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ANTH 3888 calendar: f2014  f2015

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 Anthropology of Food
Sunday, 21 December 2014, 15:38 (03:38 PM) CST, day 355 of 2014
BBC Food
Wikipedia: Food | Food and drink | Food culture | Food history | Food Portal |
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World Clock Cf.: Food Production and Animal Slaughter
FoodPressReleases.com

Food and Drug Administration Wire
OWL logo, Online Writing Lab, Purdue University.
 
     
Sicilian ice-cream in a bread bun. A good solution to a local problem: the Mediterranean heat quickly melts the ice-cream, which is absorbed by the bread.
"Palermo, Sicily
Italy
A Fistful of Rice.
A Fistfull of Rice
Nepal
Claire Kathleen Roufs eating first food at 5 months.
Claire Kathleen Roufs
U.S.A.
Eating rat.
"Eating Rat At
The New Year
"
Vietnam
National Geographic
Video
Desert People, boy eating "grub worm"
Desert People
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Texts and Other Class Material

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Welcome to the Anthropology of Food

Available on-line in your
 Moodle
folder at
<https://www.moodle.umn.edu/>

This will be a great course, and a great experience. You will see. . . .

The great Minnesota State Fair Starts Wednesday. I was thinking about that over the weekend, at the St. Paul Farmers’ Market.

Minnesota State Fair food is legendary, this year featuring 2014 New Foods! that include bison dogs, shrimp dogs, Jurassic dogs, Iron Range Pierogies, beer gelato, and breakfast Juicy Lulus (no doubt a play on Minnesota’s famous Jucy Lucy cheeseburger [or “Juicy Lucy”, depending on whether you are a Matt's Bar or 5-8 Club fan]).

[I was thinking of the Minnesota State Fair food at the St. Paul Farmers’ Market for two reasons: (1) it is probably about as far as you can get, nutritionally speaking, from the farm-fresh offerings at the Farmer’ Market, and (2) there was a lady shopper at the Farmers’ Market who looked like the tattooed ladies that the hawkers at the Minnesota State Fair used to showcase on the Midway sideshow years ago.]

The Minnesota State Fair offers 450 different kinds of food—more than 60 of them on sticks—from more than 300 vendors.” Dallas Simonette has sold alligator on a stick at the State Fair for eighteen years at his Gator Shack. Martha Rossini Olson, who has been selling Sweet Martha’s Cookies at the Minnesota State Fair for the last 36 years, expects “to churn out” one million cookies a day this year. <http://www.startribune.com/local/271535651.html>

Look for Complete State Fair coverage from the StarTribune starting Wednesday. Their coverage regularly features Fair Food, including, believe it or not, Healthy eating at the State Fair.

 

Some people like to procrastinate. Others like to arrive at a dinner party early.

I am sending this note out early to make it more convenient for you to order your textbooks on-line (if that is an attractive option for you), and/or to let you get started reading one or other of the interesting books we have for the class (if you are the kind of person who likes to do that sort of thing). Or you might want to start watching one or other of the many internationally-award-winning films and videos that we have lined up for the class. If none of these options apply to you, just relax and enjoy the wonderful fall weather, or maybe even take a trip to the Minnesota State Fair to enjoy their special, albeit sometimes a bit unusual, treats.

This will be a great course, and a great experience. You will see. . . .

Interest in food and culture has never been higher.

Whether or not you agree with the various commentators, and there are many these days, representing all sides of the food industry and all food interest groups, food is IN the news. And some weeks food IS the news. And that's true year 'round.

On today’s (Sunday, 17 July 2014) Minnesota Public Radio WebSite, for example, you can find such features as . . .


Speaking of Minnesota foods, not so long ago my wife, Kim, and I stopped off in Hawaii on the way back from Australia and New Zealand where we were visiting relatives. I learned in the “trivia” section of the New Zealand Air in-flight magazine that Hawaiians eat more Spam per capita than the citizens of any other country on earth. Hawaiians love our Minnesota Spam! It is even reported that some eat it as a delicacy.

