Local Food: The Regional Food of Hawaii by Rachel Laudan

Do regional cuisines really exist in the United States? asked Sandra Oliver in one of the last issues of Food History News, the newsletter she started in 1989 and published for twenty years. Was it not the case that until the end of the nineteenth century everyone depended on a porridge of pounded corn, called mush or grits?  And that with the industrialization of food, … Continue reading Local Food: The Regional Food of Hawaii by Rachel Laudan

The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South

For the uninitiated, potlikker is the liquid that remains in the pot after cooking up a mess of greens. Potlikker is nutrient rich as minerals and water-soluble vitamins in the greens are leached out into the cooking water. In The Potlikker Papers, John Edge, Director of the Southern Foodways Alliance, introduces us to a platter of tidbits of what Southern food was and how it … Continue reading The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South

Baking Powder Wars: The Cutthroat Food Fight that Revolutionized Cooking

Looking for a book that puts a positive spin on the industrial food system in America? If so, I have a treat for you in the form of Baking Powder Wars. Linda Civitello provides an alternate view of the food industry and the consumer than what we are used to reading about. Be forewarned, however, as the food industry can end up being one of the … Continue reading Baking Powder Wars: The Cutthroat Food Fight that Revolutionized Cooking

Reimagining the American food system

Science is not always right, but what becomes the arbiter between opposing positions if scientific knowledge is ignored? Science has become very political. It is proclaimed as proof if it supports a specific position and is ignored if it does not. A single study can neither confirm nor refute a particular point-of-view. Results from scientific studies must be evaluated on the strength of their methodologies … Continue reading Reimagining the American food system

The food movement vs. Big Food

There is little doubt that trust in the American food industry is at a low, perhaps an all-time low. Wherever we turn we are urged to avoid processed food. Pushed by the food movement, Big Food does all that it can to meet its criticisms and pretend that the packages of food with ingredient statements and Nutrition Facts they manufacture are NOT really processed-food products. … Continue reading The food movement vs. Big Food

Grade standards and canned vegetable quality

Perhaps no one has clearly highlighted the fault lines between the food movement and processed food as Anna Zeide in the book Canned: The Rise and Fall of Consumer Confidence in the American Food Industry. Last week I reviewed the book as a whole. This week I delve further into her perspective with particular emphasis on quality of fresh and canned vegetables. I also briefly … Continue reading Grade standards and canned vegetable quality

Canned: The Rise and Fall of Consumer Confidence in the American Food Industry

Canned may well be the most important book written about processed food in recent years. Anna Zeide traces the history of the canned food industry, primarily in America in the 20th Century. She uses specific canned products in each of the six chapters to illustrate the development of the industry and how these events shaped the industrialized food system and the modern processed-food industry: condensed … Continue reading Canned: The Rise and Fall of Consumer Confidence in the American Food Industry

Vitamins and Minerals 101

As indicated in Vitamania, vitamins are essential chemicals our bodies need to maintain health. They are also viewed as miraculous molecules found in bottles of supplements and packages of functional foods as glorified by both small and large companies in either the pharmaceutical or food industries. How vitamins and their micronutrient companions, the minerals, function in the body is poorly understood by most purchasers of … Continue reading Vitamins and Minerals 101

The (Non) Sense of Nutritional Supplements

by Hrvoje Verži   It was bound to happen. As a professor I directed enough graduate students to eventually find one who was as eccentric and as provocative in dealing with me as I was in dealing with my major professors when I was a grad student. Hrvoje (Herbie) Verži was that student for me. He gave me a better appreciation of what my former professors faced. … Continue reading The (Non) Sense of Nutritional Supplements