The Weekly Stripe - 27.11.20
With Thanksgiving in the US, restaurants reopening in many European countries, and the Christmas break fast approaching, food is likely to be on the brain mind (and in the bellies) of many of us in the coming days and weeks. In times of Covid-19, food and eating have not lost any of their appeal as markers of cultural identity and social practice. On the contrary: after weeks of lockdown people all over the world are eagerly waiting to come together and share their passion for eating. This week we give you food for thought by exploring the role of food and the cultural practices linked to it in social and technological change.
In Europe, the economic crisis linked to Covid-19 has led many politicians to call on their citizens to “eat more patriotically”: both to strengthen local and national food economies and reassert national identities. This article from the first lockdown examines how Covid-19 has reignited a food nationalism in many EU member states that worries supporters of a free European market.
Food and shared cultural practices around eating do not only strengthen national identities in times of crisis. Rather, as this upcoming book by ecologist Rob Dunn and medical anthropologist Monica Sanchez shows, food and the value of delicious flavours has played a central role in human evolution, social change and technological progress.
What is true for the course of human history is certainly true for the times of change we are living in today. This article explores how in the US, Native Americans try to re-envision Thanksgiving and the culinary traditions linked to it as an occasion to come to terms with racial inequality and some of the most cruel chapters of US history. The piece shows how a holiday centred around food serves as a means for perpetuating – and challenging – national myth making.
If you are looking for a new show to watch during the food-heavy weeks ahead then the new season of Fargo might be an interesting option. Food and Thanksgiving are a central theme in the 4th season of the critically acclaimed series. As this piece shows, the series’ writers and designers use Thanksgiving to show how immigrant cultures in 1950s America mix with and embrace US traditions – keeping their immigrant identities alive and shaping a blended American identity.
It is not only social and cultural change that is reflected in the different ways we eat and celebrate food. New developments in technology have also led young businesses to link technological innovation to food. As this article explores, young businesswomen in the U.S. merge virtual reality and food into an exciting new means of storytelling that serves community building, education and social empowerment.