Readings

[B] = Bowen, Sarah, Joslyn Brenton, and Sinikka Elliott. Pressure Cooker: Why Home Cooking Won’t Solve Our Problems and What We Can Do About It. Oxford University Press, 2019. ISBN: 9780190663292.

[C] = Chen, Nancy N. Food, Medicine, and the Quest for Good Health. Columbia University Press, 2008. ISBN: 9780231508919. 

[G] = Gewertz, Deborah, and Frederick Errington. Cheap Meat: Flap Food Nations in the Pacific Islands. University of California Press, 2010. ISBN: 9780520260931. 

[K] = Korsmeyer, Carolyn, ed. The Taste Culture Reader: Experiencing Food and Drink. Berg Publishers, 2005. ISBN: 9781845200619.

LEC # TOPICS READINGS

1

Introduction to food, culture, and politics

Read:

Mull, Amanda. “ Instagram Food is a Sad, Sparkly Lie.” Eater, July 6, 2017.

Brillat-Savarin, Jean Anthelme. “Aphorisms of the Professor.” In The Physiology of Taste; Or, Meditations on Transcendental Gastronomy. Translated by M.F.K. Fisher. Everyman’s Library, 2009. ISBN: 9780307269720. [Preview with Google Books]

View:

Central Coast Spotlight: Farm Workers.” YouTube. 

Part 1: Foundations

2

Food paradoxes and dilemmas in the US

[B] Chapter 3: Deep Roots.

Pollan, Michael. “ Our National Eating Disorder,” New York Times Magazine, October 17, 2004.

Albriton, Robert. “Between Obesity and Hunger: The Capitalist Food Industry.” Chapter 24 in Food and Culture: A Reader. 3rd ed. Edited by Carole Counihan and Penny Van Esterik. Routledge, 2012. ISBN: 9780415521048.

Poppendieck, Janet. “Want Amid Plenty: From Hunger to Inequality.” Chapter 38 in Food and Culture: A Reader. 3rd ed. Edited by Carole Counihan and Penny Van Esterik. Routledge, 2012. ISBN: 9780415521048.

Fisher, M.F.K. “How to Distribute Your Virtue.” In The Art of Eating: 50th Anniversary Edition. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2004. ISBN: 9780764542619. 

3

Food and power in the global arena

[G] Introduction: What’s Not on Our Plates. [Preview with Google Books]

[G] Chapter 1: Thinking About Meat. [Preview with Google Books]

[G] Chapter 2: Making Flaps. 

Mintz, Sidney W. “Food and its Relationship to Concepts of Power.” Chapter 2 in Tasting Food, Tasting Freedom: Excursions into Eating, Culture, and the Past. Beacon Press, 1997. ISBN: 9780807046296. [Preview with Google Books]

4

Waste amidst plenty

[G] Chapter 3: Treading Meat. 

[G] Chapter 4: Papua New Guinea’s Flaps. 

[G] Chapter 5: Smiles and Shrugs, Worried Eyes and Sighs. 

Lindeman, Scarlett. “ Trash Eaters.” Gastronomica 12, no. 1 (2012): 75–82.

5

Cheap meat and expensive fish

[G] Chapter 6: Pacific Island Flaps.

Bestor, Theodore C. “ How Sushi Went Global.” Foreign Policy, November 19, 2009.

Part 2: What Makes Food Good?

6

Good food is culinarily authentic

[B] Chapter 6: Taking the Time. [Preview with Google Books]

Wilk, Richard R. “ ‘Real Belizean Food’: Building Local Identity in the Transnational Caribbean.” American Anthropologist 101, no. 2 (1999): 244–55.

Wynne, Lauren A. “ ‘I Hate It’: Tortilla-Making, Class and Women’s Tastes in Rural Yucatán, Mexico.” Food, Culture & Society 18, no. 3 (2015): 379–97.

7

Good food is culturally authentic

Dash, Julie. “Rice Culture.” In Through the Kitchen Window: Women Explore the Intimate Meanings of Food and Cooking. Edited by Arlene Voski Avakian. Berg Publishers, 2006. ISBN: 9781845203252.

