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India's Organic Farming Revolution Cover

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India's Organic Farming Revolution

What It Means for Our Global Food System

Sapna E. Thottathil

Should you buy organic food? Is it just a status symbol, or is it really better for us? Is it really better for the environment? What about organic produce grown thousands of miles from our kitchens, or on massive corporately owned farms? Is “local” or “small-scale” better, even if it’s not organic? A lot of consumers who would like to do the right thing for their health and the environment are asking such questions.

Sapna Thottathil calls on us to rethink the politics of organic food by focusing on what it means for the people who grow and sell it—what it means for their health, the health of their environment, and also their economic and political well-being. Taking readers to the state of Kerala in southern India, she shows us a place where the so-called “Green Revolution” program of hybrid seeds, synthetic fertilizers, and rising pesticide use had failed to reduce hunger while it caused a cascade of economic, medical, and environmental problems. Farmers burdened with huge debts from buying the new seeds and chemicals were committing suicide in troubling numbers. Farm laborers suffered from pesticide poisoning and rising rates of birth defects. A sharp fall in biodiversity worried environmental activists, and everyone was anxious about declining yields of key export crops like black pepper and coffee.

In their debates about how to solve these problems, farmers, environmentalists, and policymakers drew on Kerala’s history of and continuing commitment to grassroots democracy. In 2010, they took the unprecedented step of enacting a policy that requires all Kerala growers to farm organically by 2020. How this policy came to be and its immediate economic, political, and physical effects on the state’s residents offer lessons for everyone interested in agriculture, the environment, and what to eat for dinner. Kerala’s example shows that when done right, this kind of agriculture can be good for everyone in our global food system.

Inventing Baby Food Cover

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Inventing Baby Food

Taste, Health, and the Industrialization of the American Diet

Amy Bentley

Food consumption is a significant and complex social activity—and what a society chooses to feed its children reveals much about its tastes and ideas regarding health. In this groundbreaking historical work, Amy Bentley explores how the invention of commercial baby food shaped American notions of infancy and influenced the evolution of parental and pediatric care.

Until the late nineteenth century, infants were almost exclusively fed breast milk. But over the course of a few short decades, Americans began feeding their babies formula and solid foods, frequently as early as a few weeks after birth.

By the 1950s, commercial baby food had become emblematic of all things modern in postwar America. Little jars of baby food were thought to resolve a multitude of problems in the domestic sphere: they reduced parental anxieties about nutrition and health; they made caretakers feel empowered; and they offered women entering the workforce an irresistible convenience. But these baby food products laden with sugar, salt, and starch also became a gateway to the industrialized diet that blossomed during this period.

Today, baby food continues to be shaped by medical, commercial, and parenting trends. Baby food producers now contend with health and nutrition problems as well as the rise of alternative food movements. All of this matters because, as the author suggests, it’s during infancy that American palates become acclimated to tastes and textures, including those of highly processed, minimally nutritious, and calorie-dense industrial food products.

The Italian American Table Cover

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The Italian American Table

Food, Family, and Community in New York City

Simone Cinotto

Looking at the historic Italian American community of East Harlem in the 1920s and 30s, Simone Cinotto recreates the bustling world of Italian life in New York City and demonstrates how food was at the center of the lives of immigrants and their children. Drawing on a vast array of resources including fascinating, rarely explored primary documents and fresh approaches in the study of consumer culture, Cinotto argues that Italian immigrants created a distinctive culture of food as a symbolic response to the needs of immigrant life, from the struggle for personal and group identity to the pursuit of social and economic power. Adding a transnational dimension to the study of Italian American foodways, Cinotto recasts Italian American food culture as an American "invention" resonant with traces of tradition.

John Marshall and the Heroic Age of the Supreme Court Cover

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John Marshall and the Heroic Age of the Supreme Court

Edited by Katherine K. Schlosser

Knish Cover

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Knish

In Search of the Jewish Soul Food

Laura Silver

When Laura Silver's favorite knish shop went out of business, the native New Yorker sank into mourning, but then she sprang into action. She embarked on a round-the-world quest for the origins and modern-day manifestations of the knish.

