Philosophy of Food Spring 2019 Class Notes and Reading Schedule

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1: JAN 15

  • Introduction to the Course
  • Welcome
  • About the Course
  • Disciplines sampled: gastronomy, food history, bio-history, evolutionary psych, economics, politics, nutrition, microbiology, soil agronomy, food ethics.
  • Major Course Topics (see reading list): Microbiome, Macronutrition, Dietary Guidelines, Western Industrial Diet, Gastronomy, Food Philosophy, Food Histories, Plant Intelligence, Food and Animal Ethics, Environment and Agriculture, Food and Power, Food and Religion, Organic Diets.
  • Major Course Research Questions
  • Succeeding in the Course -
  • Prep Cycle - Monitor time commitments and results early on.
  • Keep Course Research Questions in Mind
  • Course Management (Websites in This Course)
  • Transparency and Pseudonyms
  • Assignments and Weights (defaults) for your Grading Scheme
  • Final Paper 20-25% .2
  • Final Essays 20-30% .3
  • Practicum 10-20% .2
  • Q&W 20-40% .3
  • Some Course Dates
  • Student Food biographies 1/22
  • Start optional Diet Review / Revision Phase 1 2/14 - 3/19
  • In-class writing workshop with previous student writing
  • In-class group writing exercise 3/12
  • SW1 Due 2/19
  • Start optional Diet Review / Revision Phase 2 3/19 - 4/18
  • SW2 Due 3/21
  • Journals completed 4/15
  • SW3 Due 4/23
  • Final Paper Due May 1
  • Final Essays due on Final Exam Day
  • Two potential small group exercises.
  • 1. What is Food exercise
  • 2. Food biographies.
Here are some prompts for you to consider as you prepare your food biographies:
  • How would you describe your diet? What categories of foods will you eat or not? On principle or preference?
  • Do you like foods related to your ethnicity? Do you cook?
  • How important or prominent is food in your memory as a child or your current life or both?
  • Do you engage in food related social media activity?
  • Are you a good cook? Do you dance when you cook?
  • Did your parents or guardians cook from scratch for you? Did they cook? Did you learn to cook?
  • How knowledgeable are you about nutrition? Is your experience of food connected to concerns about nutrition and dietary disease or not so much?

2: JAN 17


  • Focus: These mainstream and well-regarded documentaries will quickly put a critique of the US Food System on the table. Check movie availability. Take some notes on: 1. Facts that you are surprised by, think important, or are suspicious of.; 2. Questions raised by the movie; 3. Claims or thesis that the movie's documentary evidence seems to support. Note segments or narratives. Try to note some names.
  • Sonnenbergs, C 1, "What is the Microbiota and Why Should I Care?"
  • Recommended: View one of these gut movies:

Sonnenbergs, C 1, "What is the Microbiota and Why Should I Care?"

  • How the world looks to a microbiologist! "Without microbes humans wouldn't exist, but if we all disappeared, few of them would notice." 10
  • Introduction to the Tube and digestion
  • Microbiota Case against the Western Diet
  • Sets the history of human diet in context. Agriculture already a big change, but then industrial ag / industrial foods
  • Adaptability of M remarkable. Makes us omnivores.
  • Baseline M - cant' be health Western Diet eaters. studies of groups like Hadza -- far more diverse.
  • 19 - Evolved Symbiotic relationship between us and bacteria --
  • types of symbiotic relationship - parasitic, commensal (one party benefits, little or no effect on the other), mutualism.
  • The heart warming story of Tremblaya princeps and Moranella endobia. (21) -- why we should be happy mutualists. Delegation and division of labor might create resiliance.
  • 22-30 - Cultural History and History of Science on Bacteria -- or, how germs got such a bad name.
  • Pasteur -- germ theory of diseases.
  • The Great Stink 1858 London, Miasma theory disproved, Cholera bacterium, not isolated until near end of century. Dr. Robert Koch.
  • 60-70's: Abaigail Salyers: early pioneer, 2008: Human Microbiome Project
  • Contemporary research: gnotobiotic mice. early fecal transplant studies of [Dr. Jeffrey Gordon].

Food Inc & Fed Up

  • Food Inc Notes As we review the movie, take notes to answer the following questions: 1) What are the distinctive features of an industrial approach to food? 2) What is the relationship of "organic" to "industrial"?

3: JAN 22


  • Sonnenbergs, C 5, "Trillions of Mouths to Feed" (111-136)
  • Sonnenbergs, C 7, "Eat Sh*t and Live" (163-185)
  • Nestle, "Introduction: The Food Industry and 'Eat More,' from Food Politics", 2013. (1-30).
  • Student Writing: Food biographies

Sonnenbergs, C 5, "Trillions of Mouths to Feed"

  • Microbiota extinction -- not just from change in foods, less fermented foods, more sterile food and sterile environments.
  • To improve gut diversity, eat ferments and fiber. whole grains and rice. pets, gardens...pets help with our microbiota. (Elsewhere, food provokes an immune response. That's a good thing.)
  • introduces acronym: MAC -- these are really complex carbs.
  • Microbiota mechanisms:
  • direct response to diet, "recyclers",
  • life is hard for our M germs: no oxygen down there and transit time is fast. So they make SCFAs that can metabolize in the blood stream where there is oxygen.
  • Why feed the gut? Isn't that just more calories? (116) - No. people with high scfa diets lose weight, decrease inflammation, Western diet diseases. Back to the connection between satiety and nutritional health. (N - S - P)
  • Sig. claim: 117: "Providing more..."
  • History of research -- field doctors: Thomas Cleave, 70s "The Saccharine Disease" "Bran Man"; Denis Burkitt studies comparing Western and Africans on fiber, stool quality, and health. Note on "transit time". Overconsumption of refined carbs. (S&S mention here that public health attention didn't stay on refined Carbs. fear of fat, elsewhere "lipidphobia" took more attention.)
  • Carb chemistry/metabolism basics -- 120: also in our nutrition textbook chapters. Note unique types of saccharides in particular foods: read 121 and 126; Oligosaccharides ferment in gut. insulin resistance. Big point here. At the level of MACs, plant chemical diversity is reflected in diversity of M. and it's products.
  • 122: glycemic index and glycemic load. show how to look up food values. note that glycemic index isn't really an issue with most whole fruits and vegetables.
  • Measuring MACs - the authors acronym for Macrobiotically Available Carbohydrates. - no standard measure of dietary fiber (note discrepancies from above.) 124. mention that undernurished gut bacteria can start eating the mucus lining of the gut. (This was also in a segment of one of the gut movies.). Feed them or they'll eat you!
  • RDAs: 29/38 grams. Actual 15 grams/day. 126: Notes that not all complex carbs are available to the M.
  • research discovering enzyme in nori, a seaweed based sushi wrapper: found in Japanese guts. Helps digest fish. Note: Terrior. Local adaptation of the M.
  • 128: Dutch research on rich and poor M. richness of M correlates with anti-inflammatory effects, thinness, low insulin resitane, metabolic potential for procarginogenic compounds.
  • Gordon's famous 2013 FMT mouse research: need M and M-supporting diet. Note caveat 129. Can't just benefit from the microbes alone. Fecal transplant with poor diet killed off beneficial bacteria.

Refining MACs out of the diet.

  • What's wrong with refined cereal seeds (130) (like Montgomery's account). Wheat bread vs. Wheat berries. The form of the food matters to the fiber count. Highly milled whole wheat flour will behave differently in your gut that rough milled.
  • What about the Inuit?
  • What about excess gas? Interesting consolations.
  • 135: Note their dietary advice. A high MAC, non-industrial omnivorous diet.

Sonnenbergs, C 7, "Eat Sh*t and Live" (Recommended)

  • This chapter is more focused on diseases that have been treatable with new knowledge about the M, and the limits of that research currently.
  • Gastroenteritis, infectious diarrhea, -- culprits like Giardia, Salmonella, and norovirus.
  • Immunological effects of the M: "colonization resistance" - mechanisms (165) - crowding out, bacteriocidal chemicals. Problematic nature of antibiotics in the M.
  • C. difficile (Cdiff) -- associated disease CDAD. 14,000 deaths in US a year. why antibiotics don't always help. spores.
  • 2013 Dutch FMT therapy for CDAD - 94% cure rate (note earlier researcher in 50s who tried this.)
  • Antibiotics -- Interesting that Americans not only eat the Western Diet, but take high levels of antibiotics. Effects of Cipro on M. -- decrease in volume (-10-100x) and diversity of bacteria (25-50% of species). Test subject had diverse responses. Some recovered M in several weeks. Some sustained damage. 2nd round of Cipro hurt everyone's M. Microbes in the gut can trigger immune responses and some even release anti-biotics directly at pathogens.
  • IBS and IBD - 177: Finding your personal "transit time".
  • Difficulties with FMT as a therapy: dangers in introducing new bacteria into someone's gut. Might be hard to remove. (Like issue of releasing GMOs in environment.)
  • Limited results from FMT in humans for obesity treatment. or inflammatory bowel disease.

Some implications of Microbiome research

  • The form of the food you eat partly determines the kinds of nutrition you can get from it.
  • Nutritional information about the food is incomplete for assessing potential nutrition from the food.
  • Which part of you eats the food affects what kind of nutrition (and other benefits) you receive from it.

Nestle, "Introduction: The Food Industry and 'Eat More,' from Food Politics"

Intro: "This book exposes the ways in which food companies use political, government and professional support for the sale of their products."
  • Note opening picture of food industry: overproduction, connection to publicly traded companies creates need to sell more.
  • On the other hand, this model worked well to meet nutritional deficits that continued well into the 20th century for many americans.
  • historic note: early 20th century still battled nutritional disease from inadequate calorie intake. Then shift to overconsumption.
  • her professional experience (3) with editing Surgeon General's report: no "eat less meat" - Government gave up producing the report in 2000. Authoritative advice would have required some "eat less" messaging. Could say "eat less sat. fat". (Note nutritionism.)
  • Side note: "New Dietary Guidelines Crack down on Sugar but red meat gets a pass," NPR Jan 7, 2016 [1]
  • her thesis: "that many of the nutritional problems of Americans—not least of them obesity—can be traced to the food industry's imperative to encourage people to eat more in order to generate sales and increase income in a highly competitive marketplace."
  • note her concise nutrition advice on p. 5ff. A bit old school and reductive.
  • 7ff: stats on diet and mortality, childhood obesity. Note that she does endorse "energy balance" as legitimate (more so than in Fed Up, but she would agree with their point)
  • 8ff: food production and consumption trends. more total daily calories (3200 in '70 to 3900 in the 90's), increased consumption of low fat foods, more restaurant food, where we are in relation to USDA advice. see p. 10. low variety of food in actual diets.
  • 10: Conclusion on sources of excess in American diets. Read.
  • 11: dimensions and trends in food industry and international - European diets are approximating US diet in calories from fat. "nutrition transition" idea that as cultures move from primary healthy diets to industrial diets they ironically seek more calories and want cheap calories. US less than 10% of income on food (see wiki links for more)
  • Some food economics: percent of food value from farming across food types p. 17. Advertising spending on industrial food, using philanthropy for branding, new food products (25)
  • Follow data: size of industry, timeline of tobacco company purchases of industry. Farm value vs. Marketing of industrial food. p. 18. Stop to consider explanations.
  • Why might it matter if farm value in food products is a declining proportion of food value in dollars?
  • Social trends: half of all meals consumed outside the home, 25% as fast food, female labor market participation, changes in perception of "cooking". Scratch cooking associated more with sub-cultures.
  • Q: Is there a basic conflict between good food policy and treating food as a product that free markets can optimize?

Notes to Gut Documentaries

Food Biographies - a short ungraded writing assignment

  • Please write a paragraph in answer to the following questions by Wednesday, January 23, 2019, 11:59pm.
  • Topic: What kind of eater are you? How would you describe your relationship to food?
  • Here are some prompts for you to consider as you prepare your food biographies:
  • How would you describe your diet? What categories of foods will you eat or not? On principle or preference?
  • Do you like foods related to your ethnicity? Do you cook?
  • How important or prominent is food in your memory as a child or your current life or both?
  • Do you engage in food related social media activity?
  • Are you a good cook? Do you dance when you cook?
  • Did your parents or guardians cook from scratch for you? Did they cook? Did you learn to cook?
  • How knowledgeable are you about nutrition? Is your experience of food connected to concerns about nutrition and dietary disease or not so much?
  • Prepare your answer and submit it in the following way:
  1. Do not put your name in the file or filename. You may put your student id number in the file. Put a word count in the file.
  2. Format your answer in double spaced text in a 12 point font, using normal margins.
  3. Save the file in the ".docx" file format using the file name "Food Bio".
  4. Log in to Upload your file to the Q&W dropbox.

4: JAN 24




  • Gastropod episode, "The End of the Calorie"
  • Focus: The Gastropod episode will give you alot of information about the way the "calorie" came about as a unit of measurement and the complexity of measuring food energy.
  • Moss, Michael. Chapter 4, "Is it Cereal or Candy," Salt Sugar Fat. (pp. 68-93)

Gastrpod, "The End of the Calorie"

  • Antoine Lavasier — Guinea pig in coffee urn - we “burn” food chemically. Change in temperature of water the pig is in. 1st “calorimeter”. Axed in French Rev.
  • Later defined by a german scientists (Favre and Silbermann in 1852 or Mayer in 1848) as: Amount of heat energy to raise 1 gram of water by one degree centigrade from 14.5 to 15.5 at sea level.
  • We still use of calorimeters also (Penn State). Nestle recounts seeing example of a room calorimeter. Visit to contemporary calorimeter. USDA site in Maryland (see photo): Converted walk in cooler. Implication that the woman with the sewing machine “made a mess”? 8:50
  • Bomb calorimeter. You burn the food. Segment on how it works.
  • Wilbur Atwater. Atwater values. USDA scientist. “Father of nutrition science” (Nestle likes him.). 4,000 food values. Method...omg. Potental energy (bomb cal value) - excretion = value. 4 cal/gram of carb or protein. 9 calories per gram of fat. (7 alcohol).
  • Recent evidence about variability of calorie values — researchers repeating Atwater research, but using additional measures. David Baer and Bill Rumpler both work at the Food Components and Health Laboratory at the USDA-ARS headquarters, in Beltsville, Maryland. Check out Baer and his colleagues' papers on the difference between the calories on the label and those our bodies can extract for almonds and walnuts.b. “The food is free, but you have carry ...”. 5-6% off on tree nuts, 30% on almonds, 21% walnuts,
  • Richard Wrangham is the author of Catching Fire: How cooking made us human. Harvard medical anthropologist. —
  • First to show that cooking changes food to allow earlier digestion (small intestine) and greater calorie recovery. 30% for starch. Also cooked meat, peanuts. All research on mice (and pythons). Still hard to say what the variation will be for us. Maybe 20-50%, depending upon food.
  • What about heat extrusion, also called Food Extrusion? (Used in cereals.). Industrial food might raise calorie levels relative to atwater values. That's a good thing, right? Or is it? (Note that early digestion means less activity for large intestine.)
  • Digression on Food Extrusion (not in podcast):
  • [2]
  • So, if extrusion damages nutrition, what about pasta? Why doesn't it have a high glycemic index like breakfast cereals?
  • "In pasta products, gluten forms a viscoelastic network that surrounds the starch granules, which restricts swelling and leaching during boiling. Pasta extrusion is known to result in products where the starch is slowly digested and absorbed (59,60). Available data on spaghetti also suggest that this product group is a comparatively rich source of resistant starch (61). The slow-release features of starch in pasta probably relates to the continuous glutenous phase. This not only restricts swelling, but possibly also results in a more gradual release of the starch substrate for enzymatic digestion. Pasta is now generally acknowledged as a low glycemic index food suitable in the diabetic diet. However, it should be noted that canning of pasta importantly increases the enzymic availability of starch, and hence the glycemic response (62).[3]
  • Indivudal variation: age, gender, muscle mass.
  • Sarah Haley — scientist claiming counting calories didn’t work for weight reduction. After second child, big change in metabolism.
  • CALORIES AND THE GUT MICROBIOME - how does microbiome affect calorie processing.
  • Peter Turnbaugh's lab at the University of California, San Francisco, promises "better living through gut microbes." In our conversation with him, we discussed this study on the effects that transplanting gut microbes from lean and obese twins had on the weight of mice. Further examples of the impact of microbes on energy balance can be found in this paper on one woman's weight gain following a fecal transplant, and this paper on how risperidone is associated with altered gut microbiota and weight gain.
  • microbiota creates variation in calorie capture.
  • 36:45. Sarah Hailey comment.
  • Susan B. Roberts is the creator of the satiety-based "iDiet." She has also done extensive research into the accuracy of calorie counts on menu labels. David Ludwig's book, Always Hungry?, also proposes measuring foods based on their satiety score. Adam Drenowksi's Nutrient-Rich Food Index is explained here.
  • They acknowledge that we don’t have a better standard, but other methods might tell us more.
  • DAVID WISHART AND METABOLOMICSDavid Wishart's research group is based at the University of Alberta. You can check out the Human Metabolome Project Database online here. And the Israeli study on personalized nutrition based on individual glycemic responses is available online here.
  • We wrote a feature article for Mosaic, the online publication of the Wellcome Trust, to accompany this episode. You can read it online here.
  • In the episode, we say that a calorie is the amount of heat energy needed to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree centigrade, from 14.5º to 15.5º, at one unit of atmospheric pressure. This is accurate, but it is misleading, because throughout the rest of the episode, we are discussing a different kind of calorie—the kilocalorie, which is the amount of heat energy needed to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water by one degree centigrade. The kilocalorie is the number we see on our food labels and recommended daily allowances, but no one other than chemists actually calls it the kilocalorie. Instead, it has been shortened to "calorie" on labels and in everyday usage. Throughout our episode, we follow common practice by calling a kilocalorie a calorie, but then we mistakenly gave the definition of a true calorie without noting the difference. We apologize for any confusion!
  • The University of Alberta's David Wishart offers us a glimpse of the future, in which truly personalized nutrition advice will evolve from the emerging science of how the chemicals in our bodies interact with all the different chemicals in the food we eat. And Susan Roberts, director of the energy metabolism laboratory at the Tufts USDA nutrition center, suggests an alternative unit as a replacement for the traditional calorie.


