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A History of the Future of Food
In this provocative and lively addition to his acclaimed writings on food, Warren Belasco takes a sweeping look at a little-explored yet timely topic: humanity's deep-rooted anxiety about the future of food. People have expressed their worries about the future of the food supply in myriad ways, and here Belasco explores a fascinating array of material ranging over two hundred years—from futuristic novels and films to world's fairs, Disney amusement parks, supermarket and restaurant architecture, organic farmers' markets, debates over genetic engineering, and more. Placing food issues in this deep historical context, he provides an innovative framework for understanding the future of food today—when new prophets warn us against complacency at the same time that new technologies offer promising solutions. But will our grandchildren's grandchildren enjoy the cornucopian bounty most of us take for granted? This first history of the future to put food at the center of the story provides an intriguing perspective on this question for anyone—from general readers to policy analysts, historians, and students of the future—who has wondered about the future of life's most basic requirement.
Southern Gender and Southern Food
Combining the study of food culture with gender studies and using perspectives from historical, literary, environmental, and American studies, Elizabeth S. D. Engelhardt examines what southern women’s choices about food tell us about race, class, gender, and social power.
Shaken by the legacies of Reconstruction and the turmoil of the Jim Crow era, different races and classes came together in the kitchen, often as servants and mistresses but also as people with shared tastes and traditions. Generally focused on elite whites or poor blacks, southern foodways are often portrayed as stable and unchanging—even as an untroubled source of nostalgia. A Mess of Greens offers a different perspective, taking into account industrialization, environmental degradation, and women’s increased role in the work force, all of which caused massive economic and social changes. Engelhardt reveals a broad middle of southerners that included poor whites, farm families, and middle- and working-class African Americans, for whom the stakes of what counted as southern food were very high.
Five “moments” in the story of southern food—moonshine, biscuits versus cornbread, girls’ tomato clubs, pellagra as depicted in mill literature, and cookbooks as means of communication—have been chosen to illuminate the connectedness of food, gender, and place. Incorporating community cookbooks, letters, diaries, and other archival materials, A Mess of Greens shows that choosing to serve cold biscuits instead of hot cornbread could affect a family’s reputation for being hygienic, moral, educated, and even godly.
How Corn Shaped the U.S. Heartland
Food historian Cynthia Clampitt pens the epic story of what happened when Mesoamerican farmers bred a nondescript grass into a staff of life so prolific, so protean, that it represents nothing less than one of humankind's greatest achievements. Blending history with expert reportage, she traces the disparate threads that have woven corn into the fabric of our diet, politics, economy, science, and cuisine. At the same time she explores its future as a source of energy and the foundation of seemingly limitless green technologies. The result is a bourbon-to-biofuels portrait of the astonishing plant that sustains the world.
Cash, Cows, and the Death of the American Dairy Farm
The failing economics of the traditional small dairy farm, the rise of the factory mega-farm with its resultant pollution and disease, and the uncertain future of milk There’s something un-American and illogical about a market system where the price of a product bears no relation to the cost of its inputs. Yet we have lived with such a scheme in the dairy industry for decades: retail milk prices have stayed the same, while milk prices paid to farmers have plummeted. The dairy business is at the heart of the culture and economy of Vermont, just as it is of many other states. That fact meant little to Kirk Kardashian until he started taking his daughter to daycare at a dairy farm a few miles from his Vermont home—a farm owned by the same family for generations, but whose owners were now struggling to make ends meet. Suddenly, the abstractions of economics and commodities markets were replaced by the flesh and blood of a farm family whom he greeted every day. In the tradition of Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser, Kardashian asks whether it is right that family farmers in America should toil so hard, produce a food so wholesome and so popular, and still lose money. This gripping investigation uncovers the hidden forces behind dairy farm consolidation, and explains why milk—a staple commodity subject to both government oversight and industry collusion—has proven so tricky to stabilize. Meanwhile, every year we continue to lose scores of small dairy farms. With passion, wit, and humor, Milk Money shows where we are now, how we got here, and where we might be going.
I simply want to live in the place with the best food in the world. This dream led Eric Dregni to Italy, first to Milan and eventually to a small, fog-covered town to the north: Modena, the birthplace of balsamic vinegar, Ferrari, and Luciano Pavarotti. Never Trust a Thin Cook is a classic American abroad tale, brimming with adventures both expected and unexpected, awkward social moments, and most important, very good food.
Parmesan thieves. Tortellini based on the shape of Venus's navel. Infiltrating the secret world of the balsamic vinegar elite. Life in Modena is a long way from the Leaning Tower of Pizza (the south Minneapolis pizzeria where Eric and his girlfriend and fellow traveler Katy first met), and while some Italians are impressed that "Minnesota" sounds like "minestrone," they are soon learning what it means to live in a country where the word "safe" doesn't actually exist-only "less dangerous." Thankfully, another meal is always waiting, and Dregni revels in uncorking the secrets of Italian cuisine, such as how to guzzle espresso "corrected" with grappa and learning that mold really does make a good salami great.
What begins as a gastronomical quest soon becomes a revealing, authentic portrait of how Italians live and a hilarious demonstration of how American and Italian cultures differ. In Never Trust a Thin Cook, Eric Dregni dishes up the sometimes wild experiences of living abroad alongside the simple pleasures of Italian culture in perfect, complementary proportions.
Volume 7: Foodways
When the original Encyclopedia of Southern Culture was published in 1989, the topic of foodways was relatively new as a field of scholarly inquiry. Food has always been central to southern culture, but the past twenty years have brought an explosion in interest in foodways, particularly in the South. This volume marks the first encyclopedia of the food culture of the American South, surveying the vast diversity of foodways within the region and the collective qualities that make them distinctively southern.
Articles in this volume explore the richness of southern foodways, examining not only what southerners eat but also why they eat it. The volume contains 149 articles, almost all of them new to this edition of the Encyclopedia. Longer essays address the historical development of southern cuisine and ethnic contributions to the region's foodways. Topical essays explore iconic southern foods such as MoonPies and fried catfish, prominent restaurants and personalities, and the food cultures of subregions and individual cities. The volume is destined to earn a spot on kitchen shelves as well as in libraries.
Fourteen Signature Dishes and Their Histories
With contributions from Karen Leathem, Patricia Kennedy Livingston, Michael Mizell-Nelson, Cynthia LeJeune Nobles, Sharon Stallworth Nossiter, Sara Roahen, and Susan Tucker New Orleans Cuisine: Fourteen Signature Dishes and Their Histories provides essays on the unparalleled recognition New Orleans has achieved as the Mecca of mealtime. Devoting each chapter to a signature cocktail, appetizer, sandwich, main course, staple, or dessert, contributors from the New Orleans Culinary Collective plate up the essence of the Big Easy through its best-known export: great cooking. This book views the city's cuisine as a whole, forgetting none of its flavorful ethnic influences--French, African American, German, Italian, Spanish, and more. In servings of such well-recognized foods as shrimp remoulade, Creole tomato salad, turtle soup, and bread pudding, contributors explore a broad range of issues. Essays consider the history of refrigeration and ice in the city, famous restaurants, cooking schools, and the differences between Cajun and Creole cuisines. Biographical sketches of New Orleans's luminaries--including Mary Land, Corinne Dunbar, and Lena Richard--give personality to the stories. Recipes for each dish or beverage, drawn from historical cookbooks and contemporary chefs, complete the package. New Orleans Cuisine shows how ingredients, ethnicities, cooks, chefs, and consumers all converged over time to make the city a culinary capital.