The iconic potato pie leads the author from Mrs. Stahl's bakery in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, to an Italian pasta maker in New Jersey--and on to a hunt across three continents for the pastry that shaped her identity. Starting in New York, she tracks down heirs to several knish dynasties and discovers that her own family has roots in a Polish town named Knyszyn.

With good humor and a hunger for history, Silver mines knish lore for stories of entrepreneurship, survival, and major deliciousness. Along the way, she meets Minnesota seniors who make knishes for weekly fundraisers, foodies determined to revive the legacy of Mrs. Stahl, and even the legendary knish maker's granddaughters, who share their joie de vivre--and their family recipe.

Knish connections to Eleanor Roosevelt and rap music? Die-hard investigator Silver unearths those and other intriguing anecdotes involving the starchy snack once so common along Manhattan's long-lost Knish Alley. In a series of funny, moving, and touching episodes, Silver takes us on a knish-eye tour of worlds past and present, thus laying the foundation for a global knish renaissance.

The Land of Milk and Uncle Honey Cover

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The Land of Milk and Uncle Honey

Memories from the Farm of My Youth

Guebert Alan

"The river was in God's hands, the cows in ours." So passed the days on Indian Farm, a dairy operation on 700 acres of rich Illinois bottomland. In this collection, Alan Guebert and his daughter-editor Mary Grace Foxwell recall Guebert's years on the land working as part of that all-consuming collaborative effort known as the family farm. Here are Guebert's tireless parents, measuring the year not in months but in seasons for sewing, haying, and doing the books; Jackie the farmhand, needing ninety minutes to do sixty minutes' work and cussing the entire time; Hoard the dairyman, sore fingers wrapped in electrician's tape, sharing wine and the prettiest Christmas tree ever; and the unflappable Uncle Honey, spreading mayhem via mistreated machinery, flipped wagons, and the careless union of diesel fuel and fire. Guebert's heartfelt and humorous reminiscences depict the hard labor and simple pleasures to be found in ennobling work, and show that in life, as in farming, Uncle Honey had it right with his succinct philosophy for overcoming adversity: "the secret's not to stop."

The Larder Cover

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The Larder

Food Studies Methods from the American South

John T. Edge

The sixteen essays in The Larder argue that the study of food does not simply help us understand more about what we eat and the foodways we embrace. The methods and strategies herein help scholars use food and foodways as lenses to examine human experience. The resulting conversations provoke a deeper understanding of our overlapping, historically situated, and evolving cultures and societies.

The Larder presents some of the most influential scholars in the discipline today, from established authorities such as Psyche Williams-Forson to emerging thinkers such as Rien T. Fertel, writing on subjects as varied as hunting, farming, and marketing, as well as examining restaurants, iconic dishes, and cookbooks.

Editors John T. Edge, Elizabeth Engelhardt, and Ted Ownby bring together essays that demonstrate that food studies scholarship, as practiced in the American South, sets methodological standards for the discipline. The essayists ask questions about gender, race, and ethnicity as they explore issues of identity and authenticity. And they offer new ways to think about material culture, technology, and the business of food.

The Larder is not driven by nostalgia. Reading such a collection of essays may not encourage food metaphors. “It’s not a feast, not a gumbo, certainly not a home-cooked meal,” Ted Ownby argues in his closing essay. Instead, it’s a healthy step in the right direction, taken by the leading scholars in the field.

Leadership in Agriculture Cover

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Leadership in Agriculture

Case Studies for a New Generation

John Patrick Jordan

In a world facing chronic and increasing shortages in food crops and natural resources, visionary leadership in agriculture becomes more and more critical for building and maintaining a sustainable future. It is of paramount importance that the dynamic and challenging evolution in agriculture over the last century and a half be met today with imaginative leadership in virtually all aspects of activities and organizations involved.

