Latest Posts

Food Studies at Brown Welcomes John Lang to Speak on Genetically Modified Food

On Friday, December 2, Food Studies at Brown warmly welcomes John Lang, Associate Professor of Sociology at Occidental College, to speak at Brown University on his recently published book, What’s So Controversial About Genetically Modified Food? All interested parties in the Providence area are warmly invited to attend.

As a sociologist of food who explores the intersection of consumption, culture, and trust, Lang could not have found a more compelling case study. Lang places the debate around genetically modified (GM) food and our current “menu of choice” in social context. He demonstrates how controversies about GM food are but “a proxy debate” that articulates larger issues of social and political power, cultural values, corporate responsibility, intellectual property, democratic practices, science, and technology through concerns regrading risks and benefits, expertise and knowledge, fear and trust.

Lang novelly argues that genetic modification is not only a complex issue, but perhaps one that has misguided our attention and political activism. Going so far as to describe GM food controversies as “largely symbolic in content,” Lang points us to the heart of the issue as he writes:

Time, energy and money have been dedicated to debates about whether GM food has more potential for good or evil, yet these resources might be better spent seeking solutions to known problems in agricultural practices and systems, like contaminated and inadequate water supplies, degraded soil quality, stresses of climate change and persistent distribution problems. That we have become so focused on genetic modification controversies is the biggest problem of all. The scientific tool of genetic modification is not the ultimate problem, but rather a distraction from the persistent problems that plague our international food system.

After spending more than a decade researching this topic, Lang shares, “I hold a relatively neutral position on GM food.” He asserts that rather than narrowly focusing on genetically modified foods or issues like GM labeling, we will be better served by broadly advocating for increased social responsibility and local adaptability throughout the food system. Such a focus seeks to dismantle the links between profit, industry-wide consolidation, scientific hegemony, and intellectual property law—which form the current foundations of genetically modified technology.

In the end, Lang finds inspiration in Hunter S. Thompson’s The Rum Diary: The Long Lost Novel; that we can make good use of “the continuing tension between restless idealism and an impending sense of doom” to fuel our search and activism for more just and culturally appropriate solutions within our global food system.

Please Join Food Studies at Brown for:

The Tension Between Idealism and Doom: Our Future with Genetically Modified Food

John Lang | Associate Professor of Sociology, Occidental College

December 2, 2016 | 3:30 pm | Smith-Buonanno 106, 95 Cushing Street (Map)

Warmly open to the public

Co-Sponsored by Brown University American Studies, Science and Society, the Institute at Brown for Environment and Society, Anthropology, and BIOL 0190U: Plant Development, Structure and Function

About Food Studies at Brown

Food Studies at Brown began in spring 2016 and currently involves dozens of faculty members across disciplines such as American Studies, Anthropology, Biology, English, Environmental Studies, Medicine, and Public Health. Courses offered by Food Studies at Brown affiliated faculty explore food, culture, and identity; food systems, agriculture, and sustainability; food policy and issues; nutrition, health, disease, and medicine; and food writing and media; among other topics as well.

Food Studies at Brown approaches food from a broad and interdisciplinary perspective. We examine the relationship between food and all aspects of the human experience, including culture and biology, individuals and society, global pathways and local contexts. Across our campus, faculty, students, and staff engage with food in myriad meaningful ways. Food Studies at Brown endeavors to bring food-related research, teaching, projects, activities, and events together in one place so that we can synthesize our efforts across campus and the community.

For more information regarding Food Studies at Brown, contact Emily Contois at emily_contois [AT]

Top image credit: Emily Contois, 2016  

Coming in Fall 2020: Diners, Dudes & Diets

Diners, Dudes & Diets: How Gender & Power Collide in Food Media & Culture will be published in fall 2020 by the University of North Carolina Press.

Analyzing pop culture like dude food and the dadbod, Diners, Dudes & Diets tells an insightful and contemporary story about food, health, media, and the contest for our identities. During and after the Recession, gender norms shifted in American culture, resulting in a moment of gender crisis that opened the door for industry to target men in new ways. I reveal how the food, media, and advertising industries used the concept of “the dude” to sell feminized products to men. The dude celebrates the average (or even below average) guy. He interacts with food, but with such detached coolness and insincerity that it does not infringe upon his sense of masculinity. Brands deployed the dude to sell everything from men’s cookbooks and Guy Fieri to diet sodas, yogurts, and weight loss programs. I demonstrate how twenty-first-century gender crisis played out through food—and how understanding that process might help all of us to find more joy and justice in our media lives.

Get a taste of what I’ve already published on these topics:

Top Image Credit, Center: Southwell Photo; Top Image Credit Left and Right: Emily Contois

He just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich:’ Advertising Australia’s National Food in the United States, 1968-1988

I’m pleased to announce that my article, “‘He just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich:’ Advertising Australia’s National Food in the United States, 1968-1988” was published last week in a special issue of the Journal of Historical Research in Marketing on Australian Marketing History, edited by Robert Crawford. Examining the local and the global, the issue’s eight articles are organized around three of the traditional four Ps of the marketing mix: products, places, and promotions.

My own article examined a particular product: Vegemite. Chocolate-like in appearance but with a flavor like nothing else on earth, Vegemite is a yeast extract spread that is essentially synonymous with Australia. I’ve written about Vegemite before here, here, and here.

In this most recent publication, I examine how Vegemite was not an instant success when first marketed to Australian consumers in the 1920s. It was culturally resonant advertising campaigns in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, designed by the US ad giant J. Walter Thompson, that played a key role in securing Vegemite’s place in a significant share of Australia’s kitchens. These efforts included the now iconic “Happy Little Vegemites” campaign, developed for radio in 1954 and television in 1956. In rotation ever since, it is a campaign that comprises what Douglas B. Holt calls a brand’s “masterful, breakthrough performance”—an advertisement so extraordinary that it is incorporated into the culture itself.

Given Vegemite’s sales success and burgeoning cultural icon status in Australia, Kraft attempted a transnational feat in the late 1960s—to create a US market for the salty spread. J. Walter Thompson developed at least three distinct campaigns, which ran in newspapers and magazines across the USA between 1968 and 1970. Introduced to a nation only peripherally aware of Australia itself, these campaigns failed. Despite this, Vegemite and its US advertising tell us an intriguing story.


Sample advertisements from the U.S. Vegemite campaigns. J. Walter Thompson (1968-1970), “Kraft, 1968-1970, Vegemite”, Domestic Advertisements Collection, Box KR36, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University, Durham.

Combining the approaches of advertising history, food studies, and transnational studies of popular culture, this article presents Vegemite —as both a food and cultural product—as a case study through which three interrelated themes can be explored.

First, Vegemite in the USA demonstrates the progression of American perceptions of Australia during the latter half of the twentieth century. Despite failing to capture the American market in the late 1960s, Vegemite—and Australia—captured American interest in the 1980s when a pop culture wave of Australian films, music, and sport triggered several years of success stateside.

