Philosophy of Food

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General Resources

Forms and Class Audio

  • Pantry Fuel Cooking class availability form: [1]
  • We'll use some of these google forms to do course work:
  • Audio From Class
  • To access audio from class, fill in the weblink following this example:
  • Note the "4" after the course number is for the 3:15 section, 5 for the 1:50 section
  • Fill in the month and date and ".m4a"

Rough Outline of Optional Philosophy of Food Assignments

  • Diet Review and Improvement -- Review your own diet and consider the effects of specific changes you might make.
  • Choose 1, 2, or all three of these options:
  • 1. Tracking. Use an online diet tracking site to create a "baseline" analysis of your diet. Compare your diet to US Dietary Guidelines [2]. You can start this assignment between Feb 1 and March 1. Consider Myfitnesspal or any food/diet site that is connected to the large food and nutrition databases. Enter most of the foods you eat over a 7-10 day period. We will get into more detail on this, but try to look up nutritional norms for your age, health, and weight. Compare with your actual diet and the US Dietary Guidelines. Write up your observations in a 3-4 paper. You may want to focus on a general comparison of your diet to the guidelines, things you didn't notice or were surprised by about your diet, the proportion of whole food vs. industrial food products, the regularity or lack of regularity in the diet, etc. Due no later than March 1.
  • 2. Elimintation DietTry small changes in your diet by eliminating some or all of the following: industrial processed food, sodas, eating between meals, and refined carbohydrates, especially refined sugar. Consider re-sourcing industrial meat to local organic. Try adding a non-meat protein dinner, such as a lentil or bean dish. Try the same as a restaurant. Use a journal to track your experience of these changes. Using the journal as a source, report on your experience in a 2-3 reflection paper. Start as soon as mid-February but finish no later than late March.
  • 3. 3 Way Diet analysisIn light of your study of nutrition this semester, make an analysis of your diet that considers three standards: nutrition, satisfaction, and practicality. Late April.
  • 4. After following the previous steps, create a diet plan for yourself based on your food values, following the example of Alfino, "A Simple Diet Plan" (see pdf at course links). Write up a report of your plan in 4-6 pages. End of April.
  • Food System Research, Food Journalism, & Food Activism -- Research a specific aspect of food production and distribution in your local food system. A research focus involves documenting the issue and giving your analysis of it, whereas an activism focus may involve trying to promote positive change. Here are a few examples:
  • Research a particular grocery store's sourcing choices.
  • Why does a local store sell peppers from Holland? Can they be sourced locally?
  • What organizations exist in Spokane to help promote local food production?
  • Investigate Sodexho's dietary standards and sourcing choices?
  • Take a favorite food product, food, or meal in your life and investigate or compare sourcing options. This could involved documenting the sources of a food product, making a dish from differently sourced ingredients, or other possibilities.
  • Visit a local supplier of organic foods or a local producer of industrial foods. Integrate relevant course issues into your analysis and reflection on your visit.
  • Visit Pure Eiyre Dairy in Othello, which touts its humane and organic methods. Sample their products, comparing them to industrial equivalents. .
  • Try to visit Snyder's bread factory and then one of the artisan bakers in town: Common Crumb, Luna (Boosie's), Petite Chat.
  • Assess one or more restaurant menus in terms of nutrition, sourcing, or gastronomy.
  • Visit a local organic ranch or farm to gain insight into their values and challenges. What are the economics of such an enterprise.
  • Food security topic -- Learn about the food distribution systems that supply food banks, community food pantries, and free meals. Where does the food come from? Who uses or depends upon this food system? How well does it work to provide food security?
  • Food movie and book groups -- Get together with other students or work on your own to deepen your understanding of an additional book or movie source on food. Choose journals and/or class reporting as part of this assignment. Food movies
  • Some possible books:
  • Catching Fire Richard Wrangham -- This book by a leading medical anthropologist has been widely discussed and referenced in the last year. It brings together a fascinating literature on the effects of cooking on human evolution.
  • The Good Gut Justin and Erica Sonnenburg -- This microbiology couple at Stanford contributed this volume to the current discussion gut bacterial" or your microbiome.
  • Mindful Eating Jan Chozen Bays -- In this work, the author, a medical doctor, explores the ways that becoming a more mindful eater can improve your awareness of the importance of eating, your diet, control of appetite, and enjoyment of food.
  • In Meat We Trust Maureen Ogle -- Historians will like this story of the US cultural and dietary relationship with meat.
  • Philosophers at Table Raymond Boisvert and Lisa Heldke -- A recent work in philosophy on the nature of food and being human.
  • More Than a Meal: The Turkey in History, Myth, Rituah and Reality.Karen Davis, (New York: Lantern Books, 2001)
  • Caffeinated Murray Carpenter
  • Short Term Research - Many of the issues and topics we discuss are in flux due to emerging research and changes in food production and consumption. Here are some suggested topics for further research.
  • What are the alternatives to "culling" of male layers or treatment of male calves at dairy operations?
  • Can we breed animals "back" to conditions prior to the distorted breeding programs of industrial agriculture?
  • Food ethnography: Study a food or food system from your ethnic, regional, or class identity. The specific goal of the study will depend upon your interests. You might want to explore a food from your family life or make a critical study of the disruption of a food culture.
  • Research a fad diet from the last few years in light of research and reflection.
  • Are we getting better at farm raised fish?

