very different Palestinian initiatives that envision production and consumption of food and drink as a nonviolent means of resisting the occupation: a craft beer called Taybeh brewed in the predominantly Christian Taybeh village close to Ramallah, and a local agriculture movement based in the Ramallah district known as Sharaka (“partnership” in Arabic). Theories of resistance in anthropology, from James Scott’s (1985) conception of resistance tactics as “weapons of the weak” to Lila Abu-Lughod’s (1990) idea of resistance as a “diagnostic of power,” still resonate in Palestine as the Palestinians are so clearly in a position of gross inequality in relation to their Israeli occupiers, whose power is hardly disguised enough to need a diagnostic. I have found Julia Elyachar’s discussion of how agency is embedded in infrastructure and infrastructure is implicated in resistance activities insightful. This is particularly salient given the peculiar status of infrastructure in the West Bank where, instead of facilitating connectivity, infrastructure is designed to impede and exclude flows—in this case, commodities of sustenance (Elyachar 2014: 460). I am primarily concerned with both Christian and Muslim Palestinians in the West Bank; while I did not have the opportunity to travel to Gaza, conditions in Gaza, including the shocking 2014 Israeli military offensive, affect political sentiments and actions in the West Bank, including resistance practices involving food, a topic I will return to briefly in the postscript of this article.

Local food and drink production and consumption have become sites of “agro-resistance.” Vivien Sansour, a journalist and activist, describes 78-year-old Abu Adnan as one of Palestine’s farmer revolutionaries, who “understand on an experiential level that healing for us as a community suffering from oppression and occupation requires the restoration of our sense of self—a self that is defiant but not defined by its oppressor” (Sansour 2010: 2). Dinaa Hadid cites a Palestinian farmer who, like Abu Adnan, envisions agricultural practice itself as a fertile resistance: “‘I don’t throw rocks,’ says farmer Khader, referring to young men who frequently hurl stones during demonstrations. He pointed to his rock-built terraces. ‘I use them to build our future’” (Hadid 2012: 3). I borrow my title from that of a recent article published in Al-Jazeera, “Resistance Is Fertile: Palestine’s Eco-War” (Brownsell 2011), itself a spinoff from the classic line by the Borg in Star Trek: The Next Generation, “Resistance is futile.” Describing Palestinian “guerilla gardeners of the occupied West Bank,” the author quotes Baha Hilo, then of the Joint Advocacy Initiative, responsible for planting olive trees on land that is in danger of being confiscated: “We’re not a militia, our weapons are our pickaxes and shovels, our hands and our olive trees” (ibid.: 3). Baha Hilo was my guide during my five years as an intermittent “guerilla gardener” myself, as we picked olives on Palestinian land threatened by Israeli military or settlers. Here, I examine how guerrilla gardeners are part of contemporary Palestine agricultural movements and, moreover, are deployed as a new form of nonviolent resistance to the Israeli occupation.

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Going to Extremes | Darra Goldstein

from Gastronomica 11:3

Many years ago, at the height of the Cold War, I landed a job with the United States Information Agency as a guide for exhibitions about American life that toured the Soviet Union. The great Kitchen Debate between Nixon and Krushchev took place at the first exhibition, “The American Home,” in 1959. The year I signed on, in 1978, the theme was “Agriculture USA.”

Our stateside training took us to Illinois, where we endured ten intensive days of lectures on topics from agricultural credit and finance in the U.S. to plant diseases and new methods of irrigation. We also visited several mega-farms that demonstrated the latest technology. There was no question: American productivity would leave the Soviet farmers in the mud. I remember my first sight of an industrial pig farm—the huge holding ponds for waste, the cold, metal-slatted floors where a desperate sow tried to nurse her piglets comfortably. From the heartland we headed to the usda Agricultural Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland, to learn about plant genetics and germ plasm. Our training ended at Esskay, a Baltimore slaughterhouse and sausage factory, which makes the official hotdogs for the Orioles and the u.s. Naval Academy. I can still hear the screams of the pigs as they were shunted onto the disassembly line.

My job in the Soviet Union was to tout the glories of efficient American agriculture to the poor, hungry Russians. And so, for a good year of my life I participated in—and to some degree believed in—our industrial food system. My thinking has changed drastically over the years (I think it began at that Baltimore slaughterhouse), but even though my politics and eating practices are aligned—we make sure that our meat is local and humanely killed—I’ve lately been troubled by how polarized the discourse about food has become. Either American food production is big and bad (“corporate farming,” “the agroindustrial complex,” or simply “Big Ag,” the abuses of which I’ve seen firsthand), or it is small and heartwarming—the farmers’ markets, the csas, greenhorns choosing the life of the soil over the corporate rat race. Our national conversation has descended into argument: Either you are on the side of might (the existing American food system), or on the side of right (the locavores or, as my husband the organic vegetable gardener calls them, the locabores). Both sides are blindered. Industrial is pitted against local; growers are either laboratory dependent or committed to “natural” practices. Such extremes lead to cynical decisions, like the waving of green and sustainable flags by corporations that are anything but environmentally concerned.

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