Beoku-Betts, Josephine. “‘We Got Our Way of Cooking Things’: Women, Food, and Preservation of Cultural Identity Among the Gullah.” Chapter 21 in Food in the USA: A Reader. Edited by Carole Counihan. Routledge, 2002. ISBN: 9780415932325. 

Explore:

The United States of Thanksgiving,” New York Times, November 18, 2014.

The Upshot Staff. “ The Thanksgiving Recipes Googled in Every State,” New York Times, November 25, 2014.

Severson, Kim. “ Finding a Lost Strain of Rice, and Clues to Slave Cooking,” New York Times, February 13, 2018.

8

Good food is convenient

[B] Chapter 7: Finding Balance.

Caplan, Pat. “‘Is it Real Food?’ Who Benefits from Globalization in Tanzania and India?” Chapter 15 in The Globalization of Food. Edited by David Inglis and Debra Gimlin. Berg Publishers, 2009. ISBN: 9781845208202.

Srinivas, Tulasi. “ ‘As Mother Made It’: The Cosmopolitan Indian Family, ‘Authentic’ Food, and the Construction of Cultural Utopia.” International Journal of Sociology of the Family 32, no. 2 (2006): 191–221.

Bowen, Sarah, Sinikka Elliott, and Joslyn Brenton. “ The Joy of Cooking?Contexts 13, no. 3 (2014): 20–25. 

9

Good food tastes good

[K] Peynaud, Emile. Chapter 26: Tasting Problems and Errors of Perception.

 Brillat-Savarin, Jean Anthelme. “Meditation I: On the Senses.” In The Physiology of Taste; Or, Meditations on Transcendental Gastronomy. Everyman’s Library, 2009. Translated by M.F.K. Fisher. ISBN: 9780307269720. [Preview with Google Books]

 ———. “Meditation 2: On Taste.” In The Physiology of Taste; Or, Meditations on Transcendental Gastronomy. Everyman’s Library, 2009. Translated by M.F.K. Fisher. ISBN: 9780307269720. [Preview with Google Books]

Shapin, Steven.  “ Hedonistic Fruit Bombs.” London Review of Books 27, no. 3 (2005).

 Bourdieu, Pierre. “Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste.” Chapter 3 in Food and Culture: A Reader. 3rd ed. Edited by Carole Counihan and Penny Van Esterik. Routledge, 2012. ISBN: 9780415521048. [Preview with Google Books]

Terrio, Susan J. “ Crafting Grand Cru Chocolates in Contemporary France.” American Anthropologist 98, no. 1 (1996): 67–79.

Kummer, Corby. “ Ice Cream for Beginners.” The Atlantic, June 2000.

10

Good food feeds relationships

Meigs, Anna. “Food as a Cultural Construction.” Chapter 8 in Food and Culture: A Reader. 1st ed. Edited by Carole Counihan and Penny Van Esterik. Routledge, 1997. ISBN: 9780415917100. 

Markens, Susan, C.H. Browner, and Nancy Press. “ Feeding the Fetus: On Interrogating the Notion of Maternal-Fetal Conflict.” Feminist Studies 23, no. 2 (1997): 351–72.

11

Good food is symbolically pure

Douglas, Mary. “Deciphering a Meal.” Chapter 18 in Implicit Meanings. Routledge, 2010. ISBN: 9780415606738. 

Gillette, Maris Boyd. “Children’s Food and Islamic Dietary Restrictions in Xi’an.” Chapter 3 in Feeding China’s Little Emperors: Food, Children, and Social Change. Edited by Jun Jing. Stanford University Press, 2000. ISBN: 9780804731348. [Preview with Google Books]

 “Appendix to Chapter 3: Food Diary of Peng, An Eleven-Year-Old Hui Boy, June 7–14, 1997.” In Feeding China’s Little Emperors: Food, Children, and Social Change. Edited by Jun Jing. Stanford University Press, 2000. ISBN: 9780804731348. 