Leadership in Agriculture: Case Studies for a New Generation focuses on key characteristics and elements of leadership. Using case studies from research, industry, education, administration, and extension services, the authors present real-world circumstances ranging from natural disasters to major restructuring that demanded problem solving, new initiatives, consensus, and organizational commitment. Drawing on their own experiences and covering topics as diverse as closing facilities, mounting a national research initiative, reinventing a major corporation, and dealing with invasive termites, the studies contain examples of both good and bad outcomes and tie back to the stated leadership principles and qualities.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Preface vii
Acknowledgments xiii

Leadership in the Agricultural Environment 1
Character: The Bedrock of Leaders and Leadership 13

Case Studies—How Leadership Can Make a Difference 37
1. Facing Down Nature: How a Regional Lab Survived Hurricane Katrina (Addressing Physical Crises) 38
2. Exerting Ag Leadership in Distributed Geographic Locations (Coordinating Dispersed Units within One Organization) 49
3. Closing and Relocating Facilities and Terminating Programs (Leadership Challenges with Organizational Restructuring) 59
4. National Research Initiative: Creating a Shared Leadership Vision (Bringing about a New Solution) 73
5. Battling Formosan Subterranean Termites (Forging a New Approach) 81
6. Gathering of the Agricultural Clan (Bringing Leaders Together without Central Authority) 90
7. Monsanto: How One Company Saw the Future and Transformed to Seize It (Leadership’s Role in a Significant Change) 96
8. Enhancing Leadership in the State Agricultural Experiment Stations (Cultivating New Leadership) 123
9. Development of the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) (Enhancing a Better Understanding of Agricultural Science and Technology) 133

Lessons Learned from Case Studies 145
Making Leadership Work for You 152

Appendixes: How Does the Scientific Agricultural System Work? 161
Appendix A. The Land-Grant System: A Key to America’s Dream? How Does It Function? 161
Appendix B. The USDA’s Agricultural Research Service: Focus on National and International Issues 165
Appendix C. The Industrial Approach to Research: Diverse Foci Linked to Industrial Economic Effects 167

Notes 171
Bibliography 173
About the Authors 177
Index 179

For more information, please visit www.leadershipinagriculture.com.

Locavore Adventures Cover

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Locavore Adventures

One Chef's Slow Food Journey

Jim Weaver

America’s fast food culture reflects not only what we eat—foods that are processed and packaged for convenience—but also how we eat—munching as we multitask and not really tasting the super-sized meals we ingest. But in recent years, a more thoughtful philosophy about food has emerged. Developed in Italy, where fresh ingredients and artisanal techniques are prized, the Slow Food movement has rapidly gained a following in North America. The skeptics among us might wonder if it is possible truly to enjoy a Slow Food lifestyle—one based around local, seasonal ingredients—in our fast-paced world.

In Locavore Adventures, acclaimed New Jersey chef and restaurateur Jim Weaver shares his personal story of how he came to solve this problem—building a local slow food culture that is ecologically responsible and also yields delicious results. Weaver tells of his odyssey founding the Central New Jersey chapter of Slow Food, connecting local farmers, food producers, and chefs with the public to forge communities that value the region’s unique bounty. More than forty recipes throughout the book, from Hot Smoked Brook Trout with Asparagus Puree and Pickled Cippollini Onions to Zuppa di Mozzarella, will inspire readers to be creative in their own kitchens. Locavore Adventures is a thoughtful memoir about growing a sustainable food culture and a guide to slowing down, savoring locally grown food, and celebrating life.

Long Green Cover

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Long Green

The Rise and Fall of Tobacco in South Carolina

Eldred E. Prince Jr., with Robert R. Simpson

The first comprehensive history of Bright Leaf tobacco culture of any state to appear in fifty years, this book explores tobacco's influence in South Carolina from its beginnings in the colonial period to its heyday at the turn of the century, the impact of the Depression, the New Deal, and World War II, and on to present-day controversies about health risks due to smoking.

The book examines the tobacco growers' struggle against the monopolistic practices of manufacturers, explains the failures of the cooperative reform movement and the Hoover administration's farm policies, and describes how Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal rescued southern agriculture from the Depression and forged a lasting and successful partnership between tobacco farmers and government. The technological revolutions of the post-World War II era and subsequent tobacco economy hardships due to increasingly negative public perception of tobacco use are also highlighted.The book details the roles and motives of key individuals in the development of tobacco culture, including firsthand experiences related by farmers and warehousemen, and offers informed speculations on the future of tobacco culture. Long Green allows readers to better understand the full significance of this cash crop in the history and economy of South Carolina and the American South.

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