In November 2018, I had the opportunity to present at the Oldways Whole Grains Council Conference in Seattle, Washington.
Jennifer Jensen Wallach and Michael Wise discuss the new fellowship, food studies at UNT, and what it’s like to live, work, and eat in Denton.
The stories behind how Anna Zeide and I first met + how fate has brought me to Oklahoma … twice.
Combining food and labor history, Janis Thiessen tells the stories of independent Canadian producers of chips, chocolate, and candy.
I’m thrilled to announce I’m now writing for Nursing Clio! My most recent essay explores retro microwave cookbooks alongside today’s mug cake trend.
Medical historian Andrew Ruis shares from his new book on the local origins of school lunch in the U.S. in the early 20th century with lessons for today’s debates.
Over the last decade, I’ve researched dieting and weight loss in U.S. culture, but I’ve rarely written about the personal histories that led me to this topic…
S. Margot Finn’s new book asserts that today’s foodie mania is the result of class anxiety, not culinary enlightenment or decline, with fascinating comparisons to the Gilded Age.
Drawing from hundreds of cookbooks from 1390s-1920s, the Reading Historic Cookbooks seminar taught participants to listen to the voices in these texts.
As our current political moment incites numerous protests and with them a new archive of protest posters, Megan Elias has begun a public history project—Dishing it Out: Food-Themed Protest Posters—to archive these political ephemera.
My recently published article uses Vegemite as a case study to examine the cultural contexts in which advertising fails and triumphs, as well as the marketing process by which brands become icons, or not.
Third wave coffee continues to rock the coffee scene across the country. And here in RI you can find Cooper’s Cask Coffee, where single-origin beans are paired with the subtle, sweet notes of award winning whiskeys from Sons of Liberty Spirits.
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 …
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 have pondered lately in our course “Food and Gender in U.S. Popular Culture” at Brown University. For our first assignment, students analyzed how cookbooks prescribe and transgress conventional gender roles. A uniquely interdisciplinary field, food studies scholarship often employs various methods, but the close reading of cookbooks is one method that approaches universality. Perhaps that’s part of why I’ve written on them so often (like here, here, and here). I’m working with a thoughtful and engaged group of 20 mostly first- and second-year students. While most had read and used cookbooks for cooking, few had previously considered them as elements of popular culture, as valuable historical evidence, as prescriptive literature that shape notions of gender, or as sources in which the so-often-silenced voices of women and people of color can be heard. In an effort to fully scaffold and support our work with cookbooks, we first did some reading. …
My latest Zester piece encourages Americans to try Vegemite today, on Australia Day, the country’s national holiday celebrating the day in 1788 when Captain Arthur Phillip and the First Fleet of eleven convict ships from Great Britain arrived at Sydney Cove. If you try it, you’ll be joining a venerated group of non-Aussies who have taken the challenge: Oprah tried it during her shows in Sydney, on the steps of the Opera House, no less, and claimed to like it. Brad Pitt also tried it, sticking his finger boldly into the jar and tasting it from his fingertip, with diplomatic consideration for its flavor. President Barack Obama confessed in 2011 to then-Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard that he found the spread “horrible,” disappointing Vegemite lovers—including me. Niall Horan of One Direction echoed this sentiment in 2012 when he tasted Vegemite toast live on Australian television only to spit it out and later share on Twitter, ”Can clearly say vegemite is horrible!” Ten American children tasted Vegemite for the first time in a popular video that circulated last year. Vegemite failed to …