12

In-class writing workshop with Karen Pepper, lecturer, MIT Comparative Media Studies / Writing

No readings assigned.

13

Good food reminds you of your mother (or homeland or childhood)

[B] Chapter 9: Spaghetti for an Army. 

[K] Proust, Marcel. Chapter 28: The Madeleine. 

[K] Seremetakis, C. Nadia. Chapter 29: The Breast of Aphrodite.

Fisher, M.F.K. The Gastronomical Me. North Point Press, 1989, pp. 3–35. ISBN: 9780865473928. [Preview with Google Books]

Sutton, David. “ Whole Foods: Revitalization through Everyday Synesthetic Experience.” Anthropology and Humanism 25, no. 2 (2000): 120–30.

 De Silva, Cara, ed. “Introduction.” In In Memory’s Kitchen: A Legacy from the Women of Terezín. Translated by Bianca Steiner Brown. Jason Aronson, Inc., 1996. ISBN: 9781568219028.

 ———. “Recipes.” In In Memory’s Kitchen: A Legacy from the Women of Terezín. Translated by Bianca Steiner Brown. Jason Aronson, Inc., 1996. ISBN: 9781568219028. [Read pp. 3–13.] [Preview with Google Books]

Optional:

Holtzman, Jon. “ Remembering Bad Cooks: Sensuality, Memory, Personhood.” Senses & Society 5, no. 2 (2010): 235–43.

Nierenberg, Amelia. “ For Many Widows, the Hardest Part Is Mealtime,” New York Times, October 28, 2019.

14

On gastropolitics

[B] Chapter 11: Where’s the Gravy?

Appadurai, Arjun. “ Gastro-Politics in Hindu South Asia.” American Ethnologist 8, no. 3 (1981): 494–511.

Counihan, Carole. “Food Rules in the United States: Individualism, Control, and Hierarchy.” Chapter 7 in The Anthropology of Food and Body: Gender, Meaning and Power. Routledge, 1999. ISBN: 9780415921930. 

Supplemental:

Murphy, Kate.  “ I Love You, but You Love Meat,” New York Times, February 13, 2008.

15

Good food is nutritional

Scrinis, Gyorgy. “ On the Ideology of Nutritionism.” Gastronomica 8, no. 1 (2008): 39–48.

Nestle, Marion. “Politics Versus Science: Opposing the Food Pyramid, 1991–1992.” Chapter 2 in Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health. University of California Press, 2003. ISBN: 9780520240674. [Preview with Google Books]

Yates-Doerr, Emily. “ The Opacity of Reduction: Nutritional Black-Boxing and the Meanings of Nourishment.” Food, Culture & Society 15, no. 2 (2012): 293–313.

Rhinehart, Rob. “ How I Stopped Eating Food.” Mostly Harmless. February 13, 2013.

Gálvez, Alysha, and Nicholas Freudenberg. “ How NAFTA Got Mexicans Hooked on U.S. Junk Food,” Dallas Morning News, May 1, 2017.

Martin, Andrew. “ Government’s Dietary Advice: Eat Less,” New York Times, January 31, 2011.

16

Good food is (engineered to taste) real

Josephson, Paul. “ The Ocean’s Hot Dog: The Development of the Fish Stick.” Technology and Culture 49, no. 1 (2008): 41–61. 

Khatchadourian, Raffi. “ The Taste Makers: The Secret World of the Flavor Factory.” New Yorker, November 23, 2009.

Friend, Tad. “ Can a Burger Help Solve Climate Change?” New Yorker, September 30, 2009.

17

Good food is appreciated, not appropriated

Read:

Fajans, Jane. “Açai: From the Amazon to the World.” Chapter 4 in Brazilian Food: Race, Class and Identity in Regional Cuisines. Berg Publishers, 2012. ISBN: 9780857850423. [Preview with Google Books

Van Esterik, Penny. “From Hunger Foods to Heritage Foods: Challenges to Food Localization in Lao PDR.” Chapter 6 in Fast Food/Slow Food: The Cultural Economy of the Global Food System. Edited by Richard Wilk. Altamira Press, 2006. ISBN: 9780759109155. [Preview with Google Books]

Listen to podcast:

What’s the Cost of Quinoa?” SAPIENS. December 4, 2018.

