I am in library school now, working on an MLS in Archives and Preservation at CUNY Queens College. I’m taking two of the four required introductory courses during the current summer term. We’re halfway through class-wise now, with three weeks left until summer vacation begins, though there’s still plenty of reading, assignments, learning and a few papers to write.
With an eye towards a someday tenure-track job for an archive at a university or college, I intend to draw from my studies in grad school (Food Studies, NYU, MA 2010) and at Hunter College in Nutrition and Food Science. My head, and my work, is a (ADHD-addled) convergence of food, nutrition, health, ecology, art and archives! Here is an assignment for one of the classes I’m in now. Feel free to leaf comments.
Subject Annotated Bibliography using Books and Periodicals[i] for an Introduction to the Topic of Food Studies
Flandrin, J.L., Montanari, M & Sonnenfeld, A. (Eds.). (2000). Food: a culinary history. New York: Penguin.
The editors compiled essays by writers and academics from various fields, who look at food and food ways in the world, to provide the reader a look back on prehistory and early civilizations through to the present. Original essays are well-researched and a pleasure to read. Makes fine reference material to return to, and also serves well as assigned course book for food classes in art, culture and history.[ii]
Goldstein, D. (Ed.). (2001 – 2010). Various articles on food. Gastronomica: the journal of food and culture. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
A quarterly-published journal publishing works exploring food and culture issues, from across the academic, journalism and art spectrum. Well-researched essays, memoirs, recipe stories, photography, poetry, prose celebrating activities from mainly around the US, as well as internationally, all focused on food. An academic journal, it is also suited to the food-thinking reader seeking more than the usual food magazine fare.
Kurlansky, Mark. (2007). The big oyster: history on the half shell. New York: Random House.
Kurlansky weaves a tail, beginning in 1609 New Amsterdam taking readers up to the present day New York City, of oysters and a seafaring industry and its ecology and impacts on all aspects of life at a mouth of the Atlantic, along the Hudson and Delaware waterways. New York-centric in its scope, the book is complete in its research, giving readers history, but reads like a retelling at an old Bowery oyster house. Suited for all adult readers, for academic and personal edification and enjoyment.[iii]
Liebling, A. J. (1986). Between meals: an appetite for Paris. New York: North Point Press.
Toward the end of his career, Liebling recounts his years feeding, as a general expatriate playing Paris flaneur and freelance correspondent along the French countryside in the 1920s and 1930s. This is a book, non-fiction in scope and literary in the rhythm of its prose. A singular take on gastric gymnastics that is either cautionary tale for cholesterol dodgers, or is one guidepost for writers in all genres.[iv]
Pollan, M. (2006). The omnivore’s dilemma: a natural history of four meals. New York: Penguin Press.
Pollan shares with readers of his pursuit, discovering the ethics and process behind the production and the taste of three meals; these include: a fast food meal in a parking lot, a chicken roasted among friends, and a pig finished on forestry forage and chestnuts. This is a decadent and gonzo-foodist approach to food journalism, suited to readers for academic, professional and leisure.[v]
Reichl, R., et al. (Eds.). (1941 – 2009) Gourmet: the magazine of food and living. New York: Conde Nast Publications.[vi]
The last of five editors during its nearly seventy-year monthly-publication run, Ruth Reichl received a fateful call informing her its last edition would print in November 2009. Soon-to-be relaunched as a community-driven iPhone app in fall 2010, the magazine, its entire digital archive available online, will serve as a trove of American culture in cooking for home chefs, academics and writers.
Reichl, R. (1998). Tender at the bone: growing up at the table. New York: Random House.
Reichl gives the reader her memoirs, beginning in the New York City kitchen of her youth, to cooking and writing food in 1970s Berkeley, CA. Reichl is a sensualist in her style, thoughtful and frank in her retelling these tails. A good selection, along with Reichl’s second and third tomes (forming a trilogy), for writers and food readers.[vii]
Tyler-Herbst, Tyler. (2007). The new food lover’s companion. Hauppauge, NY: Barron’s Educational Series.
Tyler-Herbst provides a comprehensive definition of over 6,000 food, drinks and culinary terms. The fourth edition was updated to include new entries with an emphasis on ethnic cuisines. This book is a helpful tool for graduate students of Food Studies, for professors, and for the general food-curious reading public.
Wansink Ph.D., Brian. (2006). Mindless eating: why we eat more than we think. New York: Bantam Dell.
From his lab at Cornell University Upstate in Ithaca, New York, Wansink’s novel experiments investigate how and when and where we eat to excess and are tricked to eat to excess in a myriad of ways and in various settings. His work is often hilarious, as is his recounting of it, but the tails remind the reader not to be fooled by bottomless bowls of fats, salts, starches and sugars. This book can be read by any interested high schooler, perhaps even the initiated middle-schooler, as well as be used for academic, professional and leisure reading.[viii]
Wizansky, S and Standen, A. (Eds.). (2007 – 2010). meatpaper: your journal of meat culture. San Francisco.[ix]
Meatpaper is not a trade magazine devoted to the business of meat. It is, as the editor’s dub it, dedicated to the idea of meat, or as they call, the “fleighgeist”, a term they coined as meaning “spirit of the meat.” Published twice yearly, each edition includes totems to all things meat, in essays, recipes, poetry and art. Alltogether tongue-in-cheek, meatpaper publishes important and not-flimsy works on its chosen subject. This is suited to academics, artists and journal-zine enthusiasts.
[i] This annotated bibliography will serve as a launching point, for expanding into further editions, drawing from various other media, for self-study in Agriculture and Food Studies.
[ii] Read also: Carole Counihan’s Food in the USA reader, and her Food and culture reader edited with Penny Van Esterik.
[iii] Read also Kurlansky’s Cod and Salt.
[iv]Read also Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast, and John Steinbeck’s The Long Valley.
[v] Read also: Eric Schlosser’s Fast food nation: the dark side of the American meal, Singer and Mason’s The ethics of what we eat, Balasco’s Appetite for change, and Ellix Katz’ The revolution will not be microwaved.
[vi] Read also: Saveur, BonAp, Food and Wine, and Cooks Illustrated.
[vii] Read also Calvin Trillin’s Feeding a yen: savoring local specialties, from Kansas City to Cuzco, M.F.K. Fisher’s The Art of Eating.
[viii] Read also: Marion Nestle’s Food politics.
[ix] Read also: Alimentum: the literature of food, Diner journal, and The art of eating.