Moss, Ch. 4, "Is It Cereal or Candy?"

  • John Harvey Kellog vs. Will Kellog. Drama at Battle Creek Michigan.
  • note early ad claims by Post for Grape-Nuts and Postum -- shows something about food psychology and tendency to fad diets.
  • $660 million to $4.4 billion 1970 to mid 80s.
  • breakfast cereal growth coincided with increased labor participation by women. Easy meal to eliminate cooking for, especially with cheap milk.
  • Ira Shannon, Dental activist!, measures sugar content on breakfast cereals after Feds refuse. 74
  • Jean Mayer, Harvard nutritionist, big deal, early obesity research. title for chapter from an essay of his. urged moving cereals over 50% sugar to the candy aisle. Look at current and puzzling data for frosted flakes [4].
  • note nomenclature issue in the public policy discussion: breakfast cereals v. breakfast foods. who cares?
  • 76: Key theoretical claim: The breakfast cereal industry responded to concern over sugar in part by developing market campaign to children and by putting marketing in charge of product development (85)
  • 76ff: political story of sugar in 1977 -- FTC over responds to concern about marketing of cereals to kids by banning all advertising to kids. battle between advertising lobby and FTC. advertising ban failed. Washington Post labels it "the National Nanny". role of gov't issue. "social engineering". still, FTC report was credible and damning on the topic of advertising sugar to kids. note the industry documents showing the industry's effort to "engineer" their consumer.
  • 2/3 price of the cereal is in the advertising (!).
  • 1990's competition from store brands -- 82ff: note value of minute market share movements. "product news" - continual change in marketing. Kellog is losing out at one point, Moss finishes chapter with their strategic response: concept of "permission" (when a taste is close enough for the consumer to say that had an experience of a real thing through the taste, example: the taste of rice crispy treats in a cereal. "We didn't have to be literal. We just had to have the flavor spot on." (87)
  • Key theme from Kellog's market share loss: This is a real crisis for a food company. 87ff. CinnaMon/Bad appple campaign
  • odd twist - the "Cinnamon" and "bad apple" commercials. [[5]]
  • Frosted Mini-Wheats became "brain food". fraudulent research. 91-92 Commercial in this NPR story Also, check out these oldies. [6]
  • Kellogg even tried comparing kids who ate Mini-Wheats to kids who skipped breakfast!
  • Interesting. Possible thesis: We entered a "post truth" era in the food industry before politics.
  • The Kellogg story reinforces the idea that food may be a difficult business to subject to the demands of publicly traded corporations. (Note: Doesn't mean food can't benefit from other market realizations.)

5: JAN 29


  • Nix, Stacy. Chapter 2: "Carbohydrates" Williams' Basic Nutrition and Diet Therapy (pp. 13-30).
  • Complete Carbohydrates worksheet (10 Q&W points)
  • From the main wiki page, follow the link to the carbohydrates worksheet ( Copy and paste the worksheet into a word document, fill it out, and print it. You can make additional notes or edits in class, but I will collect these in class for credit.

Nix, Chapter 2, "Carbohydrates"

  • Nature of
  • Carbs are a source of short term energy. All Carbs break down into sugars during metabolism.
  • Scale of simple to complex. Simple sugars (monosacharides) don't even require digestion. Starchs are complex and "slow burning".
  • Limits to the "energy" metaphor:
  • carb levels and types help regulate other processes like insulin response,
  • fiber helps with useful bacteria production, appears to reduce colon cancer, helps with bowel function and avoidance of diverticulosis.
  • carb types and level signal body to break down protein for energy or not.
  • soluble fiber binds bile acids, lowering cholesterol
  • per capita HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) up from .12 tsp daily in 1970 to 11.18 tsp in 2008.
Note warning on high fiber low iron-rich diet. Phytic acid in this diet can cause iron deficiency. You can get too much fiber, but most Americans don't.
  • Functions of
  • reserve fuel supply is stored as glycogen in muscles [[7]] and blood sugar. Roughly 1-2 hours of aerobic exercise. glycogen also stored in the liver to regulate blood sugar.
  • carbs keep us from going into ketosis, but as we've noted, you can have a diet based on having your body in a state of ketosis.
  • Digestion
  • primarily in small intestine, through enzymes such as amalyse from the pancreas, and from the "microvilli" of the intestine which contain specific disaccaridases: sucrase, lactase, and maltase. (digression from p. 26 text box on dairying as textbook case of gene-culture co-evolution.)
  • As we learned earlier in the term, you can think of carbs as feeding both you and them. Neither fat nor protein get into the large intestine in significant amounts. We feed our gut bacteria with carbs.
  • Recommendations
  • decrease added sugar to less than 10% of calorie intake. Current ly 28 teaspoons of added sugar a day.)
  • increase proportion of complex carbs.
  • Two practical take aways:
  • Calculating Carb amounts for your diet and noticing carb types and values in your diet. Think about your "carb profile". Is it tilted toward a high glycemic diet?
  • Understanding carb related advertising and health claims. How and why does industrial food tend toward refined carbs?

6: JAN 31


  • Moss, Michael. Chapter 8, "Liquid Gold," (pp. 161-181)
  • Nestle, Marion. Chapter 1: From "Eat More" to "Eat Less" 1900-1990 (pp. 31-50).
  • Discuss Assignment Rubric and Application

Moss, Ch. 8, "Liquid Gold"

  • Wallace and Grommet on cheese: [8]
  • Stories told in this chapter: Dean Southworth and Cheese Whiz; James Lewis Kraft, cheese entrepreneur!; story of cheese in the US food economy; Kraft marketing of Philadelphia cream cheese and Paula Dean story; closing research on visible/invisible fats. There is no upper bliss point for fat!
  • Cheez Whiz; altered from original, but never a gourmet experience. Pretty much no cheese in it.
  • Am cheese consumption: 33pounds/year; 50 gallons of soda
  • traditional consumption of cheese (mention Cesare & Ornella)
  • Kraft orgins story: invented canned cheese. used in field rations. 1928: Velveeta, high sodium as by product of industrial process.
  • point is that industrial cheese can be made in a few days. fresh cheeses are quick, but real solid cheese can take 18 months or more to mature. (Is that a real value or just an old way of doing something?). note 167.
  • Cheese in US food economy
  • anti-fat campaign of 80s led to overproduction of milkfat ("Cows can't make skim milk" - maybe a clue that something's backwards), gov't subsidized milk and cheese; huge warehouses of cheese (1.9 billion pounds at a cost to taxpayers of 44billion a year) ; Reagan admin stopped this, but also raised funds from the industry for new marketing efforts to promote milk consumption. Note the gastronomy segement 171-172 - ex Kraft cheese expert Brookmann.
  • Current data on US Government cheese purchases. [9]
  • Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • "sliced" didn't work. spreading is part of the fun, but also suppresses serving size information. p. 174: no bliss point for fat.
  • Kraft Mac & Cheese. Nutritional profile might not look bad at first glance [10], but check out this comparison [11]
  • Early social media marketing effort using Food network star Paula Dean (read 178) and social media to generate interest. creating food culture. 5% boost in sales.
  • 2008 Dutch research
  • visible / invisible fats and satiety, perception of fat. results: everyone underestimated fat content, visible fat group full faster, about 10% more.
  • Personal advice: buy whole fats and eat them sparingly and mindfully. Compare satiety with Costco sized skim-fat products.
  • Puzzle: many cultures eat much more cheese than Americans. French 53, Italy 44, Germans 46, yet do not suffer dietary disease from it as we do.
  • Previous student comment: "This material makes me really glad that I don't like cheese."
  • Brief class discussion: What's your cheese strategy?

Writing Discussion 1: Working with the Assignment Rubric and old student writing

  • We will look at the Assignment Rubric for formal writing in the class and a couple of pieces of writing from last semester.
  • 10 minutes:
  • Here is the prompt for SW1 from last semester: What is "food value"? Why is it so hard to determine the value of food(s)? Consider the different ways that food(s) can by valued (nutrition, cost, quality, satisfaction) in formulating your answer. Are the "real" and "fake" food values? Have you found any useful approaches to solving this problem?
  • Please browse to the Sharepoint site, Student Writing Food, SW1 and read two works: Lark and Quokka. Can you see differences in the writing and content quality of these two pieces of student writing?

Nestle, Chapter 1, "From Eat More to Eat Less"

  • this reading gives more detail to the argument as summarized in the Intro. You could say that we are the victims of an industry that succeeded too well!
  • early history of USDA survey of food supply and consumption, 1909. (interesting to note that early studies in the 1890s predate knowledge of vitamins and dietary causes of conditions like beriberi, pellagra, and scurvy.
  • USDA missions: 1. promote reliable and secure food supply. 2. Educate public about food. (Big point: These goals are not in conflict until food abundance ("nutrition transition".)
  • "food groups" approach since early 20th century. War food policy, post-war "food for freedom" promotes sugar and candy. "eat more". Even in 1950's people weren't hitting RDAs in some areas. response of US gov't "eat more". 1960s war on poverty also reinforced "eat more" (recall %33 poverty rate).
  • McGovern committe is the pivot point on "eat more" "eat less". Ancel Keys, explaining increase in heart disease since war, uses comparative data on food cultures with plant based diets. Hits on lipid hypothesis. reduce calories from fat. go low fat.
  • details from the infamous 1977 hearings, p. 40-41. replaced "reduce consumption of meat" with "choose meats, ....which will reduce saturate fat intake."
  • 43: Surgeon General's contribution -- 1979 first attention to processed foods nutritional value, publication Healthy Peoplerecommended less red meat (last time Fed Gov't would do that). Instead, switch to lean meats.
  • back to USDA guidelines: 1985, first mention of maintaining ideal weight. "avoid too much" instead of "eat less". 49: consensus among nutrtitionists in late 1980s. Series of authoritative reports against high fat meat. consensus on limits of calories from fats, salt. consensus on need to restrict overall calorie intake as well.
  • note last page summary: transition in 1980s of not resisting the consensus from the nutritional community, but using it to market nutrients. This coincides with the thesis of "nutritionism". Beware of nutrition marketing. You are often being sold being marketed foods that have added industrial versions of nutritional properties removed in the industrial process.
  • Some inferences from Nestle's narrative: We have had the food politics that you would expect from the historical and social conditions of our culture. The historical conditions of malnurishment and insecure food supplies, along with economic organizations that are motivated to increase profit and production gave us a kind of momentum that produced food in abundance. But it was hard for the political system, having developed political and institutional systems of support for increasing production of food products, and cheap calories, to transition to a world in which the best nutritional advice was to tell people to eat less of many kinds of foods. Meanwhile, food science and the rise of industrial food products gave major food producers a way of contributing to nutrition (ex. fortifying industrial flour and polished rice) or manipulating nutritional advice by altering the chemistry of the product to market on an isolated nutritional claim.

7: FEB 5


  • Nix, Stacy. Chapter 3: Fats Williams' Basic Nutrition and Diet Therapy (pp. 31-46)

Nix, Chapter 3, "Fats"

  • Nature of
  • C, H, O -- note that Carbs are different arrangements of these.
  • fatty acids are chains of C-H bonds with a methyl group on one end (so-called the "omega") and an acid on the other (which bonds to a glycerol)
  • saturated (no spaces in the C-H string), mono (space at the 9th H), poly (spaces after 6) (linoleic acid) and, if after 3, Omega-3 or (alpha-linolenic acid)
  • visible: saturated fats are dense, form solids at room temp.
  • "trans" in structure and implicated in health risks, largely removed from processed foods.
  • Functions of
  • essential fatty acids: , linoleic acid (omega 6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3) . we can produced saturated fats and cholesterol from these essential fatty acids.
  • 34: diet of less than 10% calories from fat not consistent with health.
  • some interesting detailed functions in phospholipids such as lecithin (for cell membranes), and eicosanoids (signaling hormones that relate inflammatory and immune response, and cholesterol, which we need for cell membrane health.
  • fats essential for tissue strength, cholesterol metabolism, muscle tone, blood clotting, and heart action. As with carbs, you can think of fats as energy sources, but don't forget other metabolic functions.
  • storage of energy.
  • source of fat soluble vitamins.
  • saiety!
  • Food Sources
  • fat from meat is compatible with a healthy diet, but better when taken with fiber and balanced with high ratio of polyunsaturated fats.
  • fish have mostly unsaturated fat [12] compared to red meat [13] or chicken [14] or a Starbuck's caramel brownie [15]!
  • visible and invisible fats
  • Digestion
  • enzymes in small intestine (from pancreas), bile from gallblader, bile emulsifies fat, increasing surface area for enzymes to act.
  • frying foods at high temperatures makes digestion harder and compounds can break down into carcinogenes.
  • Recommendations

Notes on Practicality

I wanted to move up this lesson on practicality since some of you might want to incorporate practicality goals into your work.

Practicality can be thought of at several levels from the logistics of supplying your diet to sustainability.

  • Here's my initial list of criteria for practicality (on the logistical side of things):
  • You have a practical diet when:
  • you always know what you need at the store, (easy methods here)
  • you rarely waste food, (favors batch process)
  • you don't spend more time preparing food than you can afford, (But how much is that?)
  • your food is portable when you need it to be, (gear, favors bulk form)
  • your meals are flexible when they need to be, (can be delayed if you change you mind about eating at home, can be quick)
  • you have plenty of opportunities to prepare food when you aren't busy, (time shifting meal prep time)
  • but you never have to do it when you are too busy, (measure reserve or quick dinner options)
  • you always have something great to eat and many choices about dinner, (assess need for variety)
  • And, it's all completely affordable. (cost assessment)

Some measurement and goal setting challenges:

  • How much time should you "afford" for food preparation and enjoying. How often? Slow Food thinking supplies some answers to this.
  • How much time do you (should you have) have for making meals? When is that time available to you during the week?
  • What are the main strategies for "time shifting" your meal preparation? for batch preparation?
  • How many different dinners do you need?
  • On any given night, how many different dinners could you choose to make quickly?
  • When you make food from scratch, how often do you make multiple dinners?

8: FEB 7


  • Pollan, Michael. Part 2: The Western Diet (pp. 83-136)
  • Nestle, Marion. Chapter 2, Politics Versus Science -- opposing the food pyramind, 1991-1992 (pp. 51-66).

Nestle, "Chapter 2: Politics Versus Science -- opposing the food pyramind, 1991-1992"

  • Tells the story of the blocked printing of the 1991 Eating Right Pyramid. Lots of drama and intrigue!
  • Meat and Dairy did not appreciate being "narrowed" in the pyramid.
  • She highlights the USDA mandate (over HEW) after 1977 to produce nutrition information, the tension between that agency and then "HEW" (health education and welfare), (now DHHS) where the Surgeon General was.
  • 53: specific law in 1988 preventing DHHS from issuing nutritional advice that might adversely affect agricultural interests.
  • 54-55: documents the development of the 1988 pyramid. Clearly a multi-year process with lots of professional review.
  • p. 55. Specific design process for the pyramid. Compare other countries approaches. [17]. Compare to current US Dietary Guidelines for 2015-2020. [18] [19]
  • the controversy over the pyramid was mostly about the diminished size of the meat group and it's proximity to the sugar, fats, and oils. If you look at the previous chapter's image of the "Basic Four" design, meat and dairy were "in front" and "on top" of the image. The ensuing controversy had partly to do with gov't officials dodging responsibility for the nutritionists work.