Most notable among these was Men at Work’s 1982 hit song, “Down Under.”

The song’s second verse ignited an American fascination with Vegemite and all things Australiana:

Buying bread from a man in Brussels
He was six foot four and full of muscle
I said, “Do you speak-a my language?”
He just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich

(Hay and Strykert, 1981)

Second, Vegemite’s failures and successes in the USA articulate the complexity of the transnational flow, adoption, and rejection of ideas, people, and products. Appadurai (1990, 1996, 2010) has theorized extensively on the politics of ever shifting, but always connected transcultural flows and exchanges, as they challenge traditional notions of the nation-state. Indeed, scholars debate whether transnationalism represents cultural imperialism and homogenization or processes of localization and generative hybridity.

Globalization’s effects upon local food cultures and “national cuisines” are also central to these debates (Inglis and Gimlin, 2010). While scholars have explored the hegemonic potential of global food brands, such as McDonald’s (Ritzer, 2004; Watson, 1997), Coca-Cola (Foster, 2008), and Starbucks (Harrison et al., 2005; Plog, 2005), I ask what is to be made of Vegemite, as a failed cultural exchange between two nations, both former English colonies.

While efforts to tap an American taste for Vegemite ultimately failed, my analysis of US newspaper articles mentioning Vegemite between 1982 and 1988 finds that American perceptions of Vegemite fall into three main categories: excited exoticism, pleasantly bemused derision, and elitist disdain. No matter the reaction, Vegemite press coverage throughout the decade demonstrated the ambivalent and non-linear progression of American perceptions of Australia, as Americans’ at times derisive views of Australian culture comingled with enthusiastic mania for Australiana.

Third and finally, these transnational exchanges provide the opportunity to examine the cultural contexts in which advertising fails and triumphs, as well as the marketing process by which brands become icons, or not. Although J. Walter Thompson was able to transform Vegemite in Australia from an unpopular spread to a national symbol, the agency was unable to create even a modest market in the USA. Lacking significant points of cultural connection or relevance, advertising alone failed to make Vegemite meaningful to American consumers. Conversely, an influx of Australia-made popular culture in the 1980s successfully captured American appetites for the salty spread, notably without a national advertising campaign. Comparing these two moments and using Holt’s (2004) principles of cultural branding as a framework, this case study demonstrates the pivotal role of culture and environment in advertising’s functionality and effectiveness.

If you have access to the Journal, I hope you’ll read the entire piece, as well as the other fascinating articles working to chronicle the history of marketing in Australia.

Works Cited

Appadurai, A. (1990), “Disjuncture and difference in the global cultural economy”, Theory, Culture & Society Vol. 7 No. 2, pp. 295-310, doi: 10.1177/026327690007002017.

Appadurai, A. (1996), Modernity At Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.

Appadurai, A. (2010), “How histories make geographies”, Transcultural Studies, Vol. 1 No. 1, pp. 4-13.

Foster, R.J. (2008), Coca-Globalization: Following Soft Drinks from New York to New Guinea, Palgrave Macmillan, New York, NY.

Harrison, J.S., Chang, E.Y., Gauthier, C., Joerchel, T., Nevarez, J. and Wang, M. (2005), “Exporting a North American concept to Asia: starbucks in China”, Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly, Vol. 46 No. 2, pp. 275-283, doi: 10.1177/0010880404273893.

Holt, D.B. (2004), How Brands Become Icons: The Principles of Cultural Branding, Harvard Business Review PressBoston, MA.

Inglis, D. and Gimlin, D. (2010), The Globalization of Food, Bloomsbury Academic, New York, NY.

Plog, S.C. (2005), “Starbucks more than a cup of coffee”, Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly, Vol. 46 No. 2, pp. 284-287, doi: 10.1177/0010880405275535.

Ritzer, G. (2004), The McDonaldization of Society, Revised New Century Edition, Pine Forge Press (Sage), Thousand Oaks.

Watson, J.L. (Ed.) (1997), Golden Arches East: McDonald’s in East Asia, Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA.

7 Reads for National Cookbook Month

October is National Cookbook Month. I’ve written about cookbooks with some regularity, thinking through their many roles and meanings as: texts, technical guides, objects, ephemera, historical evidence, collector’s items, keepsakes, family heirlooms, art, and symbols. I’m celebrating this month with a round up of some of my past posts, which examine cookbooks from these various perspectives.

Teaching Food Studies, Cookbooks & Writing

How do cookbooks speak? What stories do they tell—and whose? What do cookbooks reveal about power and how it operates? How do cookbooks communicate and construct gender? These are some of the questions my students and I pondered in our course “Food and Gender in U.S. Popular Culture” at Brown University during a cookbook workshop.

Read here

The Woman Suffrage Cookbook of 1886: Culinary Evidence of Women Finding a New Voice

The Woman Suffrage Cookbook (1886), edited by Mrs. Hattie A. Burr, was created as a fundraising tool for Massachusetts suffragists, but it also provided a powerful new voice. It communicated with women of all classes in the common language of the cookbook about not only food and domesticity, but also the radical cause of women’s right to vote.

Read here

Nika Hazelton’s 1963 Rules for Judging Cookbooks

The author of thirty cookbooks and innumerable articles on food for major newspapers and magazines, Nika Hazelton had little patience for those who purchased cookbooks as “escapist literature.” Instead, in a 1963 article in the New York Times, she laid out in black and white exactly how one ought to judge if a cookbook was up to snuff.

Read here

Ann Seranne: America’s #1 Expert on Blender Cookery

The author of dozens of cookbooks, Ann Seranne published with Eileen Gaden The Blender Cookbook in 1961 to rave reviews. Not at all gimmicky, the cookbook was heralded by Craig Claiborne as an inspired, functional, and welcome resource, penned by “probably the world’s leading authorities on what a blender will and will not do.”

Read here

Chicken Fricasee Face-Off: 18th Century Haute Cuisine versus 1950s Can-Opener Cooking

This essay compares two recipes for Chicken Fricassee: Francois Massialot’s recipe, “Poulets en Fricasée au Vin de Champagn” from Le Nouveau Cuisinier Royal et Bourgeois (1748) and Poppy Cannon’s “Chicken with White Wine and White Grapes” from The Can-Opener Cookbook (1953). While it may appear at first glance that Massialot pens a culinarily superior recipe, I argue Cannon’s is just as intriguing, as it reveals the struggles and desires of the 1950s American housewife.

Read here

Defining American Food in ‘The Saturday Evening Post All-American Cookbook’

This post considers the contentious question, “What is American food?” as it analyzes the answers provided by the Saturday Evening Post All-Amerian Cookbook, published in 1976. The cookbook features five hundred recipes, considerable discussion of “American” ingredients, dishes, values, and freedoms—as well as reproductions of Norman Rockwell’s covers and food advertisements included in the Post over the years.

