history

Looking for meaning in food

A recent documentary by Stefan Gates, Calf’s Head and Coffee, fell short of offering the ‘big idea’ it claimed, but it did illustrate the strange desire to find our cultural roots in food.

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Calories and Corsets: why dieting never went out style

From vomiting and food abstention to mastication and ‘reducing salons’, Louise Foxcroft’s history of dieting shows that weight-loss regimes have a long, weird and unhealthy history.

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Falling fowl of the food snobs

Bernard Matthews became a culinary Antichrist for the chattering classes who never shop anywhere but Waitrose.

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In praise of fast food

The excellent Rachel Laudan gives a historian’s perspective on the issue of food culture, noting that things we regard as ‘traditional’ cuisine in different parts of the world were often either (a) very modern - like baguettes or moussaka - or (b) only the preserve of the rich. This blog post provides a small gold mine on the notion that fast food might actually be good food, or at least not the crime against humanity many modern foodies suggest it is.

Fast Food Better Food. Idea of the Day in the New York Times, Rachel Laudan

Americans have been getting fatter for a long time

This is interesting, even if I think it draws the wrong conclusion. What it does show is that people have been getting fatter for pretty much the whole 20th century and that the fattest people have been getting fatter much faster than the thinnest people, suggesting an inherent propensity to gain weight is at work.

The evolution of BMI values of US adults: 1882-1986,

Don’t bring back the Ministry of Food

Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall (yes, Hugh’s mum) has written an interesting history of food rationing during the Second World War. But bizarrely, she is nostalgic for that period.

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A foodie’s guide to the history of humanity

Tom Standage’s fascinating new book reveals how central were the production, transportation and consumption of food to the creation of human societies and human progress.

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About Panic on a Plate

Once we worried about getting enough food. Now we seem to fret about having too much food, or about what food might do to us and the planet. This website is designed to be an antidote to food fears.

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Panic on a Plate: How Society Developed An Eating Disorder is published by Societas. Buy the book from Amazon (UK) here.

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Debating poverty and malnutrition

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