Minnesota’s own Spam . . . turned 77 on July 5th . . .

http://www.todayifoundout.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/spam5.jpg

To start off Spam’s 75th birthday year the Minneapolis StarTribune celebrated “America’s love of Spam” in a full-page feature on one of Minnesota’s best-known products (next to Scotch tape). See for yourself (<http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/travel/137199258.html> StarTribune, Sunday, January 15, 2012, G5).

My sister-in law nearly “pukes” when she sees Spam in my refrigerator (her term, not mine), so she’s left out of the “love affair” article, except, perhaps in the second half of the “love it or hate it” part.

You have spam in your e-mail box, if not in your icebox. And if it’s not in your icebox or cupboard, why not? (Amazon.com is currently offering six-pack subscriptions of Spam Classic for $24.84—$2.62 more than it was in January.)

There’s probably a good reason why it is or isn’t there.

Or maybe several.

I once owned an official plastic Spamburger cutter, which after it was forbidden in the kitchen I used for a while as a Christmas tree ornament. It mysteriously disappeared one year, about the Feast of the Three Kings, and Spamburgers haven’t been the same since. And this year, again, our Christmas tree was Spamburger-cutter-less. (Used Spamburger cutters were going for an opening bid of $24.99 on eBay just before Christmas; alas, there are none available on eBay at this time.)

We don’t eat Spam in our house unless my sister-in-law’s sister is away.

Spam.com <http://www.spam.com/> may represent “Americana” at its finest—including a recipe exchange, should you like to try some. And you can visit Spam on facebook <http://www.facebook.com/spambrand>. Try the Hawaiian-Themed Spam Recipes for a little variety. And for the real treat there’s always the annual April Waikiki Spam Jam in Hawaii.

The point here is that Spam makes you happy or makes you vomit, depending on a lot of cultural experiences to which you have been exposed. And it’s not just about Spam as a food product; it’s about Spam as a cultural phenomenon.

 

In a much broader way, we’ll be exploring those cultural aspects of food—nutritional, spiritual, social, political, psychological, historical, recreational, economic, and the like—so stay tuned.

I am looking forward to "meeting" you in class on the 2nd. At your convenience, have a look at the information in your Moodle folder at <https://www.moodle.umn.edu/>.

Detailed information on the textbooks for the course—there are two—can be found at <http://www.d.umn.edu/cla/faculty/troufs/anthfood/aftexts.html>.

The course anchor text is new for f2014 . . . Eating Culture: An Anthropological Guide to Food (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2013), by Gillian Crowther, Professor of Anthropology at Capilano University in Vancouver, BC

 

 Eating Culture: An Anthropological Guide to Food

The course anchor text, Eating Culture: An Anthropological Guide to Food (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2013), is currently available on-line for $31.14 new, $15.37 Kindle, and $36.80 used.
[It is also being offered on-line for as much as $71.10, or even more, so be careful to check prices.] (+ p/h, and at amazon.com you get FREE Super Saver Shipping on some orders). (15 August 2014)

 

The Omnivore's Dilemma

The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (NY: Penguin, 2007) is currently available online from about $10.75 new, $7.99 Kindle, and $3.73 used. (+ p/h, at amazon.com & eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25). (15 August 2014)

Note: The Omnivore's Dilemma: The Secrets Behind What You Eat, Young Readers Edition (2009), also by Michael Pollen, is a different edition of the book.

 

The Language of Food

The Language of Food: A Linguist Reads The Menu (NY: W. W. Norton, 2014) is currently available on-line for $17.04 new, $12.99 Kindle, and $16.30 used.
(+ p/h, at amazon.com & eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25). (24 October 2014)

 

I also recommended the Companion to the Marcus Samuelsson Film Series that we will see in class. It’s a great book, and the price is right—in fact, it’s one of the best buys on Amazon.com at the present time:

tba

The Meaning of Food: The Companion to the PBS Television Series Hosted by Marcus Samuelsson (Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot, 2005) is currently available online from about $9.18 new and $1.86 used. (+ p/h). (15 August 2014)
[This is also listed on Amazon.com for a much higher price. Be careful, if you use Amazon.com, to get on the correct page. See note below.)

The Meaning of Food is not available at the UMD Bookstore.

