What are the origins of some of our modern culinary taboos? What are the hidden benefits of food stamps? How are some Native Americans attempting to decolonize their modern diets? Our editors explore the answers to these questions and more in this week’s “What We’re Reading” roundup.
Amy Zavatto: The Animals We Love Too Much to Eat — New Yorker
I am devouring the Food Issue of the New Yorker, which arrived in my mailbox yesterday. In particular, I’m super fascinated with the story by Dana Goodyear on what meats the general public finds palatable (“The nineteenth and twentieth centuries in American eating were defined by narrowing: The richer we grew as a nation, the more we ate, and the fewer species… The culinary taboos erected by prosperity are under siege”), as well as the urge to eat things that are rare and seemingly shocking (whale, lion, horse). As the daughter of a butcher, I’m always curious and interested at where eaters draw the line and why.
Eileen Duffy: UNESCO and Japanese Culinary Tradition — Can a U.N. Body as Rare and Special as a Cooking Style? — Slate
“In 2008, UNESCO expanded its heritage protection program to include intangible cultural artifacts: ‘traditions or living expressions inherited from our ancestors and passed on to our descendants.’ Along with the petition to safeguard Japanese cuisine, there are 31 other proposals… including Korean kimchi-making, Turkish coffee culture and the Belgian tradition of shrimp fishing on horseback.” —Matt Goulding
Gabrielle Langholtz: Eating Indigenously Changes Diets and Lives of Native Americans — Aljazeera America
Marty Reinhardt, a Native American Studies professor of Anishinaabe Ojibway heritage, wondered if he could eat the way his ancestors had. From crabapples to wild rice, the Decolonizing Diet Project was born.
Marissa Finn: Broccoli’s Extreme Makeover — New York Times
Ad agency Victors & Spoils, which has created campaigns for Coca-Cola, Quiznos and General Mills, has taken on broccoli marketing with slogans like, “Broccoli: now 43% less pretentious than kale.”
Carrington Morris: An Oasis in a Food Desert — Moyers & Company
Bill Moyers & Co. reports on the nation’s first nonprofit grocery store. Established in the now food desert but once robust industrial town of Chester, PA, Fare & Square is the first grocer available to the low-income population since 2001. By day one, 50 percent of the community had signed up for its free membership and now has access to fresh meats, produce, dairy and more. Beyond the local interest, communities around the country are paying attention to see if this innovative philanthropic model might work for them.
Lauren Wilson: Hunger Cliff
As of yesterday, the 47 million Americans who rely on SNAP had their benefits reduced. As the food stamp program continues to be under threat by Congress, Food Bank NYC has launched the #HungerCliff website to educate, inspire others to advocate and help enable the public to act. It has an engaging infographic that’s worth reading and is easily shared.