I attempt to sort out the entangled subjects of writing and potatoes. I analyze a clip of writer Steven Johnson talking with Kerri Miller about how potatoes were at the center of a turning point in writer Michael Pollan’s career. Pollan greatly influenced Johnson and his book The Botany of Desire, which devotes a chapter to potatoes, changed not only the way we look at food in America, but also the way we see ourselves as food writers. I draw on the new materialism of Karen Barad to help theorize methods of tracing entanglements practiced by many contemporary popular and academic writers. Read the show notes for more information.
To understand the rhetoric around Chipotle’s outbreaks of foodborne illness, you have to unwrap the whole burrito. “Episode 077: The Whole Burrito: Chipotle, Micro(be)politics, Sick Days, and Social Justice” So many of you know that I wrote a dissertation that looked at—among other food issues—the history of the burrito and Chipotle Mexican Grill’s use of […]
I return after a bit of a hiatus to talk about the way we talk about barbecue. I do a rhetorical analysis of Christopher Kimball’s conversation with pitmaster Aaron Franklin to uncover the nuances in expressions of expertise in a topic with a lot of ambiguity.
Cooking is not always the hard part of cooking. Sometimes getting your mind right is the hardest part. Getting your space right can be the hardest part. Getting to a state of mind where you can see such work as a joy can be difficult. But if you have negotiated with those around you to be the cook or share the cooking responsibilities, mise en place can help.
I spent the better part of a day making sweet potato crêpes so that my CSA sweet potatoes didn’t go to waste. I often ask myself on days like these if I wouldn’t have been better off, say, chucking the potatoes in the freezer, buying some store bought crêpes and playing with my son for a couple hours.
Why would the Nixon administration and the Chinese government put so much emphasis on food during Nixon’s Historic trip to China? Well, a newspaper article from the time alludes to the fact that President Johnson signed an immigration reform bill that outlawed quotas in 1965. This changed the demographics on the East Coast and the West Coast. So the U.S. was getting an influx of Chinese immigrants and China was again becoming a major trading partner with the U.S. So the governments of both countries needed to build goodwill among citizens. They needed to get everyone on board to smooth out the cultural exchange that was about to take place. For decades before this, Americans did not see much of Chinese culture coming into the U.S. and diplomatic relations between the two countries were kind of strained. So images broadcast from the Nixon trip signaled the emergence of new lines of communication that were lubricated with food and drink.