Pollan, Part II of In Defense of Food

  • Part II : Western Diet and diseases of civilization
  • Chapter 1: The Aborigine in all of us
  • Summer 1982 - W. Australia aborigines study -- "metabolic syndrome" -- defined, theorized as signature disease of western diet. [20]
  • O'Dea's results p. 87. Note that she didn't look for a silver bullet, a single factor. Just the diet change.
  • Major premise: Compare us to many traditional diet populations and the difference in diseases profile is stark. It might be the "whole diet pattern" rather than a single imbalance. (The imbalances are symptoms.)
  • Chapter 2: The Elephant in the Room
  • Group of early 20th c intellectuals/doctors (bot 90) noticed absence of chronic disease in populations they traveled to.
  • British doc Dens Burkitt: "Western Diseases" -- diseases attributable to western diet and lifestyle.
  • Pollan chooses the story of Weston Price from this group.
  • Two objections to hyp that Western diet is to blame: disease/race theory (but evidence from mixed ethnicity/race cultures like US suggests not), demographic theory (we live longer, so we get more disease). In both cases, the evidence refutes the claim.
  • Weston Price -- b. 1870. diseases of teeth are effects of Western diet. 1939 major work after global travels looking at teeth. Lots and lots of teeth. kind of an amateur scientists, but collected important data (and seen right by later dental research). hard to find control groups. Price found big differences in Vit A and D. (Note comment about Masai -- . Multiple successful diets for omnivores.) pl 98: note comparison of groups with wild animal flesh and agriculturalists.
  • first to make comparisons of grass fed / winter forage fed animals to find vitamin differences. Example from Pure Eire Dairy
  • decline of nutrition in current vegetables and fruits: [21]
  • Albert Howard 99 -- "father" of organic farming movement; early 20th century; similar time period, making argument against synthetic nitrogen (more later). both pioneers in what would later be seen as an ecological approach to food production.
  • Important: Among first to see a connection between dietary diseases of the food system as part of an "ecological dysfunction". (This is a theme that will occupy alot of our attention in the course.)
  • Chapter 3: The Industrialization of Eating
  • thesis: Calling for a more ecological way of thinking about food. think of food as mutual adaptation of plants and animals to humans. propagation/place in ecology of food chain. example of fruit: ripeness, transportation, high nutrient state. Corn vs. corn syrup. (Note point about possible future humans who could use HFCS. also true of milk in history of agriculture. Pollan doesn't quite give the details on milk. not like a light switching on. Textbook example of gene-culture co-evolution. Selective advantage for those who keep lactase expression going past breast feeding. You can always leave it to natural selection to favor those who can get on with the new diet.)
  • Types of Changes that mark the Western Industrial Diet
  • 1. From Whole Foods to Refined
  • prestige of refined products: prior to roller technology, white rice and flour would be labor added, story of grain rollers 107, Refined flour is the first industrial fast food. Fresh flour lasts days. 108: specific details germ/endosperm, but also local mills, water power. Fortified bread. B vitamins added back in to reduce pellagra and beriberi.
  • 1996: added folic acid.
  • Jacobs and Stefffen study: epidemiological study showing effects of whole grains, but also that groups not eating whole grains, but getting equivalent nutrients did not enjoy benefits. alludes to possible wholism in effects. Sugar intake since 1870's.
  • 2. From Complexity to Simplicity
  • The flip side of food degradation is soil degradation. nitrogen fertilizers. simplification through chemical processing. control. Documented nutrient decline in foods (also article above).
  • simplification of plant species in industrial foods. Again, appearance of greater variety in industrial food store, but products actually represent a small variety plants and animals. 116 for details.
  • details on loss of food crop diversity. [22]
  • conclusion: there may be a false economy in industrial food production. varietals, soil, diversity of food have values that are lost in assessing costs at the retail level and without this knowledge.

  • 3. Quality to Quantity
  • Industrial food system has favored cheap macro-nutrients over cheap whole foods. (whole foods in Italian significantly cheaper.)
  • decline in nutrient content (118-119: review), "nutritional inflation," interest in "phytochemicals" -- seem related to anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
  • False food value lesson from "nutritional inflation" : You get a larger variety of X fruit or veg with less nutrition, but it's cheaper. Problem is that you have a limited volume of food intake, so you lose value in the end and possibly compromise nutrition. Simplification of species diversity and monoculture of ag. corn and soy are very efficient producers of carb calories. but then we draw less food diversity by focusing on these two.
  • decline in food nutrient content from food grown in impoverished soil. Calls the result "nutritional inflation" because you have to get greater volumes of food to get your nutrition. some details on how soils matter: growing time affects mineral and vitamin levels (bio-accumulation). some evidence that organic plants have chemicals related to immune responses.
  • "overfed and undernurished"
  • cites Bruce Ames, serious researcher interest in micronutrition and cancer. Interesting theory (unproven) that "satiety" mechanisms are tied to nutrition such that a malnurished body always feels hungry.
  • 4. Leaves to Seeds
  • shift from leaves to seeds decreases anti-oxidants and phytonutrients in our diet.
  • Mentions Susan Allport's The Queen of Fats
  • more seeds tilt in the fat profile of the food product toward O6. less healthy fat. O3 fats spoil faster, so tend to be removed from industrial food. nutritional advice to move toward seed oils didn't originally distinguish O3 from O6.
  • Claims that lipidphobia led us to shift to seed oils (give up butter --which has some 03 fats and move to corn -- which is high in 06 fats) and that led to a change in ratio of O6/O3 from 3:1 to 10:1. note the connection p. 129 between fat profile and sense of "food security" -- interesting digression here. Could we have a deep fear of hunger that still leads us to choose overeating, especially of caloric foods?
  • O3 decline also related to mental health. 130
  • 5. From Food Culture to Food Science
  • shift from reliance on national / ethnic food cultures to science.

9: FEB 12


  • Nix, Stacy. Chapter 4: "Proteins" Williams' Basic Nutrition and Diet Therapy (pp. 47-63).Moved due to Snow Day to 2/14

Nix, "Proteins"

  • Nature of
  • 20 amino acids, 9 essential; proteins are polypeptides -- chains of amino acids 100s of links long. Proteins exist in specific forms in foods (ex. casein is milk protein) and are broken down by us into amino acids and resembled as protein in metabolism.
  • about 16% nitrogen; protein is a primary source of nitrogen in diet. Nitrogen Balance is shown when excretion of urinary nitrogen occurs as by product of protein metabolism (ratio of 1 g of urinary nitrogen to 6.25 g of protein). Negative nitrogen balance can be a symptom of protein deficiency.
  • Functions of Protein Metabolism
  • Tissue growth/repair: largest component of tissue by dry weight. 75%.
  • Water and pH balance; plasma proteins can exert osmotic pressure to help circulation of tissue fluids (I think this is the "interstitium", but I'm not sure).
  • Proteins can take up acids to contribute to blood Ph management.
  • Metabolism, transport, immune system, energy system. Wide range of functions here. We have already met "lipproteins" that help carry fats around. Here you learn that enzymes, transport agents, and hormones also have protein structures.
  • Proteins also help make white blood cells, so support your immune system.
  • Food Sources
  • Complete proteins mostly from animal sources, including dairy, cheese.
  • Soy is the only complete plant protein.
  • Completing proteins: p. 52. also compare links ceci beans [[23]], lentils [24], peanut butter [25] and sesame seeds [[26]]. Sirloin steak [27]. Note how you can use the site to find complementary foods for foods with relatively low amino acid scores.
  • advice on vegetarian diets -
  • Digestion
  • Occurs in stomach and small intestines
  • Recommendations
  • 10-35% of calories from diet
  • .8g / Kg of body weight.
  • Overconsumption of protein by Americans, p. 59 Men at 181% of DRI
  • Debates about protein quality. [28]

Personal Protein Tally

  • We've used a "profile" metaphor to talk about carbs and fats (profiles of complexity in carbs and fat saturation for fats), but with proteins, it makes sense to "tally" or add up your intake, while watching for protein quality.
  • Calculate your protein goal in grams. 150 lbs. = 68kg x .8 = 54grams RDI /day
  • Go through your diet and look at the amounts of good protein in your day. How hard is it to meet your goal?
Food Protein Value
Egg/toast/butter 11
Muffin 6
Ceci/fruit/yogurt 14
Appetizers - cheese/crackers 11
Dinner Options
Lentils & Rice 12
Lentil Soup 15
Black Beans & Rice 23
Tuscan Bean Soup 10
Pasta 18
Tuna 19
Salmon (8oz) 45

10: FEB 14


  • Barber, Dan. Introduction The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food, (1-22).
  • US Dietary Guidelines Moved due to Snow Day to 2/19
  • The Lancet, Carcinogenicity of consumption of red and processed meat Moved due to Snow Day to 2/19
  • Acad of Pediatrics on Vegetarian and Vegan Diets. Moved due to Snow Day to 2/19

Barber, "Introduction" The 3rd Plate

  • Browse to these three restaurants
  • Blue Hill and Stone Barnes -- as a project [[29]]
  • Chez Panisse [30]
  • Story of Eight Row flint corn at Blue Hills. sig. "varietal restoration" "heritage cultivation"
  • Story of the summer of corn at Blue Hills Farm when Barber was a kid. Note diffs.
  • planted in "Three Sisters"
  • polenta not typically thought of as high flavor experience, but in this case it was.
  • Barber says (8) that the polenta story is the kind of experience he found himself repeating. What does he mean. What are the main features of the polenta story?
  • Barber's "Plates"
  • some background on "farm to table" "artisanal eaters" "locavores" -- (another side of industrial food, esp. for a chef, is the effect of varieties and production methods on flavor).
  • chef as activist (p. 10 reference to Paul Bocuse) -- Wolfgang Puck -- eventually industrial food system produces a version of the chef's innovation.
  • p. 11ff: Barber's critique of farm to table and the 1st and 2nd plates. Criticizing the way we eat: protein-centric plate, small side of veg Protein consumption per capita by country
  • Some detail on Blue Hills.
  • lamb chop story-- Problem: farm serving table. Table is still in charge of the plate. "cherry picking ingredients that are often ecologically demanding and expensive to grow" So, eliminate the menu! p.14 top of 15. Note characterization of American cuisine vs. French and Italian. No peasant heritage to base it on. Am: immoderation, big slabs of meat. (Carla's story Fall 2018 - What it means to have a place based culinary identity)
  • 1st, 2nd, 3rd plates 17. Claim: "The future of cuisine will represent a paradigm shift, a new way of thinking about cooking and eating that defies Americans' ingrained expectations." 18 Note that he gives another definition of the 3rd Plate at p. 21.
  • 18: "truly delicious food is dependent on an entire system of agriculture. .... 21: the thrid plate goes beyond raising awareness about the importance of farmers and sustainable agriculture. I helps us recognize that what we eat is part of an integrated whole, a web of relationships, that cannot be reduced to single ingredients"
  • The food "supply chain" is an ecology. The implication is that we can assess it in terms of sustainability, flavor, quality, diversity...etc.

11: FEB 19


  • US Dietary Guidelines Moved to today due to Snow Day
  • The Lancet, Carcinogenicity of consumption of red and processed meat Moved to today due to Snow Day
  • American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Moved to today due to Snow Day
  • Montanari, Massimo. Food is Culture, (1-26).


  • Nix, Stacy. Chapter 4: "Vitamins" Williams' Basic Nutrition and Diet Therapy (pp. 94-126).


*Writing Workshop with previous student writing (This will be an in-class exercise.)
  • notice typical ranges for our work.
  • For this exercise, you will be working with student writing from last semester, specifically a 600 word short writing exercise on this question:
  • Topic: What is "food value"? Why is it so hard to determine the value of food(s)? Consider the different ways that food(s) can by valued (nutrition, cost, quality, satisfaction) in formulating your answer. Are the "real" and "fake" food values? Have you found any useful approaches to solving this problem?
  • Part 1. Your groups will receive an essay by Catshark, which was a pretty successful answer. Please take 3-4 minutes to review it relation to the Flow, Content, and Insight areas of the rubric. Then share with your view of the strengths and weaknesses of the answer with your group. (3-5 minutes)
  • Part 2 Your groups will receive papers by Jay and Tiglon with scores attached. Please read these, comparing them again to the rubric and to the two papers you worked with. (10 minutes). Compare notes with your group. Does it seem reasonable that Catshark falls between these two?

USDGs, Lancet, and AmAcad of Nutrition

  • US Dietary Guidelines -- Paging through the guidelines, what new ways of representing health eating patterns do you find that supplement our nutrition study?
  • Note letter from both USDA and HHS
  • more use of phrase "healthy eating pattern" "nutrient dense"
  • xv: Guidelines at a glance
  • Lots of survey data on diet in the population.
  • p. 18: Table 1-1: note classification of protein foods (!) protein is still the master macronutrient in our cultural perception of dietetics. also p. 51
  • p. 28: Why start a section on "Added Sugars" with a subheading "Healthy Intake"? -- it's a permissive guide.
  • The Lancet -- "Carcinogenicity of Consumption of Red and Processed Meat"
  • Major conclusions, evidence, authoritativeness
  • 17% increase risk of colon cancer at 100/grams of red meat and 18% for 50 grams of processed meats.
  • What are the specific thresholds and risk factors by consumption?
  • many hundreds of studies across many countries. less certainty about the red meat conclusion from epidemiological data, though mechanistic evidence seemed stronger for red meat.
  • American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Position on Vegetarian Diets
  • What is the overall assessment of the Academy of the healthiness vegetarian and vegan diets?
  • bio availablity of iron lower for vegs, but not all bad. No longer higher DRI for iron due to new evidence
  • What are the major recommendations for dietary supplementation or monitoring?
  • Vit D, B12, maybe calcium, (but these are common supplements for non-vegs as well)
  • To what degree do low and no-meat diets reduce your risk of Western Dietary Diseases? 12ff: long list of health benefits
  • Note: effect of both the Lancet and Academy articles: most of benefits from veg diet available to low-meat diet, most of hazards of high meat diet concentrated on red & processed meat.

Montanari, "Food is Culture"

  • Creating One's Own Food

  • q. 3: roughly, now that we're in a postindustrial age, we look at agriculture as "natural" and traditional, but from the perspective of those adopting, it wasn't. - but they experienced ag as a break from nature. against nature, but also a breakthrough and innovation. ...gave us power to rule nature (later ideas about space and time).
  • demography of agriculture is amazing. dates for ag in diff regions (5), "invention of agriculture...matter of necessity tied to population growth"
  • cites Franz Braudel, who made a version of this thesis. Agriculture organized everything (roughly). see list. economy, religion (make side point about warrior / ag gods). Civitas and civilitas depend upon agriculture!
  • Bread, breadeaters, marks break from nature. Bread is an invention from nature (sidepoint: can sustain life, man can live on bread alone, it just isn't pretty.). Interesting reference to mythology of bread and woman in Epic of Gilgamesh (short term research oppportunity).
  • Fermented drinks - like bread, break from nature.
  • germ idea about culture: culture is produced where tradition and innovation intersect
  • Even Nature is Culture -
  • two oppositions: 1. ag and hunt/gather goes through plant and animal kingdom. but 2. sedentary/nomad favors plant over animal (in fields vs. forest opposition, plants are identified with culture, hunting with nature)
  • gods/myths of agricultural societies: stories of Persephone daughter of Demeter, goddes of the Earth and ag, abducted by Hades..., rice in asian narratives, corn in Mayan legend. hunting practices treating bones of animal as sacred, basis for rebirth. Germans have their grand Miale!
  • thesis: opposition between nature and culture somewhat fictitious. something like: civilized man uses nature (food structured) in the primary myths to separate him/herself from nature.
  • p. 11: difference between Greco-Roman and German food systems. Germ of European food system in the clash between these cultures (note that Romans saw German meat culture as barbaric. Romans would have eaten meat, but not as primary food (note, later, Christian calendars with meatless and fasting days). Christianity coming from Med culture, has bread and wine as liturgical symbols. Unification of these cultures produces European food culture, balancing bread and meat. Implications for gastronomy.
  • Playing with Time
  • no seasons in Eden or Land of Cockainge.
  • Food culture developed by prolonging and stopping time, through species variation and food storage. examples 14-15. "man made putrefaction a means to a useful end" cheese, cured meats.
  • The fascination of culinary history....17
  • Playing with Space
  • goal of transcending spatial limits to food, transportation. Nice story from the Mantuan court of Gonzaga. "good horse and a full purse". involves concept of "terroir".
  • Conflicts
  • food systems are not nec. harmonious (esp. given what is at stake in a food insecure world). Medieval system was a class based system of control of food production. Peasant rebellions over restricing forest access. Robin Hood. famine image: scene of farmers at the city gate starving. conflicts between lords also about food, cities taxed area villages in food. Irish food famine of 1846 due to English control of food. (can't live on potatoes).
  • examples of movements of food in global trades cultures. For Columbus ( int. term "Columbian exchange") and age of conquest, exploitation was avowed purpose.
  • Original text in "bio-history".