The exams will be open-book essays constructed from a list of study questions that you help create, so it would be a good idea for you to have your own copy of each text you plan to use in the exams.

For the exams you should normally just need to read the books carefully and be able to discuss them intelligently. That is, you should read these as if you had picked it/them up at an airport or neighborhood bookshop because you were interested in the subject and wanted to know more about it, like literally millions of people are doing in everyday life.

PLEASE NOTE: Some students are used to principally memorizing facts in classes. This class is not one where that is the focus. It is about investigating new topics, reading, listening, synthesizing ideas, thinking, exploring, and becoming familiar enough with the various subjects, peoples and places to carry on an intelligent conversation in modern-day society. In short, this class aims to give you practice in critical thinking, and even creativity.

Critical thinking, involving evaluation and synthesis, has long been regarded as essential for success in the modern-day world. In recent years, actually for two decades, creativity has also become central to success, and "process skills" vital to creativity. Process skills involve "strategies to reframe challenges and extrapolate and transform information, and to accept and deal with ambiguity" (Pappano, "Learning to Think Outside the Box," The New York Times EducationLife, 9 February 2014, 8). Laura Pappano, writer in residence at Wellesley Center for Women at Wellesley College, points out that "In 2010 'creativity' was the factor most crucial for success found in an I.B.M. survey of 1,500 chief executives in 33 industries. These days 'creative' is the most used buzzword in LinkedIn profiles two years running" (2014, 8).

With all of the class materials you will be expected to share your ideas and comments with others in the Class Forums and wikis.

It is not accidental that TAPS, Canada’s leading Beer Magazine—in fact it’s THE BEER MAGAZINE—features this item from this class in its editorial of Winter 2012, p. 2); at least one major Editor in Chief thinks it’s worth noting and imitating.

In a nutshell, ANTH 3888 Anthropology of Food consists of three main segments:

  I Orientation and Background (f2f slides; on-line slides)  
      Basic Concepts  
      History  
      Theory  
      Methods and Techniques  
   II Explorations  
      Comparative / Cross-Cultural  
      Holistic  
      Ethnographic Case Studies from the Real World: Real People . . . Real Places from Around the Globe  
  III Student Presentations on Term Research Project
     


For the first part of the course much of the material for the week will be presented in the form of text materials and slide materials. In the second section of the semester, once you have mastered the basic information relating to the Anthropology of Food, we will look (generally comparatively, cf., Main Characteristics of Anthropology in Week 01) at a series of video materials from around the world. The final section will focus on your research projects.

One of the four main characteristics of American Anthropology is fieldwork, "a primary research technique, involving “participant observation," which usually means living among the people one is interested in learning from and about. It would be wonderful if for anthropology classes we could just rent a bus or charter a plane and fly off for a year or more to learn first-hand from the people themselves. Money, time, and practicality prohibit that, so the next best things—when it comes to studying anthropology—is going to places and viewing subjects by video, and we will do a lot of that this semester. More information on Visual Anthropology is available on-line at <http://www.d.umn.edu/cla/faculty/troufs/anth1604/visual_anthropology.html>.

You will find that there is "an awful lot" of materials on-line—maybe even too many!

You will find the required materials center stage in your Moodle folder. Most of the rest of the materials are optional, but you may find that material useful in working on your class project.

 

Where to start?

Probably the best place is by having a quick look at the "First Day Handout" on-line at <http://www.d.umn.edu/cla/faculty/troufs/anthfood/afhandout_first-day.html>.

Then have a look at your Moodle Gradebook folder, which gives a nice listing of the actual requirements and due dates for the course. (You'll find the link for that in the upper-left-hand corner of the top of Block 1. See the figure in the “First Day Handout.”)

Then have a look at the "Course Overview" in Block 1 (the top of page one) of your Moodle folder <https://www.moodle.umn.edu/> . See the figure in the “First Day Handout.”

