resources for thinking about food

The most interesting and useful (mostly electronic) resources for thinking about food & foodways.

Foodmap. Recipes as maps, diagrams, & networks. This is the coolest website in the history of the internet. There, I said it. You can type in a recipe and it will tell you were the ingredients were first cultivated, among other exciting things. I love this website.

What’s on the menu? This gem is maintained by the New York Public Library. You can search thousands of menus and they’ve crowd-sourced transcription and geo-tagging, too. I found a handful of fantastic historical Egyptian menus on this site, including one for a banquet at the khedival court at the turn of the 20th century.

The Flavor Connection at Scientific American. It’s a flavor map. I won’t try to explain it; you have to just go look (and play).

Cook’s Oracle. A database of cookbooks, under construction by Barbara Wheaton (whom I met last summer at the Oxford Symposium on Food & Cookery – see below). Not online (that I know of, at least not yet) but one to watch.

Gernot Katzer’s Spice Pages. Wonderful database on over 100 spices, including their names in multiple languages, scientific names, place they were originally cultivated, what their various uses are, and more.

Gastropod. A podcast that looks at food through the lens of science and history. All my friends will tell you I’m podcast-challenged, but I listen to this one! See also: Edible Geography, quirky and fascinating blog run by the podcast’s co-host Nicola Twilley.

Afroculinaria. Michael W. Twitty’s brilliant research and commentary on African and African diaspora foodways (with Jewish and queer politics mixed in for good measure).

The Rhythm of Food. Visualizing how we search for food online. Using Google to track new forms of seasonality, complete with stunning visuals.

The Southern Foodways Alliance. There’s a lot of talk about using food as a way to start conversations about social justice or hard truths, but the Southern Foodways Alliance is actually doing it through its research about food in the American South.

Rachel Laudan’s blog. Rachel Laudan is a food historian whose work never ceases to challenge and shape the way I think about food systems, cooking, and eating.

Racist Sandwich. This podcast explores the intersections of race, class, gender, and food. Food is one of the best ways to start talking about intersectionality and the hosts of this podcast are doing exactly that.

The work of Emilie Baltz. She describes herself as “an experiential artist, director & educator with a focus on food and sensory storytelling. I create playful and unconventional work that moves people to discover new worlds one lick, suck, bite, sniff and gulp at a time.” I love reading about/viewing her work online.

Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party. If you can’t make it to Brooklyn to see it, the website offers a peek into this iconic work of feminist art.

Petit Propos Culinaires. This delightful and slightly eccentric journal (which is only available in print and I’m telling you is worth subscribing to!) has short, pithy, academic essays about sometimes obscure and often charming aspects of the history of cookery.

Nordic Food Lab. Very cool site that’s hard to describe, so I’ll leave it to them: “Nordic Food Lab is a non-profit, open-source organisation that investigates food diversity and deliciousness. Established in 2008, we combine scientific and humanistic approaches with culinary techniques from around the world to explore the edible potential of the Nordic region – the flavours that say something about us and imbue the foods we eat with a connection to this place and this time. We work to broaden our taste, generating and adapting practical ideas and methods for those who make food and those who enjoy eating.”

The Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery. The original food studies community; their annual conference is a legit symposium with lots of incredible food and excellent wine. The American Friends of the Symposium generously funded my research and attendance at the conference last summer and let’s just say I hope to be a regular attendee. The website is worth checking out in particular because many of the published proceedings of past conferences are available to download as pdfs.

Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition blog. An excellent blog, frequently updated, with all kinds of info, from links to what you should be reading about to interviews about food studies pedagogy.

Association for the Study of Food and Society. The primary North American academic association for (you guessed it) the study of food and society. The journal (which is behind a paywall) is where the really good stuff is, but the website has links to some good food studies resources, including a list of food studies programs at universities around the world and new books in food studies.

Emily Contois has published this helpful list of journals that publish food studies research.