In 1928, the Dole Hawaiian Pineapple Company published an advertisement of a pineapple cannery that declared in bold, black letters: “The Perfect Servant Lives in Honolulu.” This advertisement was not referring to a perfect factory worker, but the perfect canning machine: the groundbreaking Ginaca invented by engineer Henry Gabriel Ginaca, which profoundly advanced the pineapple canning process in the early twentieth century. The 1928 advertisement showed an aerial view of the Ginaca machines, with pineapples descending down long, slender conveyor belts. Inside the Ginacas were tubular slicing knives that could cut and can as many as 100,000 pineapples a day. Eventually, the Ginaca not only cored, peeled, and sliced the fruit into neat squares, but also sized it to fit…

» Read More

At the age of sixteen, Benjamin Franklin, the first dreamer of the American Dream, turned vegetarian after he had read one of Thomas Tyron’s books, probably his masterwork The Way to Health that was first published in 1683. Tyron, an English vegetarian, moralist, and author of many self-help books and pamphlets, had convinced Franklin of the many benefits of a “vegetable diet,” and so the latter, according to his autobiography, made himself familiar with the preparation of vegetarian dishes. In going vegetarian, Franklin was not primarily motivated by health issues. Rather, he found that doing without meat would help him save half of the wages he earned as an apprentice in his brother’s print shop. “This was an additional fund…

» Read More

Food and eating are everywhere: in the blogosphere, in bookstores, on TV and streaming platforms, in social media such as Instagram. Nearly all newspapers, large and small, have cooking sections or extra food editions, and the portion of food-related print magazines has expanded hugely over the last years. The “foodie” has even become a characteristic social figure of our time, much like the “flaneur” of the emerging urban metropoles of modern society at the turn of the 19th century, or the “nerd” as the prototype of the emerging digital revolution during the 2000s. What does the “foodie,” then, stand for? Is it a coincidence that we seem to be somewhat obsessed with food, eating, and cooking? I don’t think so.…

» Read More

Just as the field of food history has achieved prominence in recent years it is true to say the same of popular interest in Native foods. Around the country, Native heirloom crops frequently show up at farmers’ markets. Interested consumers can even purchase produce in the form of a monthly TSA (“Tribally Supported Agriculture”) share. Gardeners across the world can order seeds to grow Ute squash or Cherokee “Trail of Tears” pole beans to plant in their backyards. In southern Arizona, O’odham farmers are raising tepary beans, sixty-day corn, and harvesting ciollim buds, all of which you can purchase online. Almost any grocer in the United States, from the grungiest co-op to the swankiest supermarket, stocks their shelves with ancient…

» Read More

Low-carb diets have long ago become a fixture in the diet scene. Their high-protein meal plans often rely heavily on meat (although there are also attempts to adapt them for vegetarians, and the label “meat diet” is scorned by some low-carbers). Other approaches go even further and promote the idea of completely eliminating carbohydrates from the human diet. Living a “no-carb” or “zero-carb” lifestyle entails not only avoiding the usual “carb bombs” (grains, potatoes, rice, sugar) but also all kinds of vegetables, fruit, most dairy products – in short, almost everything except for meat (including fish), water and, for some “no-carbers” at least, eggs, heavy whipped cream and a little hard cheese. But many of them stick to just meat…

» Read More