Please heed the earlier word of caution. Moodle recommends that you use the Firefox browser (available free at <https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/update-firefox-latest-version>). The Windows Internet Explorer (IE) occasionally will not display items on your screen. These items will simply not be there on IE when they are fine on Moodle or even on Chrome. Microsoft Word should likewise not be used to cut and paste things to Moodle ; bad things can happen to your file if you do—randomly. Almost every time you are asked to enter text in Moodle , you will see the message, “Please do not copy/paste text directly from Microsoft Word. See explanation here <http://www1.umn.edu/moodle/issues.html#10>.” Please pay attention to that request.

 

So once again, welcome to Anth 3888 Anthropology of Food. This will be a great course, and a great experience. You will see. . . .

Thanks for signing on for Anthology of Food. I’m looking forward to seeing you on the 2nd.

I hope you enjoy the State Fair weather.

My office hours and contact information (and other regular schedule information) can be found at
<http://www.d.umn.edu/cla/faculty/troufs/anth1602/pcoffice.html>.

Your Moodle site is now on-line. Have a look at it at <moodle.umn.edu>.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to post them on Moodle or e-mail troufs@d.umn.edu.

See you on the 2nd.

Best Wishes,

Tim Roufs
Duluth, MN
17 August 2014

P.S. If you are new to the world of "technology" don't worry too much about that. Things may not "work" for you at first, but hang in there and we'll help you along. If you have not used Moodle course management system before, you might find it helpful to view the orientation tutorial.


Eating Culture: An Anthropological Guide to Food

 

Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
List of Tables and Diagrams
Acknowledgments
 
Part One: Edibility
1. Omnivorousness: Defining Food
 
Part Two: Ingredients
2. Settled Ingredients: Domestic Food Production
3. Mobile Ingredients: Global Food Production
 
Part Three: Cooking
4. Cooks and Kitchens
5. Recipes and Dishes
 
Part Four: Eating
6. Eating-In: Commensality and Gastro-politics
7. Eating-Out and Gastronomy
 
Part Five: Digesting
8. Gastro-anomie: Global Indigestion?
9. Local Digestion: Making the Global at Home
 
Epilogue: Leftovers to Takeaway
   
  Glossary
  Bibliography
  Index

 

 

The course anchor text, starting Fall 2014, is
Eating Culture: An Anthropological Guide to Food
,
by Gillian Crowther, currently available on-line for $31.14 new, $15.37 Kindle, and $36.80 used.
[It is also being offered on-line for as much as $71.10, or even more, so be careful to check prices.]
(+ p/h, and at amazon.com you get FREE Super Saver Shipping on some orders). (15 August 2014)

Other on-line and brick and mortar stores should have comparable offers.

Gillian Crowther.
Eating Culture: An Anthropological Guide to Food.
Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2013.
336 pages
ISBN-10: 1442604654
ISBN-13: 978-1442604650

From the Publisher

Humans have an appetite for food, and anthropology—as the study of human beings, their culture, and society—has an interest in the role of food. From ingredients and recipes to meals and menus across time and space, Eating Culture is a highly engaging overview that illustrates the important role that anthropology and anthropologists have played in understanding food. Organized around the sometimes elusive concept of cuisine and the public discourse—on gastronomy, nutrition, sustainability, and culinary skills—that surrounds it, this practical guide to anthropological method and theory brings order and insight to our changing relationship with food.

Review

At last, a text for teaching the anthropology of food. Eating Culture is a wonderful introduction to cultural anthropology through the lens of food. From hunting and gathering to the global supply chain, this book offers an engaging entrée into thinking about food from a variety of cultural perspectives while introducing key concepts in cultural anthropology and food studies. (Rachel E. Black, Boston University)

In anthropology, we study food in order to better understand societies and cultures. Eating Culture provides an expansive, thorough, and very readable explanation of how we do that and of what we have so far understood. Using examples from all over the world, Crowther's text relies on both classic ethnographies and a nearly comprehensive survey of recent anthropological research on food. Eating Culture will be a welcome addition to undergraduate courses in food and culture. (David I. Beriss, University of New Orleans)

About the Author

Gillian Crowther is Professor of Anthropology at Capilano University in Vancouver, BC

Gillian Crowther

 

 

Omnivore's Dilemma text.

