Podcast Dispatches from Issue 20.4: Adrienne Bitar

For our third series of podcasts produced in collaboration with Meant to Be Eaten on Heritage Radio Network, we sit down (virtually) with authors who contributed to our final issue of 2020, which continues to feature COVID-19 Dispatches, but also original research articles around the themes of “Working with Ingredients”, “Taste and Technology in East Asia”, “Excursions”, and “Dolce”.

For this episode, Editorial Collective member Lisa Haushofer is joined by Adrienne Bitar to discuss her article, “Decoding Miracle Food Cures for COVID-19”, in which she investigates the many “miracle” food cures for COVID-19 that continue to circulate on social media, such as “Israeli lemon baking soda tea” and “Yoruba pepper stew”, both presented as simple recipes for the complex disease that crippled the planet in 2020. While “miracle” cures are nothing new, the changing roles and perceptions of authority, food and new media are arguably more urgently in need of attention at a time when the pandemic is far from over, and consumers ever more desperate for a quick-fix return to “normal”. As Adrienne importantly underscores, while there’s little danger for most in consuming small daily amounts of lemon juice or pepper stew, there is more at stake in following a recommendation to ingest bleach, or in simply believing that lemon juice can be as protective as any scientifically tested and approved recommendation (also typically subject to peer-review before social media dissemination).