12: FEB 21


  • Jonathan Silvertown, Dinner with Darwin, Chapters 1-5.

Short Writing Assignment #1: 600 words

  • Stage 1: Please write an 600 word maximum answer to the following question by Wednesday, February 27, 11:59pm.
  • Topic: What do critics of industrial food mean by "industrial food" and what are the most significant and authoritative criticisms of industrial food and the industrial food system? Are there healthy industrial foods?
  • Advice about collaboration: I encourage you to collaborate with other students, but only up to the point of sharing ideas, references to class notes and readings, and your own notes. Collaboration is part of the academic process and the intellectual world that college courses are based on, so it is important to me that you have the possibility to collaborate. It's a great way to make sure that a high average level of learning and development occurs. The best way to avoid plagiarism is to NOT share text of draft answers or outlines of your answer. Keep it verbal. Generate your own examples.
  • Prepare your answer and submit it in the following way:
  1. Do not put your name in the file or filename. You may put your student id number in the file. Put a word count in the file.
  2. In Word, check "File" and "Options" to make sure your name does not appear as author. You may want to change this to "anon" for this document.
  3. Format your answer in double spaced text in a 12 point font, using normal margins.
  4. Save the file in the ".docx" file format using the file name "SW1".
  5. Log in to Upload your file to the Q&W dropbox.
  • Stage 2: Please evaluate four student answers and provide brief comments and a score. Review the Assignment Rubric for this exercise. We will only be using the Flow and Content areas of the rubric for this assignment. Complete your evaluations and scoring by Thursday, March 7, 2019, 11:59pm.
  • Use this Google Form to evaluate four peer papers. The papers will be on the Sharepoint site under Student Writing, but please do not edit these files or add comments directly on them. This will compromise your anonymity.
  • To determine the papers you need to peer review, I will send you a key with animal names in alphabetically order, along with saint names. You will find your animal name and review the next four (4) animals' work.
  • Some papers may arrive late. If you are in line to review a missing paper, allow a day or two for it to show up. If it does not show up, go ahead and review enough papers to get to four reviews. This assures that you will get enough "back evaluations" of your work to get a good average for your peer review credit. (You will also have an opportunity to challenge a back evaluation score of your reviewing that is out of line with the others.)
  • Stage 3: I will grade and briefly comment on your writing using the peer scores as an initial ranking. Assuming the process works normally, I will give you the higher of the two grades. Up to 21 points in Q&W.
  • Stage 4: Back-evaluation: After you receive your peer comments and my evaluation, take a few minutes to fill out this quick "back evaluation" rating form: [31]. Fill out the form for each reviewer, but not Alfino. Up to 10 points, in Q&W.
  • Back evaluations are due Friday, March 22nd, 2019, 11:59pm.

Silverton, Jonathan. Dinner with Darwin, Chapters 1-4

  • Chapter 1: An Invitation to Dinner
  • Example of the kind of knowledge he's after: eggs, milk, and flour are foods that nourish offspring.
  • Importance of artificial selection in study of evolution of foods. domestication and cultivars.
  • Egg -- big development - the dry egg enclosed in amnion -- allows reproduction away from water.
  • Seed -- also a story about evolving for reproduction away from water.
  • 6: How you can use genetic information to know that our ancestors (30-70 million years!) breast fed & laid eggs.
  • Likewise, evolutionary approaches to plants (and their defenses) help us understand our gastronomic interests in them, from flavor of spices to medicinal effects.
  • You could say we are the species that takes other species baby food. Omnivore would be a polite term, I guess.
  • Chapter 2: A Cooking Animal
  • Evolutionary context -- A hominin fantasy dinner:
  • Lucy - australopithecus afarensis - first upright, also a climber, 3.8 - 2.95 mya, mostly vegetarian, teeth for lots of chewing, but could also process meat. (many hours a day) 15: contemp research with Koko! Only since 2015 have we learned that lots of hominins used tools for processing foods. (recall homo sapiens only 200,000 ya)
  • We need to save a chair between Lucy and Handy Man -- maybe the 2013 Ethiopian fossil jaw is the first "homo".
  • Homo habilis "handy man" - 2.3 mya.
  • Homo erectus - 1.9 mya, 4' tall, smaller teeth suggest less chewing more meat. cooked food. we know that all-meat diets lead to "meat toxicity" so erectus must also have eaten carbs or fats. (Intuit rely on the fat in their meaty diet.) probably ate sedges and tubers. they would still need tools to scrape the tubers. We don't have the digestive system needed to survive on a raw food diet (21) like Lucy.
  • But when did erectus become a cook? loss of gene for strengthening the jaw about 7 mya. so might be early in erectus' span. Value of cooking: digestibility, energy, inactivates toxins, (and saves time!). Brain is 2% of body weight but uses 20% of energy. Metabolic rates for humans 27% higher than for chimps.
  • Homo Heidelbergensis - 700,000 ya, 30% larger brain, not much chin. had access to fire on demand. nice spear.
  • Homo neandertalensis - evolved outside of africa, tooth scum and feces tell us about their diet. meaty diet with some greens. 27: burnt food remains from cave
  • Denisovans -- 2010 discovery.
  • Sets the stage for homo sapiens (200,000 ya)
  • Chapter 3: Shellfish
  • mussels an ancient food for humans.
  • 30: interesting news of our near extinction. combo of mussels and tubors (maybe onions) also ancient. Mention as standard in legume recipes.
  • 32: first unsuccessful exit from Africa 100,000 ya around Med. to Levant. Homo sapiens leave Africa sucessfully about 72,000 ya. The Singular Event. possibly fueled by shellfish and population growth, necessitating migration. Recall hunter gatherer land use. Account of migratory paths of homo sapiens. incursions inland at toward Europe and in East Asia.
  • Darwin mention of shellfish and contemporary evidence of prevalence and immensity of shellfish middens.
  • Chatper 4: Bread -- Domestication
  • first processed food. emmer, recovered from 3,000 ya egyptian tomb along with mini-bakery for the after life.
  • 37: Fertile Crescent domestications: einkorn wheat (made at Grain Shed!), wheat, barley, lentil, pea, ceci, vetch, flax, fava. Amazing.
  • Relation of climate to suitability of wild plants to domestication: short life, fecundity (associated with annuals), large seed size. Nutrient density of einkorn in relation to calories to harvest. In 3 weeks a family might gather a year's supply. food/population dynamic
  • Lesson on plant genetics of cereal grains: artificial selection for non-shattering seeds in domesticated varieties. Also a nice marker of cultivation. Also, seed dormancy and grain size. Allows selection for other climates. Hence, canadian wheat.
  • Big event in cereal cultivation for humans: cross of emmer and goatgrass. Produced wheat! Date uncertain. Huge genome perfect for producting cultivars. landraces. "terroir"
  • We are parasites on our crops.
  • Story of Russian plant breeder Nikolai Ivanovich Vavilov (1887-1943).
  • Teff
  • WW2 story about the seige of seeds in Leningrad. saved Vavilovs work. Huge effect on human food security in Russia.
  • Rye - an accidental domesticate. Note characteristics.
  • Gene-culture co-evolution story. Populations with high starch diets have higher average numbers of copies of alpha-amalase genes (secreted in mouth). But then starch digestion happens in the stomach... Maybe the high amalyse people are more efficient still. But then you'd look for more blood glucose from them after eating bread. But its lower! Current view: High amalyse copy people do benefit from this adaptation: mouth digestion offers advance warning of need for insulin, better at avoiding spikes from cereal grains in the diet.

Primate family tree.gif

Brain size.png

13: FEB 26


  • Dinner with Darwin, C5-8
  • Pet theory of the day: Palette shift.

Silverton, Jonathan. Dinner with Darwin, Chapters 5-8

  • 5: Soup
  • Umami (savory)
  • 1909 Kikunae Ikeda. broth of dried bonito and seaweed. discovered the flavor linked to glutamic acid. salts of the same - sodium glutamate - MSG.
  • evo-expl for glutamates in seaweed. through osmosis, maintains cell hydration in saline environment.
  • [Dashi So, what is Dashi?]
  • glutamates also in tomatoes and parmesean cheese -- pasta marinara explained.
  • Why do we taste umami? Marker for protein and nutrients. breast milk 10x glutamate of cow milk.
  • Isn't MSG just salt? 58: salt not detected below 1:400. socium glutamate detected to 1:3,000 - umami taste varies. some people just report salt. early 21st century, pair of proteins isolated for umami receptors in tongue.
  • Salt
  • two salt tasting receptors, one for low concentrations one for high.
  • Bitter - green in cabbage family - from glucosinolates - defensive for insects.
  • Also, compounds in tea, alkaloids, bitter. also in chocolate, poisons like strychnine and drugs like cocaine.
  • Lots of compounds trigger bitter, but also animals vary in range of bitter receptors. cats 6, mice 35, humans 25. Whether bitterness is experienced as good or bad depends upon the "smell image" (brain interaction with tongue/olfactory bulb).
  • Sour
  • mild acid, in unripe fruit to prevent eating early. sour signals acids that might be dangerous for our cells, but mild sour is pleasant.
  • kids 5-9 have heightened sour tolerance. theories 65: encourage nutrient consumption, but why not after 9? or, broadens palette in kids.
  • example of individual variation in sour detection. PTC polymorphism - 65 funny story about scientists going to the zoo in Edinburgh 1939 to investigate.
  • 6: Fish
  • fish smell from TMA, releases ammonia, functions to maintain water balance in live fish.
  • Smell
  • Is it true that humans have an impoverished sense of smell?
  • Differences between taste and smell -- 1. taste has more possibilities: 35 receptors for bitter; 400 for OR (olfactory receptors) -- really 600 with alleles. 2. individual wiring. 70
  • Evolutionary explanation: We had less need for smell once we started walking upright. Might make sense to have smell receptors wired like an alarm and taste receptors for lots of information. mice can smell carbon dioxide? wow.
  • details comparison to elephants: 2,000 OR. rats and mice about 1,000.
  • 72: main discussion of retronasal olfaction - "smell image" (not his term, but in the rno lit) jasmine as sweet - coincidence!
  • We have a taste/smell system that can discriminate a trillion smells, more that visual discrimination.
  • So, we have an impoverished smell alarm system compared to other animals or our past, but a virtually limitless taste palette.
  • back to fish
  • how fish swim, fish have myoglobin in stead of hemoglobin. fish store fuel as oil. up to 20% fat in muscle. rapid acceleration from white muscle found in big predator fish.
  • fish muscle vs. animal muscle -- taste differences.
  • garum -- possibly first industrial food
  • 7: Meat
  • evidence from tapeworms (3 species) that go back 2-2.5 mya. Shared food chains between lions/antelope or hyena prey. evidence from cave art. Not by meat alone, also evidence of grinding technology 32,000 ya for plant consumption. isotopic analysis of human bones shows food preferences. woolly mammoth also good for housing material.
  • Timeline: 72K out of Africa, 40-50k diversity in diet (possibly food/pop dynamic)
  • Ohalo II (current Israel): wheat, barley (bread cakes), fish, but also gazelle, grebes, ducks and geese, aurochs, pigs, and goats. But by 12,000 ya evidence of large and small animals scare in arch record.
  • food/pop dynamic: live births 5.4 in hunt/gatherers. 9.7 with farming. One of the main products of agriculture is humans.
  • domestication stories: modern chicken from red jungle fowl (cross bred with grey jungle fowl for yellow skin color), Asia. Chicken houses of Rapa Nui
  • 90: the remarkable navigational skills of the polynesians. what I learned today.... Sheep.... Cattle from Aurochs, but european cattle not descended from European aurochs.
  • disgression on "rewilding" - Modern Aurochs
  • Fertile Crescent animal domestication was from local stocks.
  • Domestication syndrome --- less seasonal breeding, piebald coast, shorter muzzles, smaller teeth, smaller brains, curly tails, juvenile and docile behavior. Demonstrated by Russian wolf breeding experiment to be linked to selection for docility. Possible explanation in the "neural crest" - structure in embryo. docile might also select for other characteristics of the neural crest. still no certain theory.

14: FEB 28


  • Rachel Lauden, Cusine and Empire Introduction and Chapter 1, "Mastering Grain Cookery, 20,000 to 300 bce", p. 1-55

Lauden, Rachel, C1, "Mastering Grain Cookery"

General Claims and Inferences

  • This overview of "grain and root" cooking from 20,000 ya should expand your sense of human foods in several ways:
  • not just a binary of paleolithic/neolithic (preag/ag). Cooking grains goes back 20K.
  • long before bread, grain cookery produced cakes, porridges, pottages, ashcakes, flatbreads, pasta, etc. Maize isn't just corn on the cob, but tortilla, polenta, etc.
  • alot of grain in the ancient world went to beer production
  • before markets, people still had to make calculations of labor calories for food calories. Lauden argues that root cuisines could not support cities (details at 31-32, also 35). Still, grains are also labor intensive.
  • Cooking, Cuisines, and Ancient Culinary philosophy
  • Cooking - p. 11 --
  • "Cuisine" is more than the foods themselves. A Cuisine represents a system of food production (food system, and cooking skills) that represent a life sustaining diet. But a culinary philosophy relates our cuisine to larger structures (43), :
  • a principle of hierarchy - nomad, peasant, poor town dweller, ....noble. Monarch's status connected to power to protect harvest. (Power to feed fed power.) moral theory of food values. 44.
  • a sacrificial bargain - gets replaced by universal religions and personal salvation. like the transaction with monarch. includes human sacrifice. blood never neutral in cuisine. Either strong positive or negative.
  • a theory of the culinary cosmos -- Fire thought to be a thing, not just kinetic energy. analogy of fire from sun in growth to fire in cooking. also, heat in the belly.
  • "Culinary philosophy - relates us to divinity, society, and the natural world (2), also, new political and philosophical ideas affect cuisines (6) (ex. Buddhist cuisines) -- "Food situates us." 50 (story of Tuscan friend)
  • Group Discussion: Are there modern equivalents in our food culture for the categories of ancient culinary philosophy? Do we engage in hierarchical eating? Have we made some other kind of bargain with the forces that we believe sustain our food security? Do we have a culinary cosmos?

Reading Notes

  • Introduction - core idea for the book from her Hawaii book. Movements of food, technology, and technique get consolidated into cuisines that spread, often in connection with power and empire or nation state. Wants to displace an older story in which high cuisine is an evolution from humble cuisine.
  • Hypothesizes 10 global cuisines, all based on roots and grains.
  • 1,000 bc - 50 million humans, cities no larger than 10,000. Cooking already for up to 2 million years.
  • Major change: technology to harvest food from hard seed of herbaceous plants (grains) Lake Kinneret site (Sea of Galilee) 19.4K ya. Only grain cultures were able to support cities.
  • Cuisines of the Yellow River (18), Yangzte River (19), and barley wheat cuisines of Turkey, Mediterranean.
  • 24ff: the sacrificial feast. Note food hierarchies, 25.
  • Carribean and South American cassava and potato cuisines. Maize Cuisine of Mesoamerica. Corn 7,000 bc, by 3,000 maize extends into Ecuador.
  • high vs. humble cuisine.
  • high cuisines heavy in meats, sweets, fats, and intoxicants. highly processed ingredients (whiter flour). luury foods, appetizers (70% of calories)
  • humble cuisines - roots or grains with greens. 80-90% of population, 70-75% of calories from this.
  • humble eaters shorter, less energetic, and less clever. malnutrition in pregnancy is a horror for development....
  • town poor vs. country poor -- town poor often fared better. "The chicken is the country's but the city eats it". Below the peasant was the nomad.

15: MAR 5


  • Ethics Day 1
  • Chamowitz, What a Plant Knows. Chapter 1, "What a Plant Sees"
  • Fischer, Bob, "Arguments for Consuming Animal Products" (241-253)
  • Alfino, "Report of the Mission to Colony B"

Food Ethics thought experiment: Report of the Mission....