 

Table of Contents
Introduction : our national eating disorder 1
1 The plant: corn's conquest 15
2 The farm 32
3 The elevator 57
4 The feedlot: making meat 65
5 The processing plant : making complex foods 85
6 The consumer: a republic of fat 100
7 The meal: fast food 109
8 All flesh is grass 123
9 Big organic 134
10 Grass: thirteen ways of looking at a pasture 185
11 The animals: practicing complexity 208
12 Slaughter: in a glass abattoir 226
13 The market: "greetings from the non-barcode people" 239
14 The meal: grass-fed 262
15 The forager 277
16 The omnivore's dilemma 287
17 The ethics of eating animals 304
18 Hunting: the meat 334
19 Gathering: the fungi 364
20 The perfect meal 391

Michael Pollan

 Michael Pollan
 Wikipedia

The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (NY: Penguin, 2007) is currently available online from about $10.75 new, $7.99 Kindle, and $3.73 used. (+ p/h, at amazon.com & eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25). (15 August 2014)

Note: The Omnivore's Dilemma: The Secrets Behind What You Eat, Young Readers Edition (2009), also by Michael Pollen, is a different edition of the book.

Other on-line and brick and mortar stores should have comparable offers.

Michael Pollan.
The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals.

NY: Penguin, 2007.
464 pages
ISBN-10: 0143038583
ISBN-13: 978-0143038580

From Barnes & Noble

In the ancient days of hunter-gatherers, a wrong food choice -- in the form of a poison mushroom or toxic root -- could have quick and fatal consequences. Today, according to Botany of Desire author Michael Pollan, we face comparable dangers in the midst of plenitude. Pollan notes that Fast-Food America is experiencing what can only be described as a national eating disorder. With compelling precision, he describes how parallel food chains (industrialized food, alternative or "organic" food, and home-gathered food) reflect differences and similarities in our ecology of eating. A fascinating look behind the labels.

From the Publisher

A New York Times bestseller that has changed the way readers view the ecology of eating, this revolutionary book by award winner Michael Pollan asks the seemingly simple question: What should we have for dinner? Tracing from source to table each of the food chains that sustain us - whether industrial or organic, alternative or processed - he develops a portrait of the American way of eating. The result is a sweeping, surprising exploration of the hungers that have shaped our evolution, and of the profound implications our food choices have for the health of our species and the future of our planet.

The New York Times Book Review

Thoughtful, engrossing ... You're not likely to get a better explanation of exactly where your food comes from.

Publishers Weekly

Pollan (The Botany of Desire) examines what he calls "our national eating disorder" (the Atkins craze, the precipitous rise in obesity) in this remarkably clearheaded book. It's a fascinating journey up and down the food chain, one that might change the way you read the label on a frozen dinner, dig into a steak or decide whether to buy organic eggs. You'll certainly never look at a Chicken McNugget the same way again. Pollan approaches his mission not as an activist but as a naturalist: "The way we eat represents our most profound engagement with the natural world." All food, he points out, originates with plants, animals and fungi. "[E]ven the deathless Twinkie is constructed out of... well, precisely what I don't know offhand, but ultimately some sort of formerly living creature, i.e., a species. We haven't yet begun to synthesize our foods from petroleum, at least not directly." Pollan's narrative strategy is simple: he traces four meals back to their ur-species. He starts with a McDonald's lunch, which he and his family gobble up in their car. Surprise: the origin of this meal is a cornfield in Iowa. Corn feeds the steer that turns into the burgers, becomes the oil that cooks the fries and the syrup that sweetens the shakes and the sodas, and makes up 13 of the 38 ingredients (yikes) in the Chicken McNuggets. Indeed, one of the many eye-openers in the book is the prevalence of corn in the American diet; of the 45,000 items in a supermarket, more than a quarter contain corn. Pollan meditates on the freakishly protean nature of the corn plant and looks at how the food industry has exploited it, to the detriment of everyone from farmers to fat-and-getting-fatter Americans. Besides Stephen King, few other writers have made a corn field seem so sinister. Later, Pollan prepares a dinner with items from Whole Foods, investigating the flaws in the world of "big organic"; cooks a meal with ingredients from a small, utopian Virginia farm; and assembles a feast from things he's foraged and hunted. This may sound earnest, but Pollan isn't preachy: he's too thoughtful a writer, and too dogged a researcher, to let ideology take over. He's also funny and adventurous. He bounces around on an old International Harvester tractor, gets down on his belly to examine a pasture from a cow's-eye view, shoots a wild pig and otherwise throws himself into the making of his meals. I'm not convinced I'd want to go hunting with Pollan, but I'm sure I'd enjoy having dinner with him. Just as long as we could eat at a table, not in a Toyota. (Apr.) Pamela Kaufman is executive editor at Food & Wine magazine. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Library Journal