Read here

Cooking Up a Storm at the 2013 Cookbook Conference

This post summarizes the various panels I attended at the 2013 Roger Smith Cookbook Conference, including presentations on cookbooks as status symbols, wartime cookbooks, cookbooks and social class, children’s cookbooks, exoticism in cookbooks, and White House cooking.

Read here

Top image credit: Emily Contois, 2016  

Cooper’s Cask Puts Whiskey Twist on Third Wave Coffee

Artisanal coffee, sometimes called “third wave,” continues to rock the coffee scene across the country. Rhode Island is no exception. But here at Cooper’s Cask Coffee you can find carefully selected single-origin beans paired with the subtle, sweet notes of award winning whiskeys from Sons of Liberty Spirits, another Rhode Island specialty.

Named for coopers—the craftsmen who for centuries have built wooden, barrel-shaped casks—Cooper’s Cask Coffee ages unroasted beans in barrels previously used for producing whiskey and rum. Master roasters, Jason Maranhao and John Speights, then roast the beans in small, boutique batches, packaging them in pouches specially designed to exude the alluring aromas.

You can learn more about Cooper’s Cask Coffee and the men behind it in my most recent story for Zester. And no matter where you are, you can have Cooper’s shipped to your door with Amazon Prime.

As you sip, you might find yourself wanting to learn more about “third wave” coffee. At least that’s what happened to me.

Trish Rothgeb of the Coffee Quality Institute and Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters christened artisan brews “third wave” coffee in 2002 in an article in The Flamekeeper, the newsletter of the Roaster’s Guild. Food writers and coffee connoisseurs alike have adopted the category, but often in reductive terms. They typically equate first wave coffee to Folgers, second wave to Starbucks, and third wave coffee to something like Portland’s Stumptown Coffee Roasters.

But this linear evolution and set of characteristics are not what Rothgeb (formerly Speie) described. Like any good scholar of culture would, she argued, “The waves overlap; and one inevitably spills over to influence the next.” The “waves” are both additive and reactionary. For example, Rothegeb asserts that artisanal coffee is beholden to first wave coffee’s innovations in packaging and marketing, as well as the considerable coffee-consuming population they ensured. At the same time, “The Third Wave is a reaction to those who want to automate and homogenize Specialty Coffee.” These developments in production, packaging, distribution, marketing, and consumption all define each wave and its philosophy, rather than just a coffee “type.”

Rothgeb was inspired to codify coffee waves based on innovations in the early 2000s coffee scene in Oslo, Norway, where she was living at the time. Her readings in third wave feminism also shaped her thinking, what she called “the concept … that you could be whatever you want to be—that we can build on what we had learned from feminism of the past few decades, and then shed some of the ideas that no longer worked.” It’s from such a revolutionary foundation that Rothgeb defines “third wave.” It’s coffee that eschews hierarchy. It’s coffee that rigorously resists the standards set by mass production methods. It’s coffee that aspires to quality, expertise, service, sustainability, individuality, and a complex, even quirky taste experience.

While the debate rages on whether coffee waves are useful for thinking about cups of joe (like here, here, and here), there should be no debate about Cooper’s Cask Coffee. I hope you’ll enjoy reading the full story and will try a taste sometime soon.

Top image credit: Emily Contois, 2016


Announcing the Graduate Journal of Food Studies 3.1

We at the Graduate Journal of Food Studies are delighted to present our fourth issue (volume 3, no. 1), which features five original research articles that were first presented at the GAFS Future of Food Studies Conference in October 2015 at Harvard University. Our next conference will be hosted at Washington University in St. Louis in October 2017. Till then, savor the fruits of our first conference with articles from Darcy Mullen, Meaghan Elliott, John Jones, Samantha Desroches, and Francesca Grazioli.

This new issue also includes five must-read book reviews from Anastasia Day, Ruth Dike, Julieta Flores Jurado, Jesse Dart, and Hailey Grohman—and Leah LaFera’s penetrating photo essay of ten unforgettable images.

This is my first issue as managing editor alongside Editor-in-Chief, Carla Cevasco, who has fearlessly and fiercely led these last three issues of the Journal. Though I’ll have big shoes to fill, I’m thrilled to be starting my term as Editor-in-Chief and can’t wait to share our next issue with you in the spring.

Till then, happy reading.


10 Points to Highlight in “Taste as Experience” by Nicola Perullo

How do we experience taste when we eat a Michelin-starred dinner, an all-star diner breakfast, or a can of chicken and stars soupNicola Perullo nimbly endeavors to answer this question in Taste as Experience: The Philosophy and Aesthetics of Food, published in April 2016 by Columbia University Press. Presenting not a philosophy of food, but rather a philosophy with food, Perullo examines food from the inside out, privileging the eater’s perceptions over the critic’s observations as he dismantles the hierarchy of the senses.

While his text flows smoothly as a single essay over 135 pages, Perullo also willingly condenses his thesis into a “short and somewhat arcane formula:”

taste = situation + circumstance + ecological experience

As I read Taste as Experience, these are ten points that I highlighted and stopped to ponder:

1. “A philosophy of food, to the extent that it is a philosophy with food, depends on a transformational interrogation and not only on a descriptive one” (p. viii). Throughout his analysis of taste, Perullo emphasizes the phenomenological experiences of those doing the tasting over observers. This move destabilizes the hierarchy of the senses, which traditionally subordinates all senses to intellect and marginalizes taste as an inferior sense.

2. “Because the specifics of our daily relationship with food happen through processes, ordinary gestures, and incorporated memories, identifying ‘experts,’ in the most complete sense of the word, becomes extremely problematic.” (p. x). Perullo defends the study of food as far more than a quotidian material required for sustenance and survival. At the same time, he purposefully studies taste from below and emphasizes what he calls “naked pleasure”—a nearly instantaneous sensation that is distinct from the trained palate of the expert and the esteemed context of haute cuisine. In this way, a fine dining restaurant and a roadside diner both provide pleasure. Even a sandwich that doesn’t taste particularly delicious is pleasurable if it assuages one’s hunger.

3. “One needs to understand taste as an ecological system” (p. xi). Perullo asserts that taste—as a concept that depends upon an individual’s perception, pleasure, and knowledge—emerged within the specific historical context of modernity. He seeks to place taste within a context that is wider, perhaps older, and “systematically holistic,” which he calls an ecological relationship.

4. “Taste as an experience of pleasure, knowledge, and indifference espouses a dynamic conception of aesthetics” (p. 8). Perullo organizes his text into sections that address these three modes of experience, each an approach to understand and theorize taste. Interpreting and experiencing how pleasure, knowledge, and indifference “intertwine, overlap, and reshape themselves” sets the path toward gustatory wisdom.

