The recent Berlin Deutsches Historisches Museum exhibition on “1945: Niederlage, Befreiung, Neuanfang. Zwölf Länder Europas nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg,” features two artifacts having to do with food. One is a bag of flour from UNRRA (United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration) and the other is a CARE package containing, among other things, two cans of powdered milk. Both artifacts are meant to illustrate the state of hunger in Europe at the war’s end and the emergency relief measures aimed at getting food into the most challenged regions. What the exhibit does not suggest, however, is the longer-term consequence of post-war food relief, particularly the creation of an international food aid system administered by private agencies but based on public resources…

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Visiting an Asian fast food restaurant one usually doesn’t need to ask for a knife and fork. While some people readily use the western-style cutlery provided, others insist on using chopsticks. Why is that so? Varying degrees of proficiency in handling different eating tools certainly is one reason, but there is more to it. Personally I opt for chopsticks because I like to see myself as a cosmopolitan person, respectful of the traditions of other countries and well versed in their customs. Moreover, I take a certain pride in being able to use chopsticks “like the natives” and remember, for example, being quite pleased when a Japanese friend of mine remarked how skillfully I was handling my chopsticks. Image courtesy…

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