View:

Excerpts from “ Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations.”

18

Good food is medicinal

Guest lecture: Alex Rewegan, MIT-HASTS

[C] Introduction: Rethinking Food and Medicine. [Preview with Google Books]

[C] Chapter 1: Healing Foods and Longevity. 

[C] Chapter 3: Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods. 

[C] Conclusion: Eating and Medicating.

Adelman, Juliana and Lisa Haushofer. “ Introduction: Food as Medicine, Medicine as Food.” Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 73, no. 2 (2018): 127–34.

Harbers, Hans, Annemarie Mol, and Alice Stollmeyer. “ Food Matters.” Theory, Culture & Society 19, no. 5–6 (2002): 207–26.

Coates, Karen.  “ Food is Health.” SAPIENS. January 28, 2016.

Sismondo, Christine. “ Flavonoids are the Next Big Thing in Marijuana Research,” The Star, July 23, 2019.

19

Any food is good food if you’re hungry

Chao, Sharon. “ One in 10 MIT Undergrads Can’t Afford Food, Survey Finds,” The Tech, October 12, 2017.

 Fitchen, Janet M. “Hunger, Malnutrition and Poverty: Some Observations on Their Social and Cultural Context.” Chapter 27 in Food and Culture: A Reader. 1st ed. Edited by Carole Counihan and Penny Van Esterik. Routledge, 1997. ISBN: 9780415917100. 

Cate, Sandra. “ ‘Breaking Bread with a Spread’ in a San Francisco County Jail.” Gastronomica 8, no. 3 (2008): 17–24.

Clapp, Jennifer. “ The Political Economy of Food Aid in an Era of Agricultural Biotechnology.” Global Governance 11, no. 4 (2005): 467–85.

20

Good food is just

Read:

Mares, Teresa M. “More than Money: Extending the Meanings and Methodologies of Farmworker Food Security.” Chapter 2 in Life on the Other Border: Farmworkers and Food Justice in Vermont. University of California Press, 2019. ISBN: 9780520295735. [Preview with Google Books]

———. “Cultivating Food Sovereignty Where There Are Few Choices.” Chapter 3 in Life on the Other Border: Farmworkers and Food Justice in Vermont. University of California Press, 2019. ISBN: 9780520295735. [Preview with Google Books]

Pogash, Carol. “ Free Lunch Isn’t Cool, So Some Students Go Hungry,” New York Times, March 1, 2008.

Bowen, Sarah, Sinikka Elliott, and Annie Hardison-Moody. “ A Heartbreaking Choice for Moms: Food or a Family’s Future,” New York Times, August 21, 2019

Fadulu, Lola. “ Trump Administration Unveils More Cuts to Food Stamp Program,” New York Times, October 4, 2019.

———. “ Trump Administration Delays Cuts to Food Stamps and School Meals,” New York Times, October 16, 2019.

Healy, Jack. “ Farm Country Feeds America. But Just Try Buying Groceries There,” New York Times, November 15, 2019.

Ramchandani, Ariel. “ There’s a Sexual-Harassment Epidemic on America’s Farms.” The Atlantic, January 29, 2018.

Edgar, Chelsea. “ Who Wants to Work on a Vermont Dairy Farm? A Reporter Spent a Week Finding Out,” Seven Days, March 13, 2019.

Food Security in the U.S.” United States Department of Agriculture.

Brown, H. Claire, and Joe Fassler. “ Prison Food is Making U.S. Inmates Disproportionately Sick.” The Counter. January 3, 2018.

View:

Food Rebel: Mateo Kehler.” PBS.

Part 3: Food Futures

21

Good food is sense-ible/able

Wurgaft, Benjamin Aldes. “ Biotech Cockaigne of the Vegan Hopeful.” Hedgehog Review 21.1, Spring 2019.

