Towards the end of the twentieth century the World Health Organization declared “obesity” a global epidemic. From 2001 onwards the term “globesity” came into use. “Globesity” is understood as a globally observable consequence of the spread of new “lifestyles” common in industrialized countries characterized by increased consumption of high-energy, industrially processed foodstuffs and low physical activity. According to this thesis, more and more people in the global North and increasingly also in the global South are “overweight” and suffer from “obesity,” measured by using the BMI. As “obesity” is classified as a risk factor for chronic, non-communicable diseases, “globesity” has been declared a public health crisis that threatens global society due to high healthcare costs and decreasing productivity. More recently,…

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SLOW FOOD is an organization that was founded in the Italian region Piedmont in 1986 by the left activist and sociologist Carlo Petrini. It has developed from a small cultural association into an international brand that combines entrepreneurial structures with a global vision of ‘better’ food. As this post will argue, its history also highlights the cultural-political contradictions of Italy’s bourgeois left. An important event that is frequently mentioned as the symbolic founding act of SLOW FOOD is the so-called “Battle of the Piazza di Spagna” on March 20, 1986, when people were rallying against the opening of Italy’s first McDonald’s restaurant at the Piazza di Spagna, the most prestigious address in Rome. Next to Petrini, protestors included Italian high…

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In Moschino’s Spring/Summer 2020 collection, designer Jeremy Scott had models walk down the runway in lavish, multi-layered cakes and petit-fours. Inspired by Marie Antoinette, The New York Times took up the phrase ‘Let them wear cake!’ and quoted Scott’s concerns about “how stretched and tenuous the idea of democracy has become.” He explained that our times reminded him of pre-revolutionary France, with all its decadence and excessive wastefulness. In order to raise questions about privilege, elites and the distribution of wealth, Scott turned to food. Since the dresses were made of simulations of real cakes and were not edible, his invocation of food to make a point, however, pales in comparison with an outfit that is as memorable as it is provocative:  Lady Gaga’s meat…

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Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in the United States in the early months of 2020, national media outlets have featured photos of lines of cars outside food banks in cities across the country. Such images serve as a shocking reminder that, yes, hunger exists in America. In this piece, I highlight how drastic changes in American food programs in the 1970s shaped contemporary food welfare policies. Enacting a politics of austerity, presidents and politicians began to place limits around food welfare spending within government, opening the door for a more far-reaching politics of disentitlement in the 1980s. These changes created lasting legacies that impact our relationship to hunger in America today, including normalizing the reliance of millions of Americans on…

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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…

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