Pollan (journalism, Univ. of California, Berkeley; The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World) defines the Omnivore's Dilemma as the confusing maze of choices facing Americans trying to eat healthfully in a society that he calls "notably unhealthy." He seeks answers to this dilemma by taking readers through the industrial, organic, and hunter-gatherer stages of the food chain. Focusing on corn as the keystone plant in the industrial stage, Pollan describes its role in feeding cattle and in food processing as well as its ultimate destination in the products we consume at fast-food restaurants. The organic, or pastoral, stage offers a pure and chemical-free eating environment for animals and humans. In the hunter-gatherer stage, omnivores hunt animals and gather the plant foods that comprise all or part of their diets. Pollan explains how a framework of environmental, biological, and cultural factors determines what and how we eat. Although a bit long and sometimes redundant, this folksy narrative provides a wealth of information about agriculture, the natural world, and human desires. Recommended for all omnivores. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 12/05.]-Irwin Weintraub, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., New York Copyright 2006 Reed Business Informatio

Kirkus Reviews

The dilemma-what to have for dinner when you are a creature with an open-ended appetite-leads Pollan (Journalism/Berkeley; The Botany of Desire, 2001, etc.) to a fascinating examination of the myriad connections along the principal food chains that lead from earth to dinner table. The author identifies three: the one controlled by agribusiness; the pastoral, organic industry that has sprung up as an alternative to it; and the very short food chain Pollan calls "neo-Paleolithic," in which he assumes the role of modern-day hunter-gatherer. He demonstrates the dependence of the agribusiness system on a single grain, corn, as it passes from farm to feedlot and processing plant. The meal that concludes this section is takeout from McDonald's and includes among other foods a serving of Chicken McNuggets. Of the 38 ingredients that make up McNuggets, 13, he notes, are derived from corn. This fact bolsters an earlier, startling statistic: Each of us is personally responsible for consuming a ton of corn each year. Pollan's exploration of the pastoral food chain takes two roads. Investigating "industrial organic," he assembles a meal composed entirely of ingredients from a Whole Foods supermarket. But he also visits a single, relatively small farm in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, where grass, not corn, is the basis of production, and cattle, chickens and pigs are raised through management of the natural ecosystem. Pollan joins in the farm work and is clearly impressed by what he learns, observes and eats here. In the final section, he learns how to shoot a wild pig and how to scavenge for forest mushrooms. The author's extraordinarily labor-intensive final meal provides a perfect contrast to thefast-food takeout of Part I. Pollan combines ecology, biology, history and anthropology with personal experience to present fascinating multiple perspectives. Revelations about how the way we eat affects the world we live in, presented with wit and elegance.

 


The Language of Food, Dan Jurafsky

 

Contents
 
Introduction
 
1. How to Read a Menu
2. Entrée
3. From Sikbâj to Fish and Chips
4. Ketchup, Cocktails, and Pirates
5. A Toast to Toast
6. Who Are You Calling a Turkey?
7. Sex, Drugs, and Sushi Rolls
8. Potato Chips and the Nature of the Self
9. Salad, Salsa, and the Flour of Chivalry
10. Macaroon, Macaron, Macaroni
11. Sherbet, Fireworks, and Mint Juleps
12. Does This Name Make Me Sound Fat? Why Ice Cream and Crackers Have Different Names
13. Why the Chinese Don't Have Dessert
   
  Epilogue
  Notes
  References
  Acknowledgements
  Image Credits
  Index

 

The Language of Food Blog

Stanford course

Daniel Jurafsky
Kim Steele for The New York Times

 Meet Daniel Jurafsky

Dan Jurafsky is the recipient of a MacArthur "Genius Grant" and a professor of linguistics at Stanford University. He and his wife live in San Francisco.