  • types of thought experiments...this one is intended to be heuristic. Reading it, you should feel that your intuitions were reasonably challenged by the fictional scenario and that the options provided for locating a "view" for your intuition make sense.
  • goal of this thought experiment: isolate intuitions about the acceptability of animal food from sentient, intelligent animals, under evolutionary challenges parallel to ours. Using domesticated humans as the test animal, the thought tries to include an intuition based on "place taking", "What if it happened to us?"
  • Small Group Experience
  • Discuss the thought experiment as if you had been on the Mission. Do the positions: "speciesist" (SP), "symbiotic carnivores" (SC), or "recent vegan" (RV) make sense? Are there other positions?
  • Fill out this form reporting your group's experience with the thought experiment.

Brief Lecture on Typical Food Ethics Arguments

  • Absolutist or categorical arguments (either direction) vs. incrementalist arguments (parallel to climate arguments, imperatives, but open to excuses).
  • Extensionism
  • Agrarianism, Sustainability, Evo-Eco Aproaches
  • Spirituality based Food Ethics - including hunter's spirituality and native peoples' practices.
  • Extensionism - term for a group of ethical arguments which extend principles of human morality to animals
  • utilitarians extend principle of equal happiness and principle of utility. suffer of animals extraordinary (consider ind/non-ind), age at slaughter an issue. Most utilitarian analyses argue against animal consumption. (Digression on story re: Animal Liberation, 1975)
  • Core intuition of the utilitarian extensionalist: equal consideration, anti-speciesist, anti-suffering.
  • rights theorist argue for the extension of rights to animals. Most rights scheme would prohibit eating animals categorically.
  • Core intuition of the rights extensionalist: any creature that is a "subject of their life" has inherent value, must be treated as ends in themselves.
  • Good, bad, and problematic things about extensionalist approaches:
  • Good:
  • Singer's argument came at a time of low concern about animal suffering and had an impact. The law has lots of flexibility to acknowledge limited rights, prohibitions against animal abuse, for example.
  • Suffering really matters.
  • Bad:
  • Binary -- early versions and many current versions treat the question of the morality of eating animals as an all or nothing question, but this seems to be assumed in the binary character of extentionalism. What if it's ok to eat for some people to eat some meat sometimes? (Fischer, 249, exceptions)
  • Hyper-rational approach: Articulating and applying principles is a basic function of moral thought, but morality is also embedded in social practices. Food has no moral significance prior to the analysis. But is food morally neutral?
  • Non-ecological - Non-evolutionary -- For eco-systemic health, you might have to cause animal suffering (eg. elim of invasive species); Trophic relationships matter morally, not only in neg way.
  • Problematic -- these arguments don't seem to convince very many people. Why?
  • Mention of current project: [32]

Age of Slaughter vs. Natural Life Span

  • Note that the more symmetrically you see animal and human interests, the more likely this information is to be problematic.
  • Pigs: Slaughtered at 6 months young; Natural life span: 6 to 10 years
  • Chickens: Slaughtered at 6 weeks young; Natural life span: 5 to 8 years for those birds bred as "egg layers" such as Rhode Island Reds; 1 to 4 years for factory layer breeds such as leghorns; and 1 to 3 years for "meat" breeds.
  • Turkeys: Slaughtered at 5 to 6 months young; Natural life span: 2 to 6 years
  • Ducks/Geese: Slaughtered at 7 to 8 weeks young; Natural life span: domestic ducks: 6 to 8 years; geese from 8 to 15 years.
  • Cattle: “Beef” cattle slaughtered at 18 months young; dairy cows slaughtered at 4 to 5 years young; Natural life span: 18 to 25+ years
  • Veal Calves: Slaughtered at 16 weeks young; Natural life span: 18 to 25+ years
  • Goats: Slaughtered at 3 to 5 months young; Natural life span: 12 to 14 years
  • Rabbits: Slaughtered at 10 to 12 weeks young; Natural life span: 8 to 12+ years
  • Lambs: Slaughtered at 6 to 8 weeks young for “young lamb” and under 1 year for all other; Natural life span: 12 to 14 years
  • Horses/Donkeys: Slaughter age varies; Natural life span: 30 to 40 years

Fischer, Bob, "Arguments for Consuming Animal Products"

  • This article takes a unique approach to animal and food ethics arguments by looking for arguments to justify meat eating, rather than arguments for morally prohibiting it. Notice that the more difficult it is to justify, the more likely the anti-arguments need your consideration.
  • Intro
  • "man on the street" intuitions: health, natural, nice, normal. Not very promising starts.
  • organization: survey of arguments:
  • 1. "ought" or "may" eat meat;
  • 2. practices: animal friendly ok; industrial ok; insects, oysters, roadkill, wild animals
  • 3. arguments based on empirical assumptions about moralying interesting traits: sentience, sustainability
  • 4. arguments based on standard ethical approaches: utility, rights, contracts, biocentrism, speciesism (this is the approach he takes)
  • Utilitarians arguments favoring consumption of animal products (or problems with simple utilitarian arguments against meat)
  • might focus on hunting or eating a whale (loss of utility of one big animal vs. pleasure of many)
  • 1st objection to simple utility args: causal impotence argument: "If no particular purchase makes a diff, then no collective difference either."
  • might argue against utility of meat eating (Garrett 244) since veg diet gives longer life, but this doesn't make a categorical prohibition since moderate meat eating not bad for you and includes gustatory pleasures.
  • 2nd objection to simple utility args: Replacability argument (Singer): loss of utility to animal you kill is made up for by creating a new animal. Like "Logic of the Larder" argument (Salt): we do animals a favor by creating them, so this offsets their loss of utility in being eaten.
  • Fischer points out that we would not dream of applying these arguments to humans (ones with cog disabilities, growing a human as organ donor, etc.). Also, these arguments don't consider disutility of animal productions (environment, utilities lost to inefficiency (e.g. hung relief))
  • 3rd objection to simple utility args: veg/vegan diets have disutilities as well: killing animals that eat crops. Maybe optimal reduction of killing found in some meat consumption. (animals killed per hectare) Empirical evidence here is pretty speculative.
  • roadkill arguments! West Virginia Road Kill Cookoff.... also, entomophagy: incects, mealworms, crickets. Oysters (bivalves), scallops, clams
  • Rights based arguments
  • Tom Regan's rights argument for respecting inherent value of individuals still allows for liberty principle to handle "life boat" cases. Hugh Lehman argues that humans are in such a circumstance due to their nutritional needs. Others (George) suggest that specific groups of individuals like kids and nursing women are allow to eat animals under Regan's theory. Fischer doubts this justifies industrial animal ag and is sceptical of the empirical claims.
  • Cuneo offers another version of this kind of argument, not killing is too great a burden on rights.
  • Animal rights deniers: Reductio: if animals had rights, we'd have to stop them killing each other. Even if this is extreme, it is hard to justify animal experimentation if animals have right.
  • Denying direct duty theories: Singer and Regan argue that animals have rights because of properties (sentience or being the subject of a life) that confer a direct duty on us not to violate their rights by eating them. Without direct duties, harming animals is only wrong when it violates someone else's rights (like someone who owns the animal). This contractarian view denies moral standing to animals. A weakness of this view is that it might not be strong enough to guarantees rights to all humans.
  • New Speciesism, Environmentalism, and Human Goods
  • Maybe we have a justified partiality to our species, and maybe that's enough to justify reserving the "right not to be eaten" for us.
  • Problems for new speciesists: marginal cases. messed up humans. Timothy Hsaio gives theoretical expression to this: capacity for rational agency is what is morally important. privileges meat consumption as a moral interest humans have, while absence of pain in animals is non-moral interest. This could justify factory farming since the human moral interest is categorically superior to all animal pain.
  • Problems (255): rationality account is essentialist, but hard to believe after Darwin; non-empirical; nutritional argument not sound.
  • Environmental and Agrarian approaches
  • Leopold: "a thing is right when it preserves the integrity and stability and beauty of the biotic community"
  • naive biocentrism might support eating animals: predation is characteristic of beautiful biotic communities. Problem: Could lead to eco-fascism: humans could be seen as scourge of biotic community. Callicott's communitarianism. We are in multiple communities. Meat eating is a deeply embedded practice of a community. (But then communities often question their practices, like human sacrifice and slavery...)
  • Wendell Berry's agrarianism takes a different approach. Value on getting nutrition from the land (might be good for Simon Fairley's view). Living involves taking life ("There is no innocent eating."). Scale matters
  • Fischer: Problems: not clear that agrarians need to take life. Zamir champions lacto-ovo vegetarianism as ideal. Pet ownership?
  • Summary of key insights of attempts to justify animal consumption
  • 1. Don't forget that plant agriculture involves killing animals too.
  • 2. Don't forget about insects, mollusks, bivalves and road kill.
  • 3. Rights arguments don't yet tell us what we can or cannot do to animals.
  • 4. Ahimsa is fine, but we might need to accept the violence of getting nutrition from the world.
  • I would add two more, somewhat tangential to the article:
  • 1. You have many choices to reduce suffering in your diet. They all require information and many require cooking skills and new dishes. Reducing suffering in your diet will raise the cost of your food.
  • 2. If you don't eat meat, you won't impact the total number of food animals raised, but you won't be complicit in it.

Chamowitz, C1, "What a Plant Sees"

  • what can plants see: color and light changes in environment, directionality of light, durations of light/dark,
  • presents parallel mechanisms of human and plant "sight"
  • human sight: human retina, 125 million rods/ 6 million cones. rhodopsin and photopsins absorb light at different frequencies. Also, cryptochrome for circadian rhythm.
  • plant sight: photoreceptor, phytochrome. result of 1980s Dutch research (Maarten Koorneef) found 11 photoreceptors. Light is part of energy system for plants, so important to have adapted controls. Plants see a larger spectrum, but not in pictures. Both process light and respond to changes. Plants and humans both have circadian rhythms.
  • Darwin
  • phototropism - plant movement toward light. Darwin & son simple experiment to exclude photosynthesis as cause: phototropism observable in dark.
  • photoperiodism - plants response to intervals and amounts of light exposure. From timing flowering plants like chrysanthemums, we learned about the red light / far red light "switch" (1950s!)

16: MAR 7


  • Ethics Day 2
  • Chamowitz, What a Plant Knows. Chapter 5, "How a Plant Knows Where It Is"
  • Fischer, Bob, "Arguments for Consuming Animal Products" (253-266) (For notes, see March 5)

Chamowitz, C5, "How a Plant Knows Where It Is"

  • University of Florence biology professor, Stefano Mancuso, on plant intelligence, 2010 and 2015.
  • watch the whole thing for strong claims about plant consciousness. But some clips 11:38 to 15:00 for now.
  • How does a plant know which way to send its roots? which way is up?
  • can't just be light or moisture. banyon and mangroves start roots in mid air.
  • Basics of Proprioception in humans 92
  • 102: while we have one set of "gravireceptors" (in the ear), plants have distinct receptors and mechanisms for roots and shoots.
  • "statoliths" in root tip and endodermis like "otoliths" in our ears.
  • Further mechanisms for bending and tracking light. auxin, circumnutation (as in Mancuso video)

UN FAO report and Simon Fairlie's "default animal production" argument

  • UN FAO report, "Livestock's Long Shadow". 2006. Claimed meat production had bigger impact on climate change than the transpo sector. Also, that 18% of the cause of climate change might be from meat production.
  • Some criticisms of the report have emerged. See [33] "meat vs. miles" debate: [34]
  • WorldWatch claims the right number is 51%, but others say it is 3-9%.
  • Simon Fairlie's criticisms: FAO accepts industrial ag model CAFOs, and demand curve for meat. Includes effects of deforestation, but that wouldn't nec. be part of a sustainability discussion. Challenges the feed conversion ratio for meat. 10:1. In some cases it is much less.
  • Simon Fairlie's "default animal production" argument
  • We should think of meat as a luxury. Like many other luxury foods. Not sustainable at high levels of production.
  • The relationship between meat production and environmental impact is not linear:

Meat consumption curve.png

  • Sources of non-human food that would be wasted with zero animal production:
  • food processing waste
  • crop residues (gleaners)
  • food waste
  • slaughter waste
  • grazing on marginal land, fields in rotation.
  • Agrarians would argue that getting nutrition from the earth is a complex process and difficult process. We should try to maximize efficiency of food production within constraints of dispersed, small scale production. It's hard for an agrarian to waste non-human foods that could be turned into animal food, but you could also be a vegan agrarian.

17: MAR 19


  • Bread Day
  • Barber, Dan. Chapter 30: "Bread" (pp. 382-409)

Barber, Dan. Chapter 30: "Bread" (pp. 382-409)

  • Introductory story of the tomato fungus. fungus worse because spread from trucks, but also highlighting varietal system. Mountain Magics resist blight fungus and still taste good. We meet the Cornell breeders of this variety. Theme of the chapter: how does the work of plant breeders affect the food system, especially flavor and yield. Story of Flvr Savr Calgene's gmo industrial tomato. discontinued.
  • Background on Land grant breeeding programs. 1862, with USDA, experiment station, extension service added in 1914. Can have negative effects from success. Breeding programs raised yields, but also lowered prices. 388: description of the work of the breeder. Really agriculture's artists.
  • Terroir for wheat? Aragon 03, kept alive in a corner of Spain, in high demand.
  • Palouse Heritage -- take a look at the landrace/heirloom food system for cereal terroir in the Northwest.
  • Steve Jones, formerly of WSU, now Washington State Resaearch and Extention Center, Mt Vernon (and Bread Lab) background story - how land grant seed banks work, fateful meeting with Monsanto, 1880 Bayh-dole Act. by 1990s majority funding from private industry.
    • Specialty wheat in Skagit Valley. (So, if wheat were a fresh crop, we would also be supporting crop rotation over syn fertilizers.)
  • Nice narrative moment with the farmers and Jones. Interesting point about how the flavor yield trade off occurs more in plant that have been selected for size and water. Harder to ramp up flavor with all that water. Also, older wheat variety had higher nutrition. Claim of 50% more calcium, iron, and zinc.
  • Digress on Fall 2018 Florence "Ancient Grains Seminar" (Sharepoint)
  • Jones wants to move beyond heirloom varieties. Still ways to improve and diversify strains.

18: MAR 21


  • Andrews, Geoff. Chapter 2: "The Critique of 'Fast Life'" The Slow Food Story (pp. 29-47).
  • Practicum: Diet Review and Revision Exercise (optional) Phase 1 ends. Papers due in Practicum Dropbox. Phase 2 begins - finish by April 18
  • Practicum: Food Investigation due in Practicum dropbox.

Andrews, Chapters 1 & 2, The Slow Food Story

Chapter 1, "Politics in Search of Pleasure"

(This wasn't assigned for us, but I have these notes to share:)

  • context for slow food: social movements of the 60's and 70's. (Italian counter-culture.)
  • low power radio stations common means: Radio Bra Onde Rosse.
  • politics at Club Tenco, also the pursuit of pleasure.
  • revival of traditional festivals: the singing for eggs (Cante i'euv)
  • 1982 incident: Montalcino Sagra del Tordo (thrush) Mention Arci clubs.
  • in play: Is the pursuit of pleasure through healthy food and culture a capitalist bourgeoisie plot or a fundamental right to be advocated politically?
  • formation of an "Arci Gola" (appetite)
  • projects: Gambero Rosso, wine guides, Osterie d'Italia, guides to osterie.
  • 1986: wine poisoning scandal. McDonalds opens in Rome at Spanish Steps.
  • Slow Food Manifesto
  • parallel movement in US embodied on story of Alice Waters, founder of Chez Panisse. Pollan also finds sources of these ideas in 1960s US counter-culture.
  • Eco-gastronomy -- (a great sub-field of food study, by the way! cf. Dan Berber, The Third Plate) and the "politics of aesthetics" (only partly in line with Marxism). (So Carlo Petrini is another candidate for Gramsci's authentic intellectual.)
  • Projects: international food exhibitions, then Terra Madre (2004), related movements in Germany (Greens)
  • slow food also has a conservative dimension. Restoration and preservation of historical food systems.