5. “In the present age, technology can also allow for a fulfilling and intense quality in the aesthetic relationship between human beings and food” (p. 23). Arguing that industrial food is “neither good nor bad in itself,” Perullo asserts that a deeper and more systemic understanding of taste provides a path forward for thinking about the connections between production and consumption, perhaps alluding to potentially more beneficial relationships within the food system. This is an underdeveloped but quite intriguing proposition.

6. “Changing the signs on the marginality of taste perception means accepting its paradoxically parasitic nature; taste is the paradigm of embodied knowledge, which originates and develops in and through the body, and which is not conceivable otherwise” (p. 25). Perullo both accepts and refutes the binaries and hierarchies that typically organize taste. He examines how gastronomy and taste are always at once intellectual and corporeal, serious and light, high and low, exceptional and mundane, memorable and perishable, cultural and natural.

7. “The pleasure of food is always ambivalent” (p. 40). Throughout history, food has been considered laudable and suspect—even dangerous or pathological—for its ability to incite desire. While classist constructions of “good taste” attenuate this ambivalence and render it acceptable in particular contexts, Perullo argues instead for a democratization of taste. This strategy still endorses taste cultivation, but also emphasizes an instinctual and intuitive response to pleasure.

8. “Taste is a multimodal device, embedded, relational, flexible, and potentially skilled at sorting out very different and even opposite situations” (p. 74). Again proposing a more populist understanding of gastronomy, Perullo says taste reflects “both a deeper and more open, amateur, inclusive, and aware look.” He summarizes the fluid dynamic between pleasure and knowledge with a visual metaphor: “nude pleasure gets dressed.”

9. “The mindful comprehension of eating experiences comes by way of understanding their entire ranges and processes” (p. 89). While Perullo analyzes pleasure and knowledge as unsurprisingly intertwined concepts within perceptions of taste, he concedes that indifference may seem a bizarre addition. This is perhaps his most novel contribution, however, as he analyzes indifference as an essential component of the “experiential blueprint” that constructs taste. Perullo writes that indifference is not emblematic of lack, whether lack of thoughtfulness, attention, or ability. Instead, indifference is required for creating gustatory wisdom.

10. “Conviviality can therefore represent a gym for refining the wisdom of taste” (p. 131). The wisdom of taste, as Perullo defines it, is not static or rigid; not guided by rules, canon, or standardized expertise alone. Hospitable exchange is what creates the situations and circumstances in which taste can thrive and transform. The openness of these interactions ensures the dynamism of the system and the connectedness of its ecology.

* * * * *

Perullo concludes that the wisdom of taste requires a specific attitude and set of behaviors. We would all do well to embrace Perullo’s advice from the end of his first chapter to “start observing and perceiving our daily food with open-mindedness, patience, and confidence” (p. 26).

I was fortunate to receive a review copy of Nicola Perullo’s Taste as Experience: The Philosophy and Aesthetics of Food from Columbia University Press. Taste as Experience is part of Columbia’s series “Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History,” which features dozens of must-read titles. Perullo is a professor of aesthetics at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy.

Photo credit: Emily Contois, 2016

Julia Child Inspiration, on Her 104th Birthday

Born in 1912, Julia Child would have celebrated her 104th birthday today. I never got to meet Julia; she died in 2004, just two days shy of her 92nd birthday. But I’ve felt her spirit.

With Jacques Pépin, Julia co-founded the MLA in Gastronomy Program at Boston University, which began offering courses as early as 1991. It was one of the first graduate programs for the study of food, which Julia and Jacques adamantly believed in. In those early years, Julia defended the burgeoning course of study in the the New York Times, saying:

There’s a lot more to the field than cooks piddling in the kitchen. It’s high time that it’s recognized as a serious discipline.

Every matriculating BU Gastronomy student feels a connection to Julia’s legacy, her lineage. I started my degree in Gastronomy in 2011, but Julia was still there. For instance, the demonstration kitchen was built for Julia’s estimable height, making the counter and cooktop higher than standard, and a bit of a stretch for we shorter folk. Her sturdy metal stool resides in the room as well, a memento of her, and a special spot for both established and rising food studies scholars to feel her presence.

The internet also abounds with Julia quotes: witty, inspirational, empowering, funny. I’ve borrowed a few below:

The one that inspires me the most as I continue on this journey to the PhD and (hopefully) a life in academia is:


On this blog, these words are always in the footer below—a constant, supportive reminder of the passion and joy, tenacity and resolve that any worthwhile endeavor requires. On the days when progress feels stagnated or the future uncertain, I also take a second to take a deep breath and remember that Julia, our goddess of food in every possible way, didn’t find her life’s calling until her late 30s. I still have time. To all the late Millennials worried about the world we’ve inherited, we have time.

And for so many of us, the BU Gastronomy program provided and provides not only a site for rigorous academic pursuits, but also a journey, a jumping off point, a path that leads to a passionate life. It’s a place where Julia lives on.

To celebrate her birthday further, I’ve rounded up four of my previous articles on Julia Child and hope they satisfy your craving for a little piece of Julia on her special day. Though truly, her spirit, her lessons, her joy are all around us.

1960s Wine Advice1. How Julia Child And Cookbooks Taught Us About Wine
August 22, 2014

In this Zester Daily article, I compare Julia’s advice on wine to that offered by other cookbooks published around the same time. As she did with French cuisine, Julia expects, encourages, and supports readers to rise to the challenge of perfectly pairing wines. Like any good teacher, her own love for learning gushes out, as she provides the environment and tools that her students will need to succeed. Then she gives them a little push to get started, to jump in, to really and truly discover it for themselves.


2. An Interview with Stephanie Hersh, Julia Child’s Long-time Assistant
August 15, 2012

Written as part of Gastronomy at BU’s celebration of what would have been Julia Child’s 100th birthday in 2012, this piece is an interview with Julia’s full-time assistant of nearly 16 years—and the BU Gastronomy program’s first graduate—Stephanie Hersh.

JC100_Logo_highres3. 15 Delightful Ways to Celebrate Julia Child’s 100th Birthday Today
August 15, 2012

This post is a round up of the many multi-media pieces that were produced to celebrate Julia, her work, and her life on her centenary. This compilation of 15 articles to read, videos to watch, segments to listen to, and ways to cook, eat, and enjoy her food can also be the perfect way to celebrate her at 104.

Image from:

4. These Are a Few of My Favorite Things…About Julia Child
September 24, 2012

Inspired by the Siting Julia symposium, a day long Julia-fest hosted by Harvard’s Schlesinger Library at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, this piece covers the four most wonderful things about Julia that I took from the day’s events.

Header photo credit: Emily Contois, 2014

Presenting the New, Online Graduate Journal of Food Studies

I’m pleased, thrilled, delighted, [insert enthusiastic verb!] to present the new Graduate Association for Food Studies website, which I had the pleasure of building with support from my colleague and friend, Brad Jones.