Philosophy of Food Resources

  • "Just Eat It" trailer [3]. Also, look into "gleaning" as a social practice. Society of St. Andrews.
  • 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).[4]

  • The Impossible (Heme) Burger: [5]
  • Fiber in breakfast cereals [6]
  • Read about "Food extrusion" in wikipedia [7]
  • The Calorie: In addition the Gastropod episode on the The Calorie, which points out reasons to be a bit skeptical about how we use it, there is this article from The Atlantic [8], which explains why the USDA standardized RDAs on a 2,000 calorie diet, even though many Americans require more.
  • The Carl's Jr. Biscuit Controversy deepens. [9], [10] So what is buttermilk anyway? [11], vegetable shortening [12], the Hardee's recipe [13]
  • Coeur Greens. Local entrepreneur using a container approach to farming [14]. The Facebook page is a bit more informative. Related youtube on vertical farming [15]
  • "The Illusion of Taste" -- a Nyer article on industrial food psychology. [16]
  • Roundup cancer lawsuit and regulatory story: [17] [18]
  • Good Food News sites: Science Daily Food Section [19]
  • Eating and Inflammation [20]
  • Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Annual report on Vegetarian Diets. [21]
  • Interesting page about Grimod. [22]
  • Explore Feminist Food thought. Carol Adams, The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-vegetarian critical theory is considered important in the field. This course bibliography is pretty interesting. [23]
  • decline of nutrition in current vegetables and fruits: [24]
  • recent Microbiome articles: [25], [26], [27]
  • spending on food by country: [28]
  • "New Dietary Guidelines Crack down on Sugar but red meat gets a pass," NPR Jan 7, 2016 [33]
  • George Monboit's review of Simon Fairlie's Meat: A Benign Extravagance [34]
  • recent food justice article: [35]
  • Fave Food blogs: Gastropod
  • Local and Regional Food info:
  • Linc [36]
  • Local Farms: [37]
  • Jennifer Van Cott's Pantry Fuel [38]
  • David Kalplan's U of North Texas Philosophy of Food bibliography: [39]
  • Marler Clark -- [40] - the lawyer made famous by the 1990's Jack in the Box scandal makes a career of food liability.
  • Functional Medicine Site: [41]

Miscellaneous Food News and Food Culture

  • Electric Spoon [[42]]
  • Fasting -- Mark Mattson: Why fasting bolsters brain power. [43]
  • Weird food songs (good for food and gender reflection):
  • The Newbeats, "Bread and Butter" 1964 [44]
  • Nancy Walker, "I Can Cook, Too!" [45]
  • Jared Diamond, The World Until Yesterday, note on gluttony (see links)