New York Times feature by Kate Murphy

 

Starting Spring 2015
The Language of Food:
A Linguist Reads The Menu
(NY: W. W. Norton, 2014),
by Dan Jurafsky, is currently available on-line for $17.04 new, Kindle for $12.99, and $16.30 used.

(+ p/h, and at amazon.com you get FREE Super Saver Shipping on some orders). (24 October 2014)

Other on-line and brick and mortar stores should have comparable offers.

Dan Jurafsky.
The Language of Food: A Linguist Reads The Menu
NY: W. W. Norton, 2014.
272 pages
ISBN-10: 0393240835
ISBN-13: 978-0393240832

From the Publisher

Stanford University linguist and MacArthur Fellow Dan Jurafsky dives into the hidden history of food.

Why do we eat toast for breakfast, and then toast to good health at dinner? What does the turkey we eat on Thanksgiving have to do with the country on the eastern Mediterranean? Can you figure out how much your dinner will cost by counting the words on the menu?

In The Language of Food, Stanford University professor and MacArthur Fellow Dan Jurafsky peels away the mysteries from the foods we think we know. Thirteen chapters evoke the joy and discovery of reading a menu dotted with the sharp-eyed annotations of a linguist.

Jurafsky points out the subtle meanings hidden in filler words like "rich" and "crispy," zeroes in on the metaphors and storytelling tropes we rely on in restaurant reviews, and charts a microuniverse of marketing language on the back of a bag of potato chips.

The fascinating journey through The Language of Food uncovers a global atlas of culinary influences. With Jurafsky's insight, words like ketchup, macaron, and even salad become living fossils that contain the patterns of early global exploration that predate our modern fusion-filled world.

From ancient recipes preserved in Sumerian song lyrics to colonial shipping routes that first connected East and West, Jurafsky paints a vibrant portrait of how our foods developed. A surprising history of culinary exchange—a sharing of ideas and culture as much as ingredients and flavors—lies just beneath the surface of our daily snacks, soups, and suppers.

Engaging and informed, Jurafsky's unique study illuminates an extraordinary network of language, history, and food. The menu is yours to enjoy.

Endorsements & Reviews

“Ever since I heard the phrase 'fresh frozen' I have been wondering about food language. Now Dan Jurafsky has taken on the subject with scholarship, wit, and charm, making The Language of Food a very engaging book.” — Mark Kurlansky, author of Cod

“Writing with knowledge and wit, Dan Jurafsky shows that the language of food reflects our desires and aspirations, whether it’s on a fancy French menu or a bag of potato chips.” — Bee Wilson, author of Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat

The Language of Food is excellent, a fascinating read from beginning to end. From pastas to pastries, you can't resist Dan Jurafsky's insights into what we say about food.” — Tyler Cowen, professor of economics, George Mason University, and author of Average is Over

“Dan Jurafksy hits the sweet spot of intellectual rigor and spoon-common interest in The Language of Food. Whether quoting from a menu item, "Dirty Girl Romano beans," or decoding the food vortex of Portlandia, Dan makes your tongue drop. The chapters on sherbet, toast, and potato chip packaging are too delicious—you'll be scanning the supermarket as Dan's new protégé. Two thumbs up, multiple hearts, five stars, and beaucoup butterflies!” — Susie Bright

“Mix equal parts fascinating history, surprising etymology, and brilliant linguistic analysis, add a generous dollop of humor, and savor The Language of Food. You'll never think of ketchup, French fries, fish and chips, or toast in the same way” — Deborah Tannen, author of the #1 bestseller You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation

“Delightful. The distinguished linguist Dan Jurafsky brings a battery of skills to reveal the far-flung links of many of our dishes, to reveal how potato chip advertisements work, and to give an insider’s guide to reading menus. I couldn’t put this book down.” — Rachel Laudan, author of Cuisine and Empire: Cooking in World History

“Why is the entrée served in the middle of the meal instead of when you 'enter' it? Why would anybody put a feather in their hat and call it macaroni? The Language of Food answers these questions and teaches so much more about a vast wing of our everyday vocabulary that we so seldom stop to think about.” — John McWhorter, Associate Professor of linguistics at Columbia University, contributing editor for The New Republic, and Time magazine columnist

 
The Meaning of Food.

