Apr 052010

GastronomicaEditor in Chief Darra Goldstein swept into town the other night to celebrate 10 years of Gastronomica magazine, her quarterly food writing journal about “sensual and intellectual nourishment.” She founded the publication in her copious spare time as a professor of Russian at Williams College. (Read about submission policy here.)

I saw her in a wide-ranging conversation on food, culture, and identity at UC Berkeley with sociology professor Barry Glassner, author of The Gospel of Food: Why We Should Stop Worrying and Enjoy What We Eat.

The multiple award-winning Goldstein, who lived in Russia, studied in Helsinki and is the author of four cookbooks, began the conversation discussing Culinary Cultures of Europe, a book she edited where writers from 45 countries laid out views on how food could be used to encourage tolerance and diversity.

Oh, how wonderful to leave my office and computer for a few Continue reading »

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Mar 292010

2009-08-27-JustFoodI like a little controversy and contention. It makes the comments on this blog more interesting. James E. McWillams, author of Just Food: Where Locavores Get it Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly, has the same idea.

A historian and former fellow in the Agrarian Studies Program at Yale University, McWilliams argues that the concept of food miles (how far food travels to get to your supermarket shelves)  is flawed and makes little progress toward the ultimate goal of sustainable production. Read his New York Times Op-Ed piece for a sample of his thinking.

Those are fighting words here in the politically-correct San Francisco Bay Area. But in the book, he argues “there’s a complex story to tell about food and the distance it travels,” and he delves into his research with gusto.

McWillliams also explains why organic food is not Continue reading »

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