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Depression-era food essay collection shows similar problems with how “America Eats”

"It’s always twilight...when it comes to American food": In 1939, the Federal Writers’ Project editor Katherine Kellock "hatched a new idea: a book, to be entitled “America Eats,” about “American cookery and the part it has played in the national life.” Writers hit the road to document foodways, and a new...

Bill Marler re-Pollanizes Washington State U

E. coli can bear sweet fruit: When Washington State University decided to cancel a program requiring all freshmen to read the same book — this year's pick was Michael Pollan's "The Omnivore’s Dilemma” — claiming budget constraints, many saw agribusiness pressure instead. One distinguished WSU alumnus...

Meeting Louis Bromfield – and Wendell Berry! – at Malabar Farm

Here in northeastern Ohio, not only are we surrounded by acres of rich agricultural land, on which depend a mixture of big and small farms, but in every county there are hidden pockets of little-known historical significance. And in almost-neighboring Richland County, one historical attraction has appeal to...

Making “Omnivore’s Dilemma” required reading doesn’t fly at agriculture college

Strike up the banned: Washington State University picked "The Omnivore’s Dilemma" as this year’s “common reading” selection for all incoming freshmen, just as UC Berkeley has for next year's — and then dropped it, citing budget constraints. Oddly, the university had already purchased more than 4,000 copies...

“The Coming Plague”: The big book of nasty diseases

I first read “The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance” by Laurie Garrett nearly eight years ago. I have a penchant for “disease books,” and as Garrett’s book covers hemorrhagic fevers (Ebola, Marburg, Lassa, hantavirus, and Ebola), yellow fever, meningitis, swine flu, AIDS,...

Digest – Features and blogs: Free-range response, literary seasonality, the Hamburg wish list

Fighting the Averyian Flu: Researchers at Johns Hopkins University look a little deeper at the NYT pork op-ed and find that the study mentioned was funded by the National Pork Board, which represents conventional producers, and that the Trichinosis "positive" pigs tested seropositive, meaning they have the...

Meet menhaden – before this ecologically critical fish vanishes

By Alice Friedemann Ever heard of menhaden? Probably not, although perhaps you're familiar with the fish’s other names: bunker, pogies, mossbacks, bugmouths, alewifes, and fat-backs. You may be surprised to learn they’re the most important fish in the Atlantic and Gulf waters. Menhaden are the vacuum...

Fatal attraction: Humanity’s love affair with fish like the Chilean sea bass

Recently I was snared — or hooked, snagged, or netted (pick your favorite fishing pun) — by a book that shows  humanity's enormous capacity to affect ocean life. We can nearly wipe out an entire species in just a few decades thanks to new technologies and taste trends. Take the Chilean sea...

Digest – News: Flesh-eating bacteria, wallet-eating food companies, and eating, righteously

Makes your skin crawl: As previously reported here, a flesh-eating, antibiotic resistant bacteria is killing 18,000 Americans a year and is carried by 45% of farmers and 49% of pigs in Iowa. Nicholas Kristof's piece concludes that we may be getting more than we bargained for in creating a food system that...

Review: Real Food For Healthy Kids cookbook

I talk a lot of smack about sustainable food. About the unexpected pleasures of farmer’s markets, about voting with one’s fork, about "local economies" this and "food miles" that. But here’s my dirty little secret: it wasn’t that long ago that I fed my daughter a steady diet of chicken nuggets, mac and...

Learning to share: “Dinner at Your Door,” by Alex Davis, Diana Ellis, and Andy Remeis

Not quite two years ago, as our local meat CSA was in the works, I gathered with a few people to discuss “The Omnivore's Dilemma,” the Ethicurean, CSAs, and local food in general. One person turned to me and asked how they could make time for the shopping and cooking required to get away from the fast-food,...

What the health?: A review of “101 Foods That Could Save Your Life”

In the past year or so, the local college has started a Wellness Series of lectures designed to discuss various health topics designed to appeal to all members of the community. Unable to attend any of last year's, I thought I might try to catch at least one this time around, so recently I dragged a friend...

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