Chapter 2, "The Critique of 'Fast Life'"

  • some key dates: McDonald's in Rome, 1986, incident between the two arci chapters (a moment in which politics and gastronomy interact to great effect!).
  • critique of "productivity culture"; efficiency vs. frenzy; idea that you need to live faster because other things are accelerating (financial trade volume, sale, news cycles, social media posting and communication)
  • critique includes resistance to corporate formations and rationalizations (degradation) of taste. Slow Food is tied to leftist politics, but also has a US upper middle class "face" in the US site. [35]
  • Castell's theory of time-space compression -- capitalism more and more about speed of transactions. circuluation of capital. (on edge of a big discussion about the future of work - piece work is coming back).
  • Counter view of Charles Leadbeater and others: fast culture is the answer, the problem is that we have all of these institutions from the 19th century and earlier slowing us down.
  • Ritzer's "McDonaldization of Society" -- "globalization of nothing" (social forms centrally conceived, centrally controlled and lacking in context).
  • Schlosser, Fast Food Nation:
  • 1970 6 billion on fast food; ("million" in the text is a mistake)
  • 2001 110 billion
  • 2010 200 billion (not in text)
  • British "trolley towns"; American suburbs. globalization of construction and architecture.
  • Petrini on slowness: p. 39 read
  • Slow cities: features of slow cities

Small Group Discussion

  • Identify 3-5 ways that you might implement slow food culture in your life?
  • Does Slow Food culture require a loss of productivity?
  • Is Slow Food culture bourgeois?
  • Can you implement Slow culture and still participate in industrial culture?

19: MAR 26


  • Note: This week and next week are heavy reading weeks. Please plan ahead.
  • Montgomery, David. Chapter 1: "Good Old Dirt" Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations(pp. 1-9);
  • Montgomery, David. Chapter 2: "Skin of the Earth" Dirt(pp. 9-25);
  • Montgomery, David. Chapter 3: "Rivers of Life" (pp. 27-47)


  • some claims that we have challenged in the course:
  • Your gut is only full of waste.
  • Food is only nutrients.
  • Plants aren't aware.
  • Animals don't have lives.
  • And now, there are ecosystems in the soil.

Chapter 2, "Skin of the Earth"

  • Darwin's studies of worms. Worms are moving a heck of a lot of dirt. 10-20 tons per acre per year. digestive juices.
  • Note the recentness of our lack of knowledge of this. Also why antiquities sink.
  • Darwin's calculations were off: underestimated the time scale for effects. Didn't know about isostasy - a process which lifts rock as well. But did understand soil formation as breakdown of minerals.
  • 15: overview of soil ecology relationships. even theories that soil formation was involved in first forms of organismic life.
  • guanine and cytosine in clay-rich solutions.
  • 15-16: overview of plant colonization of cooling earth (350 mya). earth plant life accelerated soil formation. lots of other physical and chemical processes (17).
  • nitrogen fixation (18): note mechanism. "nitrogen fixing plant" a misnomer.
  • effects of agriculture:
  • tilling releases nutrients, but also disrupts soil life, short-totation farming reduces soil diversity, increases vulnerability to parasites,
  • Note how starting your account of food from soil gives you deeper sense of your trophic relationships.
  • you are what you eat. you are what you eat eats.

Chapter 3, "Rivers of Life"

  • connection between humanity and soil in language: adama (earth) hava (living). We are living earth. In Latin "homo" from "humus", living soil.
  • short digression on "food ontology" -- some candidate answers, but then if we take the linguistic associations literally, how would we define food?
  • suggest myth of the garden represents transition to agriculture.
  • 20,000 years ago - last major glaciation (though not a single event). Europe freezes, Africa dries.
  • 2 million years ago - earliest evidence of migration of homo erectus from Africa. separation from Neanderthal (note some evidence that we ate 'em [36]),
  • 300,000 year ago - first modern humans.
  • 45,000 years ago - another wave of migration from Africa (movement occurred in both directions).
  • 30,000 years ago - sharp stone tools (much later than the handaxe .5 mya) and at 23,000 yrs bows and arrows
  • Human Evolution Timeline
  • modifications in skin color and other features a response to UV radiation and Vitamin D production, selection effect.
  • emergence of agriculture
  • oasis and cultural evolution theories. p 30 - problem wit oasis theory - food variety in mid-east expanding at time of agriculture. problem with cultural evolution theory -- not everyone adopted ag (though in other examples, like hand axes, everyone does adopt).
  • increasing population density -- agriculture a forced option. Note climate of the Levant 13 - 11,000bc - major food abundance. could have supported population explosion.
  • mini-glaciation at 10,000 bc called the Younger Dryas -- recovered pollen samples drop by 3/4 -- decrease precip. forests recede.
  • site evidence from Abu Hureyra, on Tigris -- evidence of cultivation of grains, drought tolerant ones, for example.
  • more work to produce a calorie at start of agriculture --(digress on Ian Morris). population grew to six thousand. evidence of settlements chose for ag condition.
  • note -- using evidence from burnt food remains, we can track the migration of food, independently of human migration.
  • the dog -- 20,000 not food. possible self-domestication of cats. times for domesticate livestock. animal labor.
  • after agriculture, population doubles every 1,000 years.
  • by 5,000 bc, evidence of overcultivation in Tigris valley, hillside erosion. emergence of irrigation.
  • very interesting: Mesopotamian religious elite controlled food production and distribution. (Later we'll see that Jewish authorities do the same in the Levant). population growth. Uruk grows to 50,000. agruculture bring property, inequality (vs. hunter gatherers -- Morris), class, gov't administration, (philosophers). Writing 3,000 bc - (mention Field Museum in Chicago).
  • back to the environment -- irrigation led to salination of the soil, silting of rivers -- 39-40 evidence of lack of understanding of soil.
  • story in Egypt - p. 40 on: short story, the Nile fed civilizations for 7,000 years in rough sustainability, ideal combination of new silt and humus. Harvests increase over time. But, desire to grow grain for export led to year round irriation. 1880's salination extreme. Then Nasser damn.
  • story in China - interesting, administration of ag recognized many grades of soil. Yellow River (name from mineral erosion upstream) damned and diverted starting 340 bc. Process of raising levees around the river led to 30 foot levies by 1920s. 19th century flood killed millions.
  • story of Walter Lowdermilk -- 1922 - working on famine prevention. First to write about soil management and civilization. Follows major river up stream documenting 400 miles of levies and evidence of ancient mismanagement of early ag sites.
  • thesis going forward: Civilizations are defined by their management of soil. And, everyone has messed it up eventually, even the Egyptians.

20: MAR 28


  • Montgomery, David. Chapter 4: "Graveyards of Civilizations" (pp. 49-81)
  • Diamond, Jarred. "Agriculture's Mixed Blessings" (180-191) -- this might be redundant at this point, so just recommended, but give it a quick browse!

Diamond, Ch. 10, "Agriculture's Mixed Blessings" (recommended)

  • Old "progressivist" view
  • Ants practice agriculture and something like animal husbandry
  • Details about the spread of agriculture
  • Advantages of hunter gatherer lifestyle
  • short work week, more leisure
  • better nutrition (in some comparisons)
  • no impact from crop failures
  • paleopathology: what you tell from old bones and cookware
  • health evidence from early adoption of agriculture
  • height, nutrition, cavities, anemia, tb, syphillis, mortality
  • low carb, varied nutrients
  • class structures emerge after agriculture: diff outcomes dep. on class
  • sexual inequality
  • other differences that sustained agriculture
  • increased population density made hunt/gather politically vulnerable
  • hunt/gather requires lots of room
  • agriculture created society that could produce sophisticated art (churches).
  • grants that agriculture led to lots of great things, but also to large populations, which affects the equation about quality of life.

Montgomery, Chapter 4, "Graveyards of Empires"

  • Thesis: Soil degradation doesn't directly cause declines in civilization, but makes civilizations more vulnerable to "hostile neighbors, internal sociopolitical disruption, and harsh winters or droughts."
  • Tikal (Guatamala) - Meso-American (Mayan, in this case) civilization reclaimed by the jungle. 1840s re-discovery. (returns to this at the end).
  • Ancient Greece
  • (In this section, he implies that we tell "false histories" of ancient agriculturalists when we imagine that they took care of their soil.)
  • As land degraded, needed more slaves to feed owners. Sporadic use of fertilizers. Hills around Athens bare by 570 BC (before Plato).
  • Evidence of knowledge of erosion (from hillsides) as public policy, but failure to address it.
  • By time of Peloponnesian War (431-404), Egypt & Sicilian provide 1/3 to 3/4 of food to Greece. (In news this am (2017), Yemen imports 80% of food.)
  • (Comments by Plato and Aristotle on soil degradation.)
  • Greeks repeat pattern of Mesopotamia -- intensified cultivation as population grows. Plow a significant step. p. 54: 1,000 year cycle of soil erosion / pop density decline.
  • Evidence of movement from small diversified farming to large plantations with fewer crops.
  • We associate Greece with olive trees and grapes, but that's partly because they do well in the thin rocky soil left from millennia of soil erosion.
  • Rome
  • 146bc, conquest of Corinth, incorporate of Greece into Empire
  • Research of Vita-Finzi, mid-60s: Was soil erosion (in Libya) from climate change or mismanagement? Found two major periods of hillside erosion: one ancient,attributable to climate, the other dated to late Roman era. Climate also involved when you mismanage soil because land is more vulnerable to climate variation. (Note: In light of climate change, food security (or price stability) might become a greater concern.)
  • Roughly 5,000 to 4,000 bc.: agriculture introduced to Italian pennisula by immigrants.
  • Significance of Bronze Age (2,000bc to 800bc) and Iron Age (500 bc on): depth of plowing and deforestation.
  • 500bc -- highpoint of productivity - 1-5 acres / family. "farmers" had social status.
  • Erosion in south (Campagna) also produced malaria from pooling of water on eroded land.
  • Cato's De Agri Cultura - p.59 Cato brought plump figs from Carthage to the Senate floor, arguing that Carthage was a threat to Rome because of its food productivity. Ended all his speeches with "Carthage must be destroyed." Third Punic War took care of that. Roman model become colonial system of agriculture around N. Africa and Sicily. Pliny the Elder (23-79ad)
  • Varo, De re Rustica, 117bc, focused on intensive high yield ag for the times.
  • Like Greece, Romans in Empire Period relied heavily on slaves to feed them.
  • Difference in Roman case: extensive knowledge of hubandry. 1960s studies of erosion around Rome: 1" a year before the Via Cassia was built, 1"per 200 years after.
  • substory: emergence of the latifundia system of agriculture in 2nd cent bc due, in part to post-war availability of cheap land, lots of slaves. 63
  • by 300 ad, productivity of central Italy dramatically declined. Campagna.
  • Empire needed to annex parts of N. Africa to secure food. Mid-80s UNESCO research moved us away from climate explanation for decline.
  • 30bc - Egypt becomes a colonial food source. after Cleopatra dies. Emperor Augustus (1st cent ad) forbade senators and nobles from entering Egypt due to fear of its ag power.67
  • story of 19th American, George Perkins March, research in Italy on soil erosion. early hypothesis of Roman land misuse. land doesn't always recover.
  • North Africa - Mideast
  • Lowdermilk in Tunisia, Algieria. Then on to Levant. Lebanon and Israel.
  • Back to Tikal and the Mayan case
  • Maize domestication about 2000bc. greatest erosion around 600-900ad, along with evidence steep population decline. from 1million in 3rd c. ad. to 1/2 that 200 years later.
  • mechanisms: slash and burn agriculture. fertility declines. but worked at low population levels.
  • lots of studies of silting and erosion. p. 75ff.
  • General points:
  • Soil degradation characteristic of major civilizations. Usually the result of over-exploitation of resources in the face of population growth.
  • Soil degradation not the sole cause of civilization decline, but it "leaves societies vulnerable to hostile neighbors, internal sociopolitical disruption, and harsh winters or droughts"
  • Reflected in commitments to slavery, expansion, and exploitation of neighbors.
  • Happens regardless of knowledge of good practices.
  • Often in connection with development of a food export industry.
  • Civilizations which left records often assigned blame to climate change, disappearance of water sources. (Remarkable exceptions include famous intellectuals like Pliny the Elder, Tertulian, Plato, Aristotle.)

21: APR 2


  • Montgomery, David. Chapter 7: "Dust Blow" (pp. 145-179)
  • Montgomery, David. Chapter 8: "Dirty Business" (pp. 179-215);

Montgomery, Chapter 7: Dust Blow

  • Major soils accumulations around the globe due to glacial action. Including: The Great Plains, US
  • Once ploughed the "loess" becomes vulnerable to drying and blowing away. (loess: "a loosely compacted yellowish-gray deposit of windblown sediment of which extensive deposits occur, e.g., in eastern China and the American Midwest.")
  • Tractor increased ploughable acerage per farmer by 15x. Claims plough put pressure on US to allow settlement of Indian lands in OK, Indians already displaced from the East coast. Spring 1889.
  • 1870-1900: relative wet period, acerage under cultivation expanded as much as in previous two centuries.
  • vulnerability of high plains known in 1902 USGS survey and report. Profits from grain commodity exports were more powerful interest.
  • Erosion science hero: Nathaniel Shaler: (148): recognizes both soil as an ecology and vulnerability of plains and soil erosion under ploughing.
  • 151ff: stories about what happens when your topsoil blows away.
  • 1935: awareness of need for soil conservation grows. 11/1934: end to land settlement programs. No new land to move to. Birth of farm subsidy approaches to soil conservation.
  • Post WW1 commodity prices decrease, but farmers continue to maximize production due to debt. (Example of M's thesis.)
  • Interesting erosion detail: after loss of loess, water penetrates soil less, leading to further drying.
  • Post WW2 tractor production soars, 10x the 1920s. Before droughts in the 50's, acerage doubled, production 4x. Exports to Europe.
  • Digression on farm size and efficiency. Montgomery challenges the general view that large farms are always more efficient, especially if they use methods that promote erosion. This is later argued in his book "Growing a Revolution". 159: documents aggregation of farms. Dust from agriculture in Eastern Washington measured by lake core sample.
  • Soviet Story
  • 1954-65: Krushchev order expansion of acreage under cultivation. Experience a kind of dust bowl event in the 60s.
  • Aral Sea Disaster, 50s-90s (164)
  • Desertification of the southern Russian Kalmyk Republic. 50s-90s exploitation.
  • Lots of places and events: Erosion in Europe, Australia, Philippines and Jamaica
  • Highlights changes in agriculture in Sub-saharan Africa, dust bowl in 70's. '73 West African famine loss of 100K, 7 million insecure.
  • More on desertification: Sahel and North Africa
  • 168ff: patterns of agriculture in African countries in relation to soil erosion.
  • Digression on UNFAO's Action against Desertification
  • Back to the US: loss of farmland to Urbanization 172ff
  • studies showing loss of productivity of US farmland
  • 70's policy moved away from soil conservation. Earl Butz famous "fence row to fence row" policy. Some evidence that conservation efforts haven't been effective. But then (174), some evidence of progress
  • Pimentel study, Cornell 90's: estimate of conservation effort to bring erosion into line with soil production. big numbers 175.
  • Major concluding point: There are "no net loss" farms all around us. Soil conservation is possible.

