What We’re Reading: April 5, 2014

soda Flickr/boroda

This week’s readings provide a glimpse into our editors’ special interests: Caroline Lange shares her fondness for recipes written as narrative and for personal histories attached to food; Marissa Finn explains her inclination towards food politics and her opinions on Bloomberg’s soda ban.

Caroline Lange: Vibration Cooking or, the Travel Notes of a Geechee Girl — Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor
This is one of the best books I’d never heard of until it was assigned to me in a class. It has a cult following and has had three reprints, the most recent of which was in 2011. Part history, part memoir and part cookbook, Vibration Cooking is the personal culinary history of Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor, who calls herself a culinary griot, or storyteller. That’s her in the video above discussing what soul food is: “It’s how you can put your soul in the pot,” she says. And in Vibration Cooking, she writes, “People who eat food with pleasure and get pleasure from the different stirring of the sense that a well-prepared food experience can bring are my kind of people… Some people got such bad vibrations that to eat with them would give you indigestion.”

Marissa Finn: Decline in Soft Drink Sales Accelerates Despite Big Marketing Investments – Advertising Age
Every time I tell someone I’m pursuing a Master’s in Food Studies, the inevitable conversation ensues. “Oh, so nutrition?” “No.” “Oh, so, like — culinary?” “No.” “So what do you actually study?” And then I explain, yet again, that I have a particular interest in food politics. Things like school lunch and the soda ban, I say. More often than not, I receive the inevitable fourth question. “So what do you think of the soda ban?” This gives me the opportunity to shamelessly plug my hatred towards big food, my positive view of Bloomberg, and my desire to limit soda consumption by taxing, capping, or doing whatever the hell else would get the job done. So every time an article like this one comes out, I get crazy excited about some progress. We’re not there yet, but at least we’re inching forward.

Feature photo: Flickr/boroda

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