The new website features our now fully digital Graduate Journal of Food Studies. While the Journal has always been open access and available as a beautifully designed PDF, we are excited to move the journal into its next stage, where we endeavor to lead the way in online publishing with food studies scholarship that is peer-reviewed, rigorous, engaging, and decidedly interdisciplinary, as well as gorgeous, flexible, and sharable.

With these goals in mind, we’re also launching a new section of the Journal called Food-Stuff, which invites a variety of food studies scholarship outside of the traditional academic article. Food-Stuff pieces may take the form of field notes, archival reports, commentaries, interviews, and photo essays. We also welcome proposals for additional creative formats.

On the new website, you’ll also continue to find information about GAFS, our membership benefits, and how to join the premiere international graduate student association for the study of food.

Take a click around. We can’t wait to hear what you think—and if you’re a graduate student and would like to submit your work or get involved, we’d love to hear from you.

Denny’s New Pancake Rebrand: Food Porn or Something More?

Last week, Denny’s served up something new. Seeking to answer the consumer desire for fresher and better tasting products (supposedly led by millennial eaters), America’s Diner switched from stacks of limp, just-add-water pancakes to: “New! Buttermilk pancakes that are made with “good stuff like fresh buttermilk, real eggs, flour and a hint of vanilla.” The result is purportedly “50% fluffier pancakes” that “just might be better than home.”

We’re likely to see many more real-food recipe re-dos as companies seek to reinvent themselves in a changing marketplace. Mark Cotter, CEO of consulting firm The Food Group warns, “If these companies do not modify what they put in their products … these brands will slowly die.”[i] These rebranding efforts endeavor to capitalize upon shifting definitions of cultural concepts like “good food,” “realness,” and “freshness.” These efforts also take on a particular look and feel.

Three years in the making, the Denny’s recipe switch is supplemented by a highly styled aesthetic. It’s a look replete with the overhead shots and grainy wood backgrounds so often grammed, pinned, and tweeted in foodie rituals of digital conspicuous consumption.

Screen Shot 2016-07-17 at 11.06.23 AM

From the Denny’s website

Denny’s website also features a food pornographic “Pancake Experience,” which you can (and should) view here. Each of Denny’s new “real” ingredients makes a special appearance in the video loop. The Experience begins with a shot of buttermilk seductively crashing into flour that quickly cuts to a whisk being drawn through thick batter and to a close-up of a pancake on a griddle, plumping to a state of doneness.


From the Denny’s website

In subsequent shots, pancakes fall from above only to bounce with a carb-y springiness into a perfectly positioned pile, before syrup drizzles down the stack.


From the Denny’s website

What does it mean for Denny’s to become a producer of food porn?

Molly O’Neil defined food porn as, “prose and recipes so removed from real life that they cannot be used except as vicarious experience.”[ii] Anne McBride similarly argues that food porn “generally evokes the unattainable” and emphasizes surface appearances.[iii] Gooey, graphic close-ups, sensuous slow pans, and bright-yet-softly-lit shots each frame food with a gaze that both worships and objectifies.

Also typical of food porn is the absence and invisibility of labor, time, and mess. Even when food bloggers include step-by-step recipe instructions and accompanying photographs, they closely control and curate the material processes. As Tisha Dejmanee argues in her study of food blogs, “The result is a cake that seemingly frosts itself, pairing the abundance and excess of food blogs with a seemingly effortless, immaterial productivity.”[iv] Dejmanee rightly argues that this has gendered implications: “In this mode of representation, ‘new’ media adopt ‘old’ values, repeating a long history of erasing the material investments and tedious feminized labor of food preparation.”[v]


The concluding “food porn” shot of Denny’s “Pancake Experience.” Image from the Denny’s website

This visible, but highly compressed depiction of food labor is a food media trend unto itself—like Tasty videos, sub-one-minute clips that depict cooking as blissfully mindless entertainment at warp speed. Produced by Buzzfeed Motion Pictures, Tasty’s Facebook page has nearly 65 million likes and the videos have been viewed billions of times. Dayna Evans quips in New York Magazine that these videos:

tap into the pleasure center of my brain with their mesmerizing simplicity, lack of fussiness, and quick pace. They make cooking seem painless, sedative. In a sea of free-flowing content … Tasty videos act as calming one-minute meditations.

Denny’s achieves a similarly meditative pornification of food and labor in its Pancake Experience. Even if it weren’t on a loop, it’s sure to garner repeat views, which is part of the ongoing debate about food porn and the social work it does, and does not, perform.

In the case of Denny’s, recipe revision and the inclusion of more whole food ingredients are new and laudable steps for a diner franchise to take, but they’re rendered somewhat apolitical by the glossiness of the food porn approach. The consumers who desire “real food”—who marketers are so eager to decode—also seek justice on a plate. “Real” ingredients are just one part of an eating equation that also includes attention to how food is grown, processed, and distributed, as well as to the hands, lives, and experiences of those who craft these ingredients into meals—pancakes or otherwise.

That said, my husband and I put Denny’s pancake-porn-driven rebranding to the test this weekend. We found that the pancakes are indeed fluffy, if a touch undercooked, but still yummy enough that “all you can eat” seemed an exhilarating proposition. And at a value menu price, these are “real” pancakes that many more consumers are likely to be able to afford. Perhaps we shouldn’t dismiss these “real” ingredient makeovers too quickly.

In her plea for culinary modernism, Rachel Laudan encourages us to resist the ahistorical nostalgia of culinary Luddism, which judges every product of the industrial food system as inadequate, morally corrupt, and loathsome. “Real,” “fresh” buttermilk pancakes might be a first, small step toward the high quality, affordable, and just industrial food system that Laudan encourages us to demand.

Could a better industrial food system start somewhere like Denny’s?



[i] Hadley Malcom, “Meet Denny’s Newest Breakfast Wars Weapon,” USA Today, July 12, 2016.

[ii] Molly O’Neil, “Food Porn,” Columbia Journalism Review, 23 October 2003.

[iii] Anne McBride, “Food Porn,” Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture 10 (2010) 1, 38.

[iv] Tisha Dejmanee, “’Food Porn’ as Postfeminist Play: Digital Femininity and the Female Body on Food Blogs,” Television & New Media (2015), 16.

[v] Dejmanee, 16-17.


Header photo credit: Emily Contois, 2016


My research explores the connections between food, the body, health, and identities in contemporary U.S. media and popular culture. I’m Assistant Professor of Media Studies at The University of Tulsa and the author of Diners, Dudes and Diets: How Gender and Power Collide in Food Media and Culture (UNC Press, 2020). I am co-editor of Food Instagram: Identity, Influence, and Negotiation (University of Illinois Press, 2022) with Zenia Kish.

About Me

I was born in Australia and grew up in the Big Sky Country of Montana. After spending a bit more than a decade training in classical ballet, I turned my attention to the study of food, health, and culture. That journey started during my undergraduate studies at the University of Oklahoma and continues to this day.