Montgomery, Chapter 8: Dirty Business

  • More erosion stories
  • Tsangpo River culture in Tibet, exception to soil erosion story. silt and soil cared for, but also animals fertilize fields.
  • History of cultivation in China, emergence of wetland rice production (patties allow for nitrogen fixing algae), early 20th cent. 70-80 percent of income on food. 199-2003 crop yields down 10%. (Note: Question of food import dependence gets people's attention. [37] [38]
  • History of fertilizer use:
  • discoveries of nitrogen and phosphorous (late 18th cent.), potassium and calcium in 1808. (note Justus von Liebig, claim that form of soil ammendment doesn't matter, but still rec. organic soil cultivation), early fertilizer factory, 1843, using sulfuric acid on phosphate to make it available to plants -1843 John Lawes.
  • 1838: discovery of nitrogen fixing plants, but not till 1888 do we get the microbial mechanism. Guano deposits, phosphate mining, Franklin Pierce 1856 Guano Island Act (pretty extraordinary - allowed US citizens to claim guano islands). set off a kind of "gold rush" over guano. Rape of Nauru.
  • USDA Politics of Soil - 1870-1910 Pre-civil war Mississippi state geologist, Eugene Hilgard and mid-19th soil science: 1872: talk on how soil exhaustion shapes fate of civilizations (early version of montgomery's thesis!) Understood importance of manure and replenishing minerals. Goes to California to figure out problem of alkaline soils. Salt leeching from rock. "H's 1892 landmark report laid out the basic idea that the physical and chemical character of soils reflect ... regional climate and vegetation. Disputes with South Carolina professor Milton Whitney, who thought moisture and texture alone explained soil fertility. Infamous proclamation as 1901 head of USDA: soil is inexhaustible. King fired by Whitney for agreeing with Hilgard. examples, at 194 of crazy explanations Whitney offered to account for soil depletion without acknowledging it. Ex. he thought fertilizers accelerated soil production from rocks. productivity differences due to social causes.
  • 193: Story of natural nitrogen formation. Phosphorus mining and depletion by 1st WW.
  • Story of industrial nitrogen: bombs and fertilzer, need to secure sources: 196:German nitro technology. Fritz Haber. Haber-Bosch process. post ww2 nitrogen production, further separated animal ag from plant ag. 1920s new version of the process converts methane to ammonia. Global nitrogen production, 197. More current info
  • Green Revolution -- high-yield strains for wheat and rice, combined with nitrogen fert. 1970 Nobel Prize to Norman Borlaug. top of 198 - probs with Green Revolution. By 1980s population growth consumed crop yield growth. reduced viability of non-capitalized farms. Mention Songhai Center. Oil dependence: ag used 30% of petroleum production. USDA estimate: 1/2 of fertilizer used to replace nutrients lost through soil erosion.
  • Organic FarmingCan organic farming match yields from nitrogen/oil farming? Pennsylvania study at p. 201.
  • Modern Organic Movement: starts with 1930s Sir Albert Howard and Edward Faulkner. animal waste crucial. early composter advocates, early warning on synth nitrogen. Faulkner argued against ploughing. "alt-Ag" Wes Jackson, Land Institute, Salinas KS. Check them out. Still working on a no plough wheat. "natural systems agriculture" (also compatible with "permaculture")
  • 207: Barry Commoner, Center for Biology of Natural Systems at Wash U. study claiming organic farms produce similar yields as industrial methods. Others claims within 2%. Mid- 80s research by John Reganold [39] on two farms near Spokane, check out his Ted talk [40] What if industrial agriculture is partly a culture conception of how to produce food rather than a market based or science based approach?
  • (Some recent sceptical doubts: Can these results be scaled up? What are the inputs for human labor? p. 208 mentions 1/3 higher labor costs.)
  • 208-209: more comparative research on organic/commerical ag. Farm subsidies and effect on farm size/corporate farming. 210 1/10 of ag producers get 2/3 of subsidies.
  • 211 on: update on no-till and conservation tilling. catching on. Food Security Acts of 1985 and 1990 mandate conservation plans for farms. soil erosion contributes directly to climate change - oxidation of organic material releases CO2. Soil conservation sequesters co2.
  • story of Quincy, WA. Cenex toxic fertilizer scandal.
  • (This account could easily incorporate the stories of the Montana farmers in the gripping "Lentil Underground" -- a good book group book.)

22: APR 4


  • Montgomery, David. Chapter 10: "Life Span of Civilizations" (pp. 233-246)
  • Pinker, "Sustenance" (68-78)
  • SW2 assigned

Montgomery, Chapter 10: Life Span of Civilizations

  • Framing the soil / civilization argument in broadest terms:
  • estimates of the carrying capacity of the earth: Catholic Bishops say 40 billion (is that true?!). Might get to 15 billion "if we share the planet with nothing else" some biologists think we are over the limit. Both capitalists and marxists theorize land as infinitely productive or infinitely substitutable. General endorsement of effective of markets, but point out that resource depletion is not adequate theorize or accounted for in practice.
  • Lifespan of civilization measurable in relation bt initial soil and rate of erosion. Estimates of rate: 1" in 1,000yr vs. 40 years. 238: can't move anymore. estimate of hectares per person. Explores physical and genetic limits on productivity. Key globalization point: There's much left to cultivate. Nice analysis about how large vs. small societies respond to problems. 20th cent food production doubled by increase N fert 7x and Ph 3.5x
  • 241: Agro-ecology: Need to treat soil as a "locally adapted biological system rather than a chemical system" (Note bad reductionism, as in nutritionism.)
  • 241: not just about organic, but about enriching soil. mentions Cal non-sustainable organic. "unglobalization of ag" as oil becomes expensive. example of 19th cent. Paris use of horse shit to fetilize fields. (urban farming -- look up new examples [41])
  • connections between climate change, Syrian civil war, ISIS and refugee crisis. [42]

Pinker, Enlightenment Now, Ch. 7, "Sustanance"

  • nice evocation of the history of famine in human condition
  • examples of famine leading to consumption of human flesh and viscera.
  • Good News
  • Calories up globally as well as US.
  • Stunting down, undernurishment under 5% globally, 13% in dev. world.
  • Famines down
  • Reviews 70's era population bomb literature. Malthus assumed the population curve wouldn't change as family wealth increases. Also, underestimated increases in the food supply. Dates that to Enlightenment knowledge.
  • Food claims
  • The food supply can grow geometrically with knowledge (74) ?
  • Food prices in relation to wages are historically low. T
  • GMOs and transgenic crops are ready to go but opposed by fanatical environmentalists. Hmm. Y & N
  • Account of Haber-Bosch method for syn N, and Green Revolution (notice detail in what makes for a high yield grain)
  • Critical point: Green Revolution is very important; part success of plant breeding (landrace system), part extension of industrial fertilizer and mechanical inputs. Not clear there is another Green Revolution out there. Plant breeding is as old as agriculture, but here it is recruited as part of the Enlightenment narrative.
  • Closing statement, importantly identifies major causes of famines in political organization and war rather than agricultural efficiency. Most 20th century famines in autocratic communist countries.
  • Pinker makes many very persuasive points, especially related to population dynamics (see chart in Chapter 10, also in links). If population stops growing, or declines, then declines in soil productivity might be offset by increases in yields from plant engineering and chemical fertilizers.]

Short Writing Assignment #2: 800 words

  • Stage 1: Please write an 800 word maximum answer to the following question by Monday, April 8, 11:59pm.
  • Topic: Present and assess David Montgomery's thesis about the relationship between agriculture and the fate of civilizations, as well as his view of the implications of this history for organic methods of soil management. Consider other viewpoints such as Pinker's. How strong is the case for more active conservation of soil and promotion of sustainable farming methods?
  • You may bring outside research into your answer. Citations do not count in the word count.
  • Advice about collaboration: I encourage you to collaborate with other students, but only up to the point of sharing ideas, references to class notes and readings, and your own notes. Collaboration is part of the academic process and the intellectual world that college courses are based on, so it is important to me that you have the possibility to collaborate. It's a great way to make sure that a high average level of learning and development occurs. The best way to avoid plagiarism is to NOT share text of draft answers or outlines of your answer. Keep it verbal. Generate your own examples.
  • Prepare your answer and submit it in the following way:
  1. Do not put your name in the file or filename. You may put your student id number in the file. Put a word count in the file.
  2. In Word, check "File" and "Options" to make sure your name does not appear as author. You may want to change this to "anon" for this document.
  3. Format your answer in double spaced text in a 12 point font, using normal margins.
  4. Save the file in the ".docx" file format using the file name "SW2".
  5. Log in to Upload your file to the Q&W dropbox.
  • Stage 2: Please evaluate four student answers and provide brief comments and a score. Review the Assignment Rubric for this exercise. We will only be using the Flow and Content areas of the rubric for this assignment. Complete your evaluations and scoring by Thursday, April 18th, 2019, 11:59pm.
  • Use this Google Form to evaluate four peer papers. The papers will be on the Sharepoint site under Student Writing, but please do not edit these files or add comments directly on them. This will compromise your anonymity.
  • To determine the papers you need to peer review, I will send you a key with animal names in alphabetically order, along with saint names. You will find your animal name and review the next four (4) animals' work.
  • Some papers may arrive late. If you are in line to review a missing paper, allow a day or two for it to show up. If it does not show up, go ahead and review enough papers to get to four reviews. This assures that you will get enough "back evaluations" of your work to get a good average for your peer review credit. (You will also have an opportunity to challenge a back evaluation score of your reviewing that is out of line with the others.)
  • Stage 3: I will grade and briefly comment on your writing using the peer scores as an initial ranking. Assuming the process works normally, I will give you the higher of the two grades. Up to 28 points in Q&W.
  • Stage 4: Back-evaluation: After you receive your peer comments and my evaluation, take a few minutes to fill out this quick "back evaluation" rating form: [43]. Fill out the form for each reviewer, but not Alfino. Up to 10 points, in Q&W.
  • Back evaluations are due TBD, 2019, 11:59pm.

23: APR 9


  • Soler, Jean. "The Semiotics of Food in the Bible" (55-66)
  • SW2 due (stage 1)

Soler, Jean. "The Semiotics of Food in the Bible"

  • How do we explain the dietary rules of Hebrews? (and by extension, JCI tradition)
  • Background thesis: link between diet and view of the world. "a relationship between the idea he has formed of specific items of food and the image he has of himself and his place in the universe." (note: this was partly at issue in SW2 this term.) Some theoretical nods to Levi-Strauss (see his work, "The Raw and the Cooked").
  • Soler gives a detailed account of the transitions through "three plates" of Judaism:
  • 1st plate: Biblical vegetarianism -- God gave us plants and seeds to eat. (soul not immortal till 2nd cent bc, external concept) Paradise was vegetarian.
  • Creation in the image of God, yet not God. Need to maintain boundary. Note the transgression found in duality of "tree of life/tree of knowledge" Elohim expresses concern that, having violated God's prohibition regarding tree of life, man might seek to usurp God. Likewise, to eat an animal with a soul would be a usurpation of God's power to take and give life. Diff bt man and God in the food.
  • 2nd plate: Post-flood, covenant with Noah: eat anything but not "flesh with its life"
  • Still, meat has negative connotation, concession to imperfection in man. The flood was a response to murder, mayhem, and corruption of man.
  • Blood is theorized as the prohibited part. Often part of sacrifice.
  • 3rd plate: Post exile covenant with Moses: adds distinction between clean and unclean animals. Still, meat allowed as concession to man's moral imperfection.
  • Note: This covenant is only with the tribes of Israel. Food as cultural and cosmic separator.
  • Clean or pure eating involves going back to origins and God's original intent for creation (carnivorous animals out, fish with legs out, winged insects are freaks, birds that don't fly). Hence exclusion of "blemished" or "unnatural" animals. But Hebrews didn't go back to original vegetarianism, rather to nomad hunter/gatherer diet. Passover meal "bitter herbs and meat" no agricultural products, no leavening for bread (back to grain pastes!), nothing fermented. food of the patriarchs. Food of the origins is taken to be sacred eating.
  • Biblical evidence of post exile view of meat: rebellions against not eating the flock, miracle of the quails (not God taking us out for fast food, but rather associated with gorging and death).
  • Sacrifice not just about sorting God's share from ours, but atoning for taking the life of the animal. (Meat retains some negative meanings.)
  • Moral Order and Food Order
  • Notion of moral order also applied to "mixed" marriages, prohibition of homosexuality, even to having an ox and an ass ploughing together.
  • "hoofed foot" "cloven foot" "chews the cud" -- effort to excluding carnivorous animals. Eating deformed animals excluded. Priest can't have crushed testicles (!). Similar reasoning. (more at 63) - exlcuding mollusks, birds that don't fly, snakes...
  • Passover meal getting back to food origins. 61-62.
  • Christianity comes in as an evangelical religion, so it must break with dietary laws of the Jews. Christ declares all food clean (Mark 7:19). "Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man" (Matthew 15:11). Peter's vision of being commanded to eat clean and unclean animals. Goes with a theology of Christ, fusion of man/god. Also, an evangelizing religion cannot really focus on dietary exclusions. Consuming the blood and flesh of God become part of a sacrament. (That pretty much brings things around to a full circle!)
  • This recent NPR story about the book Fish on Fridays tells the story of the Catholic medieval promotion of fishing-fasting days and the later decline in the fish market with Anglican church politics. [44]
  • Discussion directions:
  • To what extent does "sustainability" provide a criterion of "trophic eating" similar to Hebrew food theology?
  • Does the choice between industrial and organic eating comprise choices in contemporary "culinary cosmos"?
  • Does the Christian decision to "eat God" have implications for contemporary Christian's culinary cosmos?
  • Slaughterhouse question:

About this course: CIS Core Learning Outcomes

  • I'd like to take a few minutes from today's class to show how our class connects with the learning outcomes for the Core Integration Seminar.
  1. Integrate the principles of a Jesuit education, prior components of the Core, and their disciplinary expertise (knowledge).
  2. Clearly and persuasively communicate with an audience of diverse educational backgrounds, personal experiences, and value commitments using ideas and arguments based on evidence, logic, and critical thinking (skill).
  3. Assess the ways in which the Core has transformed the commitments and perspectives that will inform their future endeavors (attitude).

24: APR 11


  • Wallach, Cuisine of Contact (1-31)

Wallach, Chapter 1, "The Cuisines of Contact"

  • Note from intro: think about what's at stake for a Pilgrim in choosing what to eat or not eat. "humourial eating" -- food affects character.
  • Thanksgiving 1621
  • Thanksgiving, 1621, "Puritans" and Wampanoag Indians. Description of Mayflower diet and transit. ship's biscuits, scurvy.
  • Pilgrims steal Indian corn, claiming it was sent by God, but also repaying the Indians later.
  • 40 of 102 voyagers died the first winter.
  • Encounter with Tisquantum. 5: Indian planting methods "three sisters", fish fertilizer
  • Thanksgiving meals were ordinary rituals, not annual commemorations. "Thanksgiving" doesn't become a national holiday until the late 19th century, and even then not explicitly connected to Pilgram event until a few years later. Later used to promote assimiliation 7. (Food/identity)
  • 1636 war with Pequot might was food related. 7-8 might have been part "famine war".
  • Thesis at p. 8 read.
  • Early Modern ideas of food and diet, corn
  • Brits diet ideas: Galen rules until modern chemistry: four humours, food and character (11) diet and psychology together (which, given the microbiota research, isn't crazy). But crazy to think wine fortifies blood, eating an animal you take on its character. "Humoral eating" Fish reduces carnal desire.
  • Pilgrims regarded Native diet as subhuman. Iroquois for corn "our life" "our mother" - p. 17: Pilgrims wary of choosing corn because of it's association with Indian identity, doubted its nutritious properties. wheat and fungus. not easily in early modern New England. Tried to "eat savage food in a civilized way" 18 Resistance to corn partly cultural. Disdain in sharing "culinary cosmos".
  • Culinary Encounters at Jamestown 1607
  • a commercial venture, near complex Indian confederations, Indians fed colonists, but colonists also raided villages and murdered Indians. Powhatan decides to stop helping, 1609 winter of starvation (and cannibalism) 22. native diet 23, told from a captive's (Mary Rowlandson) report. 23 read
  • settlers had trouble foraging, seemed uncivilized. not used to lean times.
  • Fasting and Feeding in the City on a Hill
  • Following the Mayflower, the Massachusetts Bay Colony organized arrival of 16,000 by 1640s. "City on a Hill" saw morality of community related to food security. really a kind of theocracy. food pests, crop failures might be consequence of fornication. communal fasting. fasts more typical than feasts due to concern about gluttony 26: simplicity of Puritan diet in part a rejection of perceived upper class English gluttony.
  • "The Puritans were remarkably ambivalent about food (cf. other food cultures). They were fearful of both abundance and scarcity.

25: APR 16


  • Gopnik, Adam, "Who Made the Restaurant?" from The Table Comes First, 2012, (pp. 13-57).