Optional Recommended Companion to the Marcus Samuelsson Film Series that we will see:

The Meaning of Food: The Companion to the PBS Television Series Hosted by Marcus Samuelsson (Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot, 2005) is currently available online from about $9.18 new and $1.86 used. (+ p/h). (15 August 2014)
[This is also listed on Amazon.com for a muchhigher price. Be careful, if you use Amazon.com, to get on the correct page. See note below.)

The Meaning of Food is not available at the UMD Bookstore

NOTE: BE CAREFUL IF YOU ORDER THE MEANING OF CULTURE FROM AMAZON.COM AS THEY HAVE TWO LISTINGS FOR IT, AND THE PRICE ON ONE IS USUALLY MORE THAN TEN TIMES AS MUCH AS IT IS ON THE OTHER. THE PRICE SHOULD BE ABOUT WHAT IS LISTED ABOVE, NOT MORE.

Other on-line and brick and mortar stores should have comparable offers.

 

Patricia Harris, David Lyon, and Sue McLaughlin.

Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot, 2005.
176 pages
ISBN-10: 1615609210
ISBN-13: 978-1615609215

Description

"Tell me what you eat and I'll tell you who you are." --Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Every living thing needs food to survive, but for humans, food has a much deeper and more complex significance. This beautifully illustrated, thought-provoking book explores the role of food in our lives, going on location to thirteen ethnic communities across the United States and examining, through stories, pictures, and interviews with food experts, the many ways that food is an expression of our humanity. It parallels a three-part PBS series hosted by acclaimed New York chef Marcus Samuelsson.

From an Italian-American wedding in San Diego to a Mexican-American family's Christmastime tradition of making holiday tamales, The Meaning of Food delves into the ways that food binds us to family and culture. It looks in on a Jamai Shasthi ceremony, in which foods promoting fertility are fed to the sons-in-law of a Bengali family in California. It accompanies a woman to South Carolina's coastal lowlands as she explores her Geechee heritage, making red rice with a culinary historian. It enters the kitchen of an East Texas Czech family as they prepare for this year's kolache bake-off. It explains the anthropological significance behind these and other vignettes, revealing the importance of culinary tradition and celebrating our cultural diversity as expressed through food.

The Meaning of Food speaks for the revival of the kitchen and the table as centers of pleasure, culture, and community. With 15 recipes, including several developed by Marcus Samuelsson specifically for the series, and more than one hundred color photos, many of them captured from the series footage, it will be a wonderful addition to the library of anyone interested in food and culture.

"There is communion of much more than our bodies when bread is broken and wine is drunk."
-- M.F.K. Fisher

From the Back Cover

No matter who we are or where we live, our lives revolve around food. Much more than simple sustenance, food is part of our culture and our traditions. Everything about eating - including what we eat, how it tastes, who prepares it, and who's at the table - is a form of communication rich with meaning.
This beautifully illustrated, thought-provoking book explores the role of food in our lives. Paralleling a three-part PBS series hosted by acclaimed New York chef Marcus Samuelsson, The Meaning of Food goes on location to twenty ethnic communities across the United States and examines, through stories, pictures, and interviews, the many ways that food is an expression of our humanity. It shows how our attitudes, practices, and rituals around food reflect our most basic beliefs about our world and ourselves. Included in this book are the recipes from the television series and 200 color photographs, many of them captured from the series footage.
From an Italian-American wedding in San Diego, to a Mexican-American family's Christmastime tradition of making tamales, to a South Carolina woman's exploration of her Geechee heritage, The Meaning of Food sheds light on who we are as Americans.
"We do not sit at the table only to eat, but to eat together."

-- Plutarch

 

The following chapters and articles are available on-line



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