Goodyear, Dana. “ Grub: Eating Bugs to Save the Planet.” New Yorker, August 15 & 22, 2011.

Yates-Doerr, Emily. “ The World in a Box? Food Security, Edible Insects, and ‘One World, One Health’ Collaboration.” Social Science & Medicine 129 (2015): 106–12.

22

How good is the future of agriculture?

Kite-Powell, Jennifer. “ Why Precision Agriculture Will Change How Food Is Produced.” Forbes, April 30, 2018.

Sytsma, Alan. “ What Will Dinner Look Like in 2029? Ten Chefs Cook Their Vision of the Future.” New York, November 14, 2019.

García, María Elena. “ Super Guinea Pigs?Anthropology Now 2, no. 2 (2010): 22-32.

Bland, Alastair. “ From Pets To Plates: Why More People Are Eating Guinea Pigs.” NPR. April 2, 2013.

Maher-Johnson, Louise Elizabeth, and Ayana Elizabeth Johnson. “ Broccoli Is Dying. Corn Is Toxic. Long Live Microbiomes!Scientific American, August 20, 2019.

23

Guest lecture: Andrea McClave, MIT Integrated Design & Management, on developing an MIT food map app

“MIT Food Insecurity Solutions Working Group Report” (PDF) 2018.

“MIT Food & Sustainability Working Group Report” (PDF - 5.7MB) 2018.

24

Thanksgiving

 Siskind, Janet. “The Invention of Thanksgiving: A Ritual of American Nationality.” Chapter 5 in Food in the USA: A Reader. Edited by Carole Counihan. Routledge, 2002. ISBN: 9780415932325. 

25

Good food sustains us

[B] Chapter 28: Conclusions: Thinking Outside the Kitchen.

Jung, Yuson. “ (Re)Establishing the Normal.” Gastronomica 14, no. 4 (2014): 52–59.

Williams-Forson, Psyche. “ ‘I Haven’t Eaten If I Don’t Have My Soup and Fufu’: Cultural Preservation through Food and Foodways among Ghanaian Migrants in the United States.” Africa Today 61, no. 1 (2014): 69–87.

Loh, Penn, and Julian Agyeman. “Boston’s Emerging Food Solidarity Economy.” Chapter 11 in The New Food Activism: Opposition, Cooperation, and Collective Action. Edited by Alison Hope Alkon and Julie Guthman. University of California Press, 2017. ISBN: 9780520292147. 

“Food for Free Annual Report 2019” (PDF - 2.8MB)

26

Final paper panel presentations

No readings assigned.

27

Potluck and final paper panel presentations

No readings assigned.

Additional Readings

In The News

Severson, Kim. “ Hey, Look! Nonna and Her Pasta Are on YouTube,” New York Times, October 14, 2019.

Santo, Alysia, and Lisa Iaboni. “ What’s in a Prison Meal?” The Marshall Project. July 7, 2015.

Levine, Susan, and Jenny Rogers. “ What’s for Lunch?,” Washington Post, October 28, 2019.

Westcott, Ben, and Nanlin Fang. “ China Perfected Fake Meat Centuries before the Impossible Burger.” CNN. November 4, 2019.

Sean Sherman’s 10 Essential Native American Recipes,” New York Times, November 4, 2019.

Wilson, Bee. “ The Instant Pot Understands the History of Women’s Labor in the Kitchen.” Bustle, October 29, 2019.

Mishan, Ligaya. “ On Hawaii, the Fight for Taro’s Revival,” New York Times Style Magazine, November 8, 2019.

Anderson, Brett. “ Gulf Oysters Are Dying, Putting a Southern Tradition at Risk,” New York Times, November 12, 2019.

Fenson, Zoe. “ It’s So Much More than Cooking.” The Week, October 2, 2019.

Dickson, Courtney. “ The Fruit of 22 Years’ Labour: Highly Anticipated Cosmic Crisp Apple Set for Launch.” CBC. November 2, 2019.

Course Info

Learning Resource Types

assignment_turned_in Written Assignments with Examples