Gopnik, Adam, "Who Made the Restaurant?" (13-57)

  • from The Table Comes First
  • opening description - follow -- illusion of dining room, relation to romance, difference from previous types: table d'hote, traiteur, caterer.
  • Traits of modern restaurant: waiters, menus, tables, mirrors, closed kitchen, seduction, silences..(privacy in public)
  • personal experiences -- HoJo to Paris - Grand Vefour -- restaurants and writers' scenes. (search "Howard Johnson's Simple Simon and the Pie Man—1950's images" to see the original HoJo restaurant sign.). Interesting how many of the characteristics are in common between the two restaurants.
  • 19: account of origin of restaurant starts here:
  • old story - post french revolution, displaced help from nobles. But restaurant starts 20 years earlier. Restaurant not like home service.
  • three factors: intellectual causes (health and simplicity), commercial causes (new site for restaurants in/around Palais Royal), moral/social cause (breakdown of caste/class leading up to Rev)
  • Mathrurin Roze de Chantoiseau -- first restauranteur. note root meanings of "restaurant" - associated with bullion and restoratives. Early restaurant served healthy foods that you couldn't source (22), not esoteric or exotic. Chantoiseau introduced more of a pleasure motive to the restaurant. women could go together in public (!). Also, the restaurant can make you feel rich. Fancier than your stuff. Another early restauranteur, Vacossion, focused on simple foods that individuals could not source themselves. "nouvelle cuisine"
  • French Revolution actually problematic for the early restaurant -- communalism of the table d'hote more suited to egalitarianism.
  • commercial scene of the Palais Royal -- first mall. 27: 1780-1830 -- period of growth of restaurants - reflected some international ethnic cusine, but points out that the southern provinces of France would seem as exotic to Parisians and North African cuisine might seem to us. "Provencal" --
  • adopted Russian services (sequence of courses, dishes chosen by each diner) rather than French banquet service (piles of dishes on a sideboard from which waiters serve) (consider the individualism in this) -- not how this changes the motivations of restauranteurs. (Wealth of Nations, 1776, just saying.)
  • Part two of the chapter: The French Cafe: compares the emergence of the restaurant to the newer cafe, which did come into being by post-revolution licensing law changes allowing coffee/alcohol in same place. alcohol a myopic drug / caffeine a far sighted drug. 33-37, importance of. (Digress to consider how we handle this now and in different places.) note Paris / London comparisons p. 33.
  • brings in Bourdieu and Priscilla Park Ferguson -- "social field" , like a "scene" (examples of "gastronomic scenes" -- craft beer, local roasted coffee....) features of a food scene: writing, end of famine, enjoyment of food not seen as a sin, but mark of cultivation.
  • Brillat-Savarin, 1825 Physiology of Taste. introduces word "gastronomy" 42ff. defines the "gourmand" in terms of enthusiasm about one's appetite and taste for food. analogy to the pleasure of flirtation, which he also claimed was a french invention (!). "Soft power" (mention slow food, also a political movement). With greater food security, enjoying food for its own sake change form vice to virtue (mention Happiness history here)
  • rival, Grimod La Reyniere -- real foodie, spent the revolution eating great food, somewhat abstracted. rated restaurants and gave them stickers for their windows. the discussion here suggests how the vocabulary of the French gastronomic moment developed.
  • 54: Habermas' theory about "Enlightenment eating" -- creates social capital. Issue at the end: Is the restaurant a bourgeoisie trap or an instrument of enlightenment?

Imagining Future Restaurants

  • Mention the apparent business plan of the Grain Shed.
  • Use your philosophical imaginations to think through a new combination of values that a new kind of restaurant might realize. During our discussion of the Gratzer piece we will develop a list of "restaurant values" -- both of the first modern restaurant and the ones that followed. Then, in group discussion, try to think about what you can't get from the contemporary array of restaurants, but something you would value. You ideas may range from things you would like to see more restaurants do to kinds of restaurants that do not exist.

26: APR 18

  • Optional Paper Workshop

27: APR 23


  • Montgomery, "Green Manure" (90-114)
  • Barber, Dan. Chapter 12: "Land" (pp. 158-173)
  • Estabrook, Barry. "Hogonomics" (142-149)

Montgomery, David. Chapter 6: Green Manure

  • Primary story: Dwayne Beck, Dakota Lakes Research Farms. Beck has chemistry background and Ph.D. in agronomy and is a farmer. Many success stories of farmers using his soil conservation methods:
  • problem of water runoff in plough vs. no till fields.
  • 92: competitive wheat yields vs. high-disturbance input intensive. Big effect on South Dakota. Conservation farms had new everything.
  • 96: Critique of ag extention system for keeping farmers in intensive industrial ag.
  • 107: looking at carbon in soil as stored fertilizer worth $600/acre.
  • Story of Cronin Farms
  • Pest ecology stories
  • 105: corn rootworm beetle and crop rotation
  • BT corn eliminated one pest (earworm), but earworms eat be cutworms. demonstration project showing resistance to root worm in no till field
  • Some analogies between healthy soil and a healthy microbiome!
  • best weed control is a canopy of well nurished crop. reducing opportunities for weeds. 99: incident Beck asked for retraction.
  • herbicide resistance (like germ resistance from anti-biotic use)
  • 103: broad spectrum pesticides like antibiotics in microbiome
  • Technology of soil conservation
  • 95: on-site processing of residues for fertillizer and feed.
  • avoids compaction of heavy machinery. uses low psi equiptment.
  • note: the research farm uses some (a "fraction" of normal) glyphosate.
  • importance of leaving crop residue on the ground.
  • complex rotations - for soil health and to defeat complex pests.
  • mixed cropping 101
  • locally produced Nitrogen fert from wind.
  • phosphorous management easier without tillage that breaks up mycorrhizal fungus.
  • 103: worms, lots of worms
  • Precision agriculture:
  • no-till planters, small dosing of fertilizers,
  • 108: example on Cronin Farm of no-till planter using precision fert. good yields with lower inputs.
  • 110: disc planters
  • GPS based data system for precision ag.

Barber, Ch 12, "Land"

  • Two stories of "terroir" -- gastronomy & ethics
  • Eduardo and his geese -- How does Eduardo come across to you?
  • In earlier segment, Eduardo is touting the fact that his foie gras does not require force feeding the geese.
  • Is the slaughter humane in your opinion?
  • Connection between humane slaughter and taste -- pig story 160
  • Monesterio and jamon -- [[45]]
  • Jamon iberico de bellota (acorn)-- espression of the land. connection with Spanish identity.
  • food religion point: 163 eating pork during the islamic occupation showed you were christian.
  • the "dehesa" is the locale for the terrior of jamon iberico. enclosure for pasture of sheep built after the reconquista. grass and oaks protected by law. note relationship between the pigs eating pattern in this environment and the arrival of the acorns.
  • note the physical limits of the terroir for jamon. note only geographic, but 4 acres/pig. Can't scale this up.
  • These gastronomic stories would certainly count as "extravagant" for Fairlie. Note also that they exemplify terrior. and even moral terrior. Cf to the tonnara in Med.
  • Remaining pages of the chapter point out the other rich products of the dehesa. The land is very productive. Even the oak trees provide valuable cork. So there is a kind of intensive agriculture here, but it is very specific to what the land and history could create.

Estabrook, "Hogonomics"

  • Journalist on a quest to Flying Pigs Farm to discover diff bt $15.00 lb and $3.49 lb pork. comparison
  • FP farm: 750 pigs/yr, breeding rates, heritage pigs retain natural behaviors vs. industrial sows' life, living condition diff, labor diff,
  • Differences in slaughter and "kill fee". Saline injected pink meat. Implied value difference.

28: APR 25

Optional class: Some ideas from current food studies literature on slaughter

  • A brief discussion of animal philosophy, slaughterhouses, the hyperslaughter supply chain, and slaughter-art, without the really disgusting parts"
  • Optional last few minutes: I will mention, only by way of description, some of the things that happen to workers and animals once the line speed is high enough, that is, in hyperslaughter". I don't think this will be too difficult to listen to, but I'll give you a chance to slip out. The only video will be a segment on problems in rural America from pig farming odors.

Animal philosophy, slaughter in art history, and the gaze in contemporary slaughter

Some Animal philosophy

  • Think about the complexity of our "psychology of perception of animality"
  • pets vs. non pets
  • loving food animals.
  • psychology of snakes and vermin
  • Why do we react differently to a kid kicking a can down the street vs. kicking a sheep's head down the street?
  • Not hard for us to compartmentalize, but we experience cognitive dissonance at some cultural diffs: where our pets are their food animals or where their pets can become food animals. Also, dissonance in spending on pets. Extension of vet science requires us to price our love of our pets.
  • Some theory -- start with Derrida's, "The Animal That I therefore am..." -- story of the philosopher's encounter with his cat. Notes from Slivinski 2012
  • So, maybe also philosophical sources of dissonance -- Rethinking subjectivity, we are now exposed to the gaze of the animal. Is there a new kind of thinking that emerges if you take into account the gaze of the animal? (Parallels -- if you take into account soil, your gut, dietary diseases of the industrial food system.)
  • Obvious opening for a vegan argument, but consider other options.
  • Pair Derrida with the 19th century growth of two movements: industrial slaughter, concern about Humane slaughter, societies to promote vegetarian and vegan diets.
  • Other pieces of the story. Meat ideology -- partially based in fact.

Food and slaughter in Art History

  • Some images of pre-modern slaughter.
  • Add pics from Chicago stockyards and Testaccio, Rome

Other ways of using gaze theory

  • Said and neo-colonial gaze
  • Foucault's panopticon
  • The gaze as a way of periodizing pre-industrial, industrial, and hyper-slaughter.
  • Pre-industrial slaughter modeled the gaze on the butcher, who would normally have seen dressed meat and may have participated in slaughter. 2-3 degrees of separation in the gaze. Butchers in US make good money. Socially esteemed due to trust involved in buying meat. In transition, typical to see cattle marched through city streets to slaughter.
  • Industrial slaughter -- Involves the technical gaze of the engineer. (Note mistake in early French slaughterhouse design.) At the same time the work of industrial slaughter is done by immigrants (Chicago) or non-Romans (Testaccio). (Oddly, Chicago Stockyard had tours.) We don't see the people who see the slaughter. As industrial slaughter increases, we no longer see the animals either. From dressed beef to meatpacking and industrial meat products.
  • Hyper-slaughter -- Post-gaze. Inspectors can't see every animal. Workers are "disappeared" through ICE and deportation. Facilities moved out of cities. Hyper-slaughter food chains involves less visible production (video prohibited, completely enclosed facilities). Hyper-slaughter culture eliminates the body of the animal from the consumers sight (transition from older supermarkets in US and mercati in Italy).

Some Problems of Hyper-slaughter and its supply chain

For animals and eaters
  • Dismembering animals alive, hogs going into scalder alive
  • Lowering voltage on stunners -- belief that overstunned animals don't bleed thoroughly. Claim has been debunked.
  • Lack of rules on animal transport lead to animals freezing alive.
  • Streamlined inspection has led to 6,000 inspectors "looking at" 8 billion animals a year.
  • "We used to trim the shit off the meat, Then we washed the shit off the meat. Now the consumer eats the shit off the meat." USDA Inspector (in Eisnitz p. 155)
  • No slaughter rules mandated for chickens. Again, belief that stunning prevents exsanguation. One plant 1/2 million a day.
  • Streamlined inspection since 1985: 450 inspectors 1.5 billion birds. 91 birds a minute.
For slaughterhouse workers and communities
  • Non-white often non-citizen workers are not well received in white rural towns. High turnover, often increases in crime. Yet, undocumented slaughterhouse workers are preferred for their work ethic and their legal vulnerability.
  • Workers health and vulnerability. -- pattern of deportation for worker's making compensation or injury claims.
  • 2008 neurological disorders from pig brain mist. On going concerns about exposure of meat workers to pathogens and "zoonotic transmissible agents" [46]
  • Trauma from slaughter PTSD, but also PITS, found also in executioners, combat veterans, and Nazis in World War II.
  • Injury rates in slaughterhouses higher in last 25years than for any industry (fitz 2010). Though recently some improvements.
  • Early 1970's beef kill lines at 179/hr , by early 90s 400/hr (Fitzgerald, 2010). Now 1,000 to 1200/hr.

29: APR 30


Ethics Day 3
  • McPherson, Tristram. "The Ethical Basis for Veganism" 209-221; 229-236
  • Milligan, Tony. Chapter 4: "Contract Theories", from Animal Ethics: the basics, 61-84.

McPherson, Tristram. "The Ethical Basis for Veganism"

  • Defining Ethical Veganism
  • Absolute vs. Modest definitions - absolute position difficult. not all animals suffer. Modest more typical meaning.
  • Strength of modest thesis still admits variation, from grave prohibition to supererogatory behavior (beyond duty, like the bike commuter)
  • Modal (having to do with necessity) fragility -- Is it absolutely wrong to consume animal products or "typically" wrong? Wrong because of less essential conditions, like the state of animal agriculture or regulatory systems that allow excess suffering? (Do you admit a range and exceptions?)
  • Sources of Defense for Veganism
  • Self-interested Reasons -- the positive values of an animal free diet.
  • Doesn't get at non-dietary uses of animals.
  • Doesn't support absolute non-consumption.
  • Environmental Reasons -- strong arguments about the unsustainability of high levels of animal agriculture and animal consumption
  • But there may be a non-zero optimal level of animal agriculture (We saw this in Simon Fairlie's argument for "default animal production")
  • Religious Reason -- He doesn't mention Judeo-Christian sources, but you could see from Soler how you might revive a spirituality of non-animal consumption based on God's creation of life and avoidance of taking life.
  • Still not clear this involves an absolute prohibition.
  • Animal-focused Arguments
  • This is the avenue McPherson finds most promising, though he is sceptical of applying systematic theories (Like Regan's rights theory). Too many ways of interpreting them. Highly contested.
  • Principle of non-suffering: "Other things being equal, it is wrong to cause suffering"
  • But note that our intuitions about killing and suffering might not map onto animals directly: Strong vs. Weak asymmetry. 218.
  • Weak - causing suffering worse than killing (torturing a kitten worse than killing it) (kitten thought experiment on 2190.
  • Strong - wrong to cause suffering to an animal but not wrong to kill it. McPherson sceptical of Strong: it seems wrong to kill an animal gratuituously.
  • Still might be "defeasible" -- meaning it might admit of exceptions.
  • Complications result from considering the Principle of non-suffering in relation to a prohibition against killing. A "gap" between these principles and a strong case for veganism still exists. This is what he means by the section title "Completing the Naive Argument" (221)
  • Proposals for "closing the gap"
  • Individual Efficacy
  • Group Efficacy
  • Complicity
  • Complications for Vegan Arguments
  • aggregation
  • demandingness of principles (It's hard to be vegan)
  • specificity of response
  • methodological burdens -- counter-intuitive.

Milligan, Tony. "Contract Theories"

  • Reviews some basic positions. Regan is more of a natural rights theorist, but contemp. animal rights isn't nec. Might be more about interests or rationally defensible social conventions.
  • This might lead you to embrace a contractarian approach to animal rights, since it is more relational (unlike nat'l right)
  • notion of "original position" -- describes situations in which we should infer a rational agreement. (example of emergency aid, 69)
  • Big problem with using contract theory in animal ethics: animal can't be parties to a contract. Rawls excludes them.
  • 71: review of Rawls. Does it makes sense to ask the question: If you were behind the veil of ignorance and didn't know whether you would be a food animal or not, what principle of justice would you agree to?
  • Problems: You might not care what happens if you turn out to be a pig. Or only care about pain. Human excellences not being available.
  • More problems: Do we abstract from concrete aspect of our identity (like being carnivores?)
  • Milligan: Maybe it helps to think of animals like marginal humans. They need our advocacy, but they might not be parties to the contract.
  • Some efforts (Scanlon) to think of contract rights without the Rawlsian machinery of deliberation. Just rational or reasonable agreement.
  • Domestication as a Contract
  • very popular justification for meat eating: it's part of the deal that is domestication. Animal gets: existence ("opportunity of life") and care Human gets: meat. Ironically, though, if you accept this, then curtailment of meat production is against the interests of animals. Something seems to have gone wrong. Still, extinctionism is also an odd way of advocating for animals.
  • Conclusion: Death is an extreme kind of payment in a contract. Even if parties could agree to a contract covering domestic animal consumption, would we allow it? (Like consensual cannabalism contracts. Yikes.)

30: MAY 2

  • Course Conclusion
  • Final Papers due


Final Essays

  • Please write two 600 word essays on the following two prompts. The deadline for this assignment is Thursday, May 9, 2019, 11:59pm.
  • Topic A: Imagine that you came across two people arguing over the future of food production. One believes that the harms of industrial foods are overstated and efforts to focus on soil conservation are really expressions on an anti-industrial anti-technological ideology The other has trouble believing that any industrial foods can be safe and believes that we should not only promote soil conservation, but actually prohibit GMOs, herbicides, fungicides, and pesticides, and all added synthetic fertilizers. Using your critical philosophy of food superpowers, how would you help them get past these kinds of polarized and, perhaps mistaken, attitudes? Please draw on specific courses resources in your answer.
  • Topic B: Choose one of the following topics for topic B:
  • B1. When we think about our obligations to animals, is the language of "rights" helpful? In what contexts? Consider the contract based rights views from the reading by Milligan. Assess the strengths and weaknesses of rights talk for animal ethics.
  • B2. Review the readings from our ethics classes and then select the most important or persuasive moral arguments you have found for a low meat diet, a no meat diet, and a vegan diet. Then briefly articulate your own view. Are we "moral ominvores" (there are no moral considerations for including or excluding kinds of foods from our diet) or do moral considerations play a role in what foods we will or will not eat.
  • Collaboration: Unlike the papers, these essays are your final exam. Therefore, please do not confer with each other about them.
  • Prepare your essays and submit them in the following way:
  1. Do not put your name in the file or filename. You may put your student id number in the file. Please put your word count in the file.
  2. Format your essays in double spaced text in a 12 point font, using normal margins.
  3. Save each essay in a separate file, using the ".docx" file format. Use the filename "A" for the first essay and "B1" or "B2" for the second essay.
  4. Log in to Upload your file to the Final Essays dropbox.