Trained as an interdisciplinary researcher and teacher, I work primarily at the intersection of media studies, food studies, gender studies, and American studies, but my work also engages the history of medicine, critical nutrition studies, and fat studies. I completed my PhD in American Studies at Brown University in 2018 and hold three master’s degrees: an MA in American Studies from Brown, an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University, and an MPH focused in Public Health Nutrition from UC Berkeley.

Photo credit: KC Hysmith

In addition to my academic training, I worked for five years in worksite wellness, supporting program development, project management, and marketing and communications. I’ve written about my professional experience in public health nutrition here, and now work to incorporate translational and transdisciplinary approaches into my scholarship and teaching, such as my course “Critical Media Studies of Health and Medicine.”

I have published articles in Gastronomica: The Journal of Critical Food Studies, Feminist Media Studies, and American Studies, among several others. My work has been covered in a number of media outlets including The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Salon, and Vox. A public expert on a wide variety of topics, I’ve written about the politics of meat for NBC News, trophy kitchens for Jezebeland millennial male body image for Culture Study. I’ve also been on podcasts like GastropodExtra SpicyBBC Food Chain, and Food Psych, and appeared on CBS This Morning, BBC Ideas, and on Ugly Delicious with David Chang on Netflix. Dedicated to public scholarship, I also write for Nursing Clio, blog here, and am active on social media.

I currently live in Tulsa with my husband (who’s a rock star physical therapist, athlete, and inspiration for some of my writing) and our rescue pup, Raven.

About This Site

Since July 2012, this website has been a place for some of my finished work (like this essay on Montana food culture), as well as projects that are in process or ideas that are just rumbling around in me, like why Budweiser’s summer 2016 America rebrand matters or what Star Wars has to do with Edward Hopper’s food paintings.

It’s also become a place to share academic learnings and advice, such as how to write a winning statement of purpose, get the most out of academic conferences, get started on Twitter, or publish in food studies journals.

It’s a space where I reflect upon teaching, including my Food Media course, and class projects like Unessays and Infographics.

I also use the blog to reflect upon and share more broadly my own learnings from the conferences and events that I attend, like these write ups from the 2019 Association for the Study of Food and Society Conference, the 2019 Southern Foodways Alliance field trip to Bentonville, and the 2017 Reading Historic Cookbooks seminar taught by Barbara Wheaton at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University.

No matter what you’re here to read, please feel free to comment and engage—and know you’re most welcome to contact me if you’d like to discuss anything further.



Association for the Study of Food and Society 2016: A Debrief

Food studies presentations, roundtables, workshops, kitchen labs, field trips, tastings, exhibits, posters, dine arounds — the Association for the Study of Food and Society (ASFS) offered all this and more at University of Toronto Scarborough. Drawing more than 550 registrants from around the world, this year’s meeting was especially dynamic, involving ASFS along with Agriculture, Food and Human Values Society and Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition — and for the first time, the Canadian Association for Food Studies.

University of Toronto Scarborough — and its students, faculty, community, and scholarship — each embodied the conference theme: “Scarborough Fare: Global Foodways and Local Foods in a Transnational City.” Take for example SALT, a mobile resource developed by the Culinaria Research Centre at UTSC for not only finding tasty eats, but learning more about Scarborough’s immigrant communities. Or check out the digital food studies project, “Mapping Scarborough Chinatown.” And if you’re in Toronto, Culinaria’s teaching kitchen laboratory; the Philippine Food Exhibit sponsored by the Philippine Consulate General of Toronto, Canada; and the Place Settings: Diasporic Food Identities exhibit at the Doris McCarthy Gallery are all not to be missed.

No blog post could summarize the richness of this conference, but check out #foodstudies2016 on Twitter, read Janis Thiessen’s blog post summary here, and below are several Storify stories for panels that I particularly learned from and enjoyed — admittedly, shamelessly including my own panel in the mix:

The next ASFS/AFHVS conference will take place at Occidental College in Los Angeles in June 2017. I hope to see you there!

Photo credits: Emily Contois, 2016 

The Dietary Innovation & Disease Conference: A Debrief

Last week, I presented at a history of nutrition conference that took place on San Servolo, a small island about a ten minute boat ride off of Venice that for more than two hundred years housed an asylum.

San Servolo proved a most fitting and inspiring setting for the Dietary Innovation and Disease in the 19th and 20th Centuries conference. We heard the lapping waters of the Venice lagoon, felt its cool breezes, and even saw a cruise ship or two pass by, all while listening to thought-provoking paper presentations at an academic conference.

Co-organized by David Gentilcore and Matthew Smith, the well-executed event brought together thirty scholars from across the world, all working to unpack today’s nutrition issues through the study of dietary innovation and health in the past.

As for me, I presented some of my new work on Fairlife milk, an “ultra-filtered” lactose-free milk with more protein and calcium and less sugar than “ordinary milk,” that just so happens to be distributed by Coca-Cola.

Fairlife is a textbook example of what Gyorgy Scrinis calls “functional nutritionism,” in which the food industry seeks to sell products reductively through the emphasis of nutrients — not to promote good health, but to maximize and enhance it. Inspired by E. Melanie DuPuis’ history of milk, I’m also fascinated by the beverage’s transformation throughout American history from “white poison” to “nature’s perfect food” and seek to push this trajectory further to products like Fairlife — foods that aspire and claim to be “better than nature.”

I examine this evolution through a study of milk’s national advertising campaigns and situate the concept of nutritionism within a deeper socio-cultural context, considering the roles of gender and age, constructions of nature and natural, and how the contemporary meaning of milk is forged at the intersection of popular culture and nutrition science.

You can view the key points of my talk — and all the other fascinating presentations — in the Storify that I compiled here, and the conference program here.

And here are a few photos of Venice and San Servolo because I just can’t help myself. I studied abroad in Italy in summer 2005 while a student at the University of Oklahoma, and this was my first time to return. I can’t wait for my next trip.

 Photo Credits: Emily Contois, 2016 

Publishing in Food Studies Journals: An Index

Food studies is an ever-expanding field with an increasing number of discipline specific and related peer-reviewed journals. As you seek out the right “home” for your food studies scholarship, consider this list of peer-reviewed publications, organized alphabetically.

Please note that this list was originally compiled in June 2016 and all links were updated in September 2019. The last update was made in June 2021. I endeavor to keep the list up-to-date, adding journals as folks alert me to them, but if you find something amiss, please feel free to comment or send me a note! 

Agriculture and Food Security is an open-access journal that addresses global food security with a particular focus on research that may inform more sustainable agriculture and food systems that better address local, regional, national and/or global food and nutritional insecurity. The journal considers contributions across academic disciplines, including agricultural, ecological, environmental, nutritional, and socio-economic sciences, public health, and policy.

Agriculture and Human Values is the journal of the Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society. The journal publishes interdisciplinary research that critically examines the values, relationships, conflicts, and contradictions within contemporary agricultural and food systems. It also addresses the impact of agricultural and food related institutions, policies, and practices on human populations, the environment, democratic governance, and social equity.

Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems publishes articles aimed at creating the alternative food systems of the future, such as developing alternatives to the complex problems of resource depletion, environmental degradation, narrowing agrobiodiversity, continued world hunger, consolidation and industrialization of the food system, climate change, and the loss of farm land. The journal publishes interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary articles, as well as book reviews, dialogue (positions, opinions, commentary, and editorials), and topical reviews.

Anthropology of Food is an open access, multilingual (French, English, Spanish and Portuguese), academic webjournal dedicated to food from a social science perspective. Published since 1999, issues are edited by an international network of academics.

Appetite is an international research journal specializing in cultural, social, psychological, sensory, and physiological influences on the selection and intake of foods and drinks. It covers normal and disordered eating and drinking and features studies of both human and non-human animal behaviour toward food. Appetite publishes research reports, reviews and commentaries.

British Food Journal publishes empirical and applied research articles, viewpoint articles, case studies, and reviews related to the food industry. Published for more than a century, the journal publishes on topics including consumer choice and attitudes, marketing and retailing, food-related health education, the food supply and safety, and sustainability.

Canadian Food Studies / La Revue canadienne des études sur l’alimentation is the open-access, online journal of the Canadian Association for Food Studies. Addressing the myriad ways in which humans, food, and the natural and built environments come to construct one another, the journal aims to build a body of voices and material that represents the community, academic, and individual contexts of food studies, with the potential of integrating ideas on transgression, emergence, and transformation.

CuiZine: The Journal of Canadian Food Cultures is an e-journal published in English and French by McGill Library. With a core audience of “readers interested in Canada’s diverse food culture,” research articles precede a veritable feast of food-themed original poetry, animations, cartoons, image-based essays, reminiscences, short studies on iconic Canadian dishes or products, short opinion-editorial pieces, food-related exhibit reviews, and interviews.

Culture, Agriculture, Food and Environment is published two times a year by the Culture and Agriculture Section of the American Anthropological Association. It publishes position papers, discussions of theoretical developments and methods of inquiry, results of empirical research, and book and film reviews. With an interdisciplinary readership, the journal explores the connections between culture and the environment, ecology, agriculture, aquaculture, fisheries, natural resources, energy, water, food, and nutrition, as well as sustainability and biodiversity.

Digest: A Journal of Foodways & Culture, the online journal of the Foodways section of the American Folklore Society, publishes articles, as well as research notes: folklore food-related fieldwork projects or reports that are part of a larger project and not subject to peer review. Digest also serves up an “Amuse-Bouche” section, which includes a variety of shorter pieces, such as creative writing, pieces of fiction, poetry, photographs and photographic essays, recipes, and historical materials, such as prints and menus.

Ecology of Food and Nutrition is an international journal that publishes articles on the ecological, biological, and cultural aspects of food and nutrition. The article content scope is wide, including the relationship between food/nutrition and culture, food taboos and preferences, ecology and political economy of food, the evolution of human nutrition, changes in food habits, food technology and marketing, food and identity, food sustainability, and food, health, and disease.

European Journal of Food, Drink and Society is a critical and interdisciplinary space to discuss and debate contemporary and historical issues of food and drink in everyday life, founded in 2020. It encompasses the fields of sociology, history, cultural studies, geography, anthropology, tourism studies, and culinary arts. The Journal publishes peer-reviewed articles, policy and practice contributions, high quality work related to innovative practice in food studies education, research notes, and solicited book reviews.

Food, Culture & Society is the quarterly, multidisciplinary journal of the Association for the Study of Food and Society and has been published since 1996. The journal explores the complex relationships among food, culture, and society from numerous disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences, as well as in the world of food beyond the academy.

Food and Foodways is a quarterly, interdisciplinary, and international journal that publishes original scholarly articles on the history and culture of human nourishment. Its scholarship explores the powerful but often subtle ways in which food has shaped and shapes our lives socially, economically, politically, mentally, nutritionally, and morally.

Food & History is the biannual scientific review of the European Institute for the History and Culture of Food in Tours, France. Founded in 2003, it was the first journal in Europe dedicated to food history. It addresses questions of consumption, production, provisioning and distribution, medical aspects, culinary practices, gastronomy, and restaurants. Although most contributions are concerned with European food history, the journal also welcomes articles on other food cultures.

Food Quality and Preference is a journal dedicated to sensory and consumer research in food. It is an official journal of the Sensometric Society and the European Sensory Science Society. Submissions must include some aspect of human measurement. The journal’s coverage includes topics such as food choice studies of cultural, sensory, and environmental factors; studies of how geographical, cultural, and individual differences shape food perception and preference; innovative consumer and market research; and health and wellbeing studies.

Food Policy is a multidisciplinary journal that publishes original research and critical reviews that make a clear contribution to food policy debates of international interest. Relevant issues include: food production, trade, marketing and consumption; nutrition and health aspects of food systems; food needs, entitlements, security and aid; food safety and quality assurance; technological and institutional innovation affecting food systems and access; and environmental sustainability.

Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food publishes original research papers that take a synthetic view of the science, sociology and economics of food production, agricultural development, access to food, and nutrition, as well as review articles, case studies, and letters to the editor. It is an official publication of the International Society for Plant Pathology.

Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal provides an interdisciplinary forum for the discussion of agricultural, environmental, nutritional, health, social, economic, and cultural perspectives on food. Published since 2011, articles range from broad theoretical and global policy explorations to detailed studies of specific human-physiological, nutritional, and social dynamics of food. (Note: This has been flagged by colleagues as a potential pay-to-publish, i.e. predatory, journal.)

Future of Food: Journal on Food, Agriculture and Society is a multi-disciplinary journal for young practitioners, policy-makers, young scholars, researchers, post graduate students, doctoral students, and post doctoral fellows who are interested in food related themes. Inviting scholarship from natural and social scientists, it is sponsored by The Department of Organic Food Quality and Food Culture at the University of Kassel, Germany and the Federation of German Scientists.

Gastronomica, “The Journal of Critical Food Studies,” builds upon an established history of bridging the divide between academic publishing, foodie-friendly journalism, and high-art aesthetics. Specializing in “translational” work that speaks to multiple audiences, the quarterly-published journal features original research, as well as research briefs, critical commentaries and discussions, reviews of books and films, creative reflections, photo-essays, interviews with key figures in the field, and aesthetic pieces pertaining to food.

Global Food History publishes twice per year original articles covering any period from prehistory to the present and any geographical area, including transnational and world histories of food. Publishing its first issue in 2015, the journal also welcomes articles on teaching food history, archival notes, translations, and other essays that help to build the field by encouraging and disseminating documentation.

Global Food Security publishes papers that contribute to a better understanding of the economic, social, biophysical, technological, and institutional drivers of current and future global food security. It publishes reviews and synthesis articles about research on food availability, access, nutrition, safety, sanitation, stability, and environment.

