All posts tagged: food studies

Mouthfeel: How Texture Makes Taste

Whether crispy, creamy, or juicy, texture makes taste. Changing a food’s texture can also remake its taste—to eaters’ detriment or advantage. These gastro-scientific transformations have significant consequences when considering how to make healthy diets interesting, challenging, tasty, and appealing. These are the insights of Mouthfeel: How Texture Makes Taste, a new book published in February 2017 by the Danish team of molecular biophysicist, Ole G. Mouritsen, and chef, Klavs Styrbæk, who wrote together Umami: Unlocking the Secrets of the Fifth Taste in 2015. Mouthfeel was translated into English, revised, and adapted for a broader audience by Mariela Johansen. The final product from Columbia University Press is a beautifully executed text packed full of relatively accessible food science, stunning full-color photographs, and thought-provoking recipes. Fans of Gordon Shepherd’s Neurogastronomy: How the Brain Creates Flavor and Why It Matters (also from Columbia University Press) will find much to love and think with in Mouthfeel, and with a welcome focus on the culinary. Of interest to me as researcher in food studies and critical nutrition studies was Mouritsen and Styrbæk’s assertion that foods that engage all of our senses provide not only gastronomic pleasure, but also a potential …

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 …

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: 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 …

Why I Support Render, Feminist Food Writing & Activism

As its website states, Render: Feminist Food & Culture Quarterly works in every issue “to spotlight all the badass women who are making waves within the persistently male-dominated food industry.” These efforts “to smash the patriarchy in the food industry” are important for all of us, as readers, thinkers, and eaters. It’s why I renewed my subscription and contributed to Render’s Kickstarter, which ends on May 4. I’m not part of the Render team, but as pledges currently fall short of their goal, I wanted to offer these few words of support, because these issues have been top of mind for me lately. In our course, “Food and Gender in U.S. Popular Culture,” my students and I have discussed and pondered, sighed and screamed about not only the continual under-representation of women in the food industry and the media that covers it, but also about how the icon of the celebrity chef — constructed as white, male, and straight — is a cultural figure that by its very nature subordinates every other identity within the industry. This particular construction of the celebrity …

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 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. …