Graduate Journal of Food Studies is an international student-run journal dedicated to encouraging and promoting interdisciplinary food scholarship at the graduate level. Publishing two digital issues per year since 2014, the journal is a space for promising scholars to showcase their exceptional academic articles and book reviews, as well as features like research and field notes, archival reports, close readings, and photo essays.

Hospitality & Society is an international multidisciplinary social sciences journal focusing upon hospitality and exploring its connections with wider social and cultural processes and structures. Published since 2011, the journal publishes empirical and conceptual research, state-of-the-art reviews, discussion papers, shorter research notes, viewpoints, letters to the editor, book reviews, and reports on conferences. The September 2014 issue was specifically dedicated to food, drink, and hospitality.

International Journal of Food Design is the first academic journal entirely dedicated to food design research and practice, publishing its first issue in 2016. The journal publishes pieces that examine the connections between food and design, both broadly conceived.

International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food covers international issues related to food and agriculture from a social science perspective, including sociology, science and technology studies, human geography, political science, and consumer, management, and environmental studies. It welcomes interdisciplinary approaches to social, cultural, political and environmental aspects of food production and consumption as well as processes of agricultural change.

Journal of Agrarian Change publishes scholarship dedicated to agrarian political economy. It promotes interdisciplinary investigation of the social relations and dynamics of production, property and power in agrarian formations and their processes of change, both historical and contemporary, theoretical and applied.

 Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics publishes articles on ethical and moral issues confronting agriculture, food production and environmental concerns, such as the responsibilities of agricultural producers, the assessment of technological changes affecting farm populations, the modification of ecosystems, animal welfare, the use of biotechnology, and the safety, availability, and affordability of food. The journal publishes scientific articles that are relevant to ethical issues, as well as relevant philosophical papers and brief discussion pieces.

Journal of Agriculture and Food Research is a peer-reviewed open access journal focused on research in the agricultural and food sciences. The journal publishes full length research articles, reviews, short communications, perspectives, and commentaries from researchers in academic institutions, international research centers, and public and private research organizations, as well as special issues.

Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development (JAFSCD) is an online, international, peer-reviewed publication focused on the practice and applied research interests of agriculture and food systems development professionals. JAFSCD emphasizes best practices and tools related to the planning, community economic development, and ecological protection of local and regional agriculture and food systems, and works to bridge the interests of practitioners and academics.

Journal of Critical Dietetics serves as an outlet for inquiry and exploration regarding gender, race, class, ability, size, dietetic epistemology, post-structural orientations to dietetic education, art, and poetry in the context of dietetics. The journal is online and open access, but requires registration to access. The journal publishes research articles, as well as editorials, reflexive writing, interviews, commentary, insights, and book reviews.

Journal of Ethnic Foods publishes articles that address food consumption and highlight the roles of tradition, culture, ecology, history, and the environment. A multidisciplinary journal, it engages various methodologies (such as biology, nutrition, epidemiology, ecology and cultural anthropology) and covers myriad geographies. It is open access courtesy of the Korea Food Research Institute.

Journal of International Food & Agribusiness Marketing critically examines marketing issues across the global food business chain by using a systems and cross-cultural/national approach to explain the many facets of food marketing. A managerially oriented publication, it examines contemporary food marketing issues regarding consumers, retailers, wholesalers, processors, assemblers, and agriculture and all articles employ a cross-cultural or transnational approach.

Journal of Peasant Studies was founded in 1973 and fosters inquiry into how agrarian power relations between classes and other social groups are created, understood, contested and transformed  in relation to the rural world. It pays special attention to questions of ‘agency’ of marginalized groups in agrarian societies worldwide. The journal publishes articles, special issues, reviews, and Grassroots Voices – views that are written and presented in a non-academic style but provide important insights and information relevant to critical rural development studies.

Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability focuses on sustainability policy and politics in relation to theory, concepts, and empirical studies at the nexus of justice and the environment. It is a forum for the critical examination, evaluation and discussion of environmental, social and economic policies, processes and strategies which will be needed in movement towards social justice and sustainability – “Just Sustainability” – at local, regional, national and global scales.

Locale: The Pacific Journal of Regional Food Studies is an open-access online journal that emphasizes the Pacific (i.e. Australia, New Zealand, the islands of the Pacific, and the Pacific Rim) and on issues or processes at the local or regional level, as well as national and global intersections. It publishes academic articles as well as industry forums, debates, and photo essays.

PPC (Petits Propos Culinaires) is a journal of food studies and food history founded in 1980 that publishes articles on food history as well as book reviews.

Public Understanding of Science is a quarterly international journal covering all aspects of the inter-relationships between science (including technology and medicine) and the public. Topics covered include: popular representations of science, scientific and para-scientific belief systems, science in schools, history of science, education of popular science, science and the media. The journal publishes original research, perspectives, reviews, and annotated bibliographies of recent research in the field.

Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems is a multi-disciplinary journal published by Cambridge Journals which focuses on the science that underpins economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable approaches to agriculture and food production. Formerly the Journal of Alternative Agriculture, the journal publishes original research and review articles, as well as a discussion forum.

Science, Technology & Human Values is an international and interdisciplinary journal that for more than forty years has published research, analyses, and commentary on the development and dynamics of science and technology, including their relationship to politics, society and culture.

Sociologia Ruralis is the journal of the The European Society for Rural Sociology. For 40 years, it has published multi and interdisciplinary social-science research on rural areas and related issues in Europe. It covers a wide range of subjects, ranging from farming, natural resources and food systems to rural communities, rural identities and the restructuring of rurality.

Are there peer-reviewed food studies journals not included on this list? Let me know!

Note: In most cases, these journal descriptions come from the publisher’s home page and are not original prose.  

Top Image Credit: Emily Contois, 2015

Presenting My Students’ Final Project in Food + Gender

I’m thrilled to share my students’ final project, an e-journal that culminates our course, “Food and Gender in U.S. Popular Culture,” at Brown University.

In this seminar-style course, twenty students (mostly in their first and second years of study) completed four main writing assignments — a cookbook analysis (which I blogged about here), a mini media exhibit, an interview profile, and a restaurant review — all of which engaged the themes of food and gender. For the final project, students worked to revise one of these assignments for inclusion in the class e-journal. We invite you to start with the About page to learn more about the class and our writing.

As you will read, these writing assignments expect (and deliver!) clear and sophisticated argument, as well as what we called “compulsively readable” prose. Course readings included not only academic food studies texts, but also a full serving of food writing, providing a taste of different styles and formats. Throughout the semester, we aimed to craft not only compelling thesis statements, but also at least one “aspirational sentence” in each essay — a sentence so beautifully phrased, so provocatively put that the reader is forced to sigh with pleasure, to read it again.

I hope you enjoy reading these students’ work, and we welcome you to join our discussions about food, gender, and popular culture.