Philosophy of Food Fall 2018 Class Notes
Return to Philosophy of Food
SEP 18: 1
SEP 20: 2
SEP 25: 3
Gastrpod, "The End of the Calorie"
- Sanctorio Sanctorius - 1600’s Padua - 30year practice for weighing inputs and outputs.
- 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 calorimeters......museum of calorimeters also. Visit to contemporary calorimeter. USDA site: Converted walk in cooler. Implication that the woman with the sewing machine “made a mess”?
- 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):
- 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.
- CALORIE REPLACEMENTS?
- 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.
- WHY THE CALORIE IS BROKEN
- We wrote a feature article for Mosaic, the online publication of the Wellcome Trust, to accompany this episode. You can read it online here.
- THE CHEMICAL DEFINITION OF THE CALORIE
- 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.
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.
- 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.
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. 
- 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
SEP 27: 4
Microbiome Movie Notes
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
- 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 --
- 22-30 - Cultural History and History of Science on Bacteria
- 60-70's: Abaigail Salyers: early pioneer, 2008: Human Microbiome Project
- Contemporary research: gnotobiotic mice. early fecal transplant studies of [Dr. Jeffrey Gordon].
Montgomery and Bilke, "What Your Microbiome Wants for Dinner" (recommended)
- Digestion Basics
- good introduction to digestion.
- Microbiota (M) like a pharmacy.
- Grain Wreck
- Chemistry of Typical cereal crop seed --
- espouses what I'm calling the "consensus healthy diet" - movement away from industrial processed food.
Philosophical Implications of the Microbiome
- The Microbiome research we are reading seems to have implications for the following course research questions:
- 1. What is food?
- 5. What are the challenges of nutrition science as a field of knowledge and what is the state of knowledge about nutrition, broadly?
- 6. What is a nutritious diet?
- 10. How should I critically assess my own food practices in light of my understanding of the nature of food and food culture?
- Here are some possible theoretical claims for you to evaluate in terms of their plausibility and their own implications:
- Your food doesn't just feed you.
- Mental health is influenced by the health of our M.
- We have co-evolved with our Microbiome.
- The interic nervous system is an ecology.
- In small group discussion, consider how information about the Microbiome might change your approach to questions like "What is Food?" Then look over the proposed philosophical implications above. Are they too strong? Warranted? Do you have sceptical doubts about using this research to alter your view of these research questions?
OCT 2: 5
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. pets help with our microbiota.
- Microbiota mechanisms:
- direct response to diet, "recyclers",
- 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. Overconsumption of refined carbs.
- Carb chemistry/metabolism basics -- 120: also in our nutrition textbook chapters. Note unique types of saccharides in particular foods: read 121 and 126; insulin resistance.
- Measuring MACs - the authors acronym for Macrobiotically Available Carbohydrates. - no standard measure of dietary fiber (note discrepancies from above.)
- 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 better predictor of disease than obesity.
- Gordon's famous 2013 FMT mouse research: need M and M-supporting diet. Note caveat 129. Can't just benefit from the microbes alone.
- 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.
- What about the Inuit?
- What about excess gas?
- 135: Note their dietary advice.
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.
- IBS and IBD - 177:
- 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.
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 agriculutre!
- 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, 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 btween 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.
- Playing with Space
- goal of transcending spatial limits to food, transpo. Nice story from the Mantuan court of Gonzaga. "good horse and a full purse". involves concept of "terroir".
- 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".
OCT 4: 6
Pollan, In Defense of Food, first 4 chapters of Part 1
- background on previous work and personal food history.
- 5: example of failure of advice on fat and cancer, coronary heart disease. Failure of claims about fiber not reducing cancer risk., also on value of fish.
- best to understand confusion on nutrition as result of interaction of food industry, gov't and journalism.
- claim for Part One: most of the nutritional advice of the last 50 years has made us less healthy.
- surprising claim: It's a dangerous idea to think that food is just about health. orthorexics.
- 10: Western Diet defined. Four of the top ten causes of death today are chronic diseases with well-established links to diet: coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and cancer. Even after adjusting for longevity. Note: You could define it epidemiologically or in terms of principle traits.
- goal: advice for enjoying food.
- Chapter 1 - From Foods to Nutrients
- food disappearing in favor of "nutrients" - a kind of reductionism.
- William Prout, early 19th division of macronutrients into Protein, Carb, and Fat. Justus von Leibig, also studied soil, imp. or minerals.
- 1912: Casimir Funk, "vitamines" - goes back to "vitalism", also "amines" because nitrogen based.
- McGovern Committee: important ideological moment: part of the story starts in 1977, with the first Fed comm on nutrition. blow back on recommendations 23. This led to a strategy of not referring to foods directly in terms of "more or less" but nutrients. Also, good foods reduced to nutrients.
- also from 1950's "lipid hypothesis" - that fats from meat and dairy were responsible for much dietary disease.
- Chapter 2 - Nutritionism Defined
- Gyorgy Scrinis -- 2002 claim.
- Nutritionism puts the food scientists in charge. leads to thinking about foods as "good" or "bad" based on their nutrients. you find this in the history of nutrition. 29ff. Liebig made "protein" a master nutrient. Others, like Kellog and Fletcher, would promote carbs. Good place to see limits of nutritionism is in baby formula. Still no match for the real thing.
- Chapter 3 - Nutritionism comes to Market
- nutritionism works well with marketing of food. margarine, for example. starts as cheap fat, but then marketed as healthier. industrial foods can be redesigned as nutrition fads change.
- early history of food adulteration. Sinclair's The Jungle, 1938 Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Objections to "imitation" rule. (note other controversies: milk, real). Thrown out in 1973. If an imitation food is nutritionally similar to the food it imitates, it doesn't need to be called imitation. Opened the door to lots of chemical substitutes.
- Chapter 4 - Food Science's Golden Age
- diet fads tend to favor foods that can be re-engineered. Some of that can be done with animals by feeding them differently, but mostly this favors industrial food over whole foods. Note on taste of leaner corn-fed beef. Arguably a decrease in satisfaction.
Group Writing Exercise
- What is nutritionism? Does it makes sense to say that it contributes to an ideology about food? Express both majority and minority views from your group. 300 words.
Montanari, "Food is Culture" "Fire > Cooking > Kitchen > Cusine > Civilization
Fire > Cooking > Kitchen > Cuisine > Civilization
- cooking essential to human being. (note other resources) . Western story of Prometheus (30), the hearth identifies human being (abode).
- Not true that cuisine is only about cooking. raw food methods. Chinese critic of western gastronomy as based too much on cooking. meanings of "Cucina". transition from womens' domain to men's.
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).
OCT 9: 7
Two famous restaurants started by Chef/food activits.
Barber, "Intro and Ch 12"
- 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.
- Some detail on Blue Hills.
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 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. (Note: Not just more protein. More of everything! Revise our protein hyp.)
- 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. Advertising spending on industrial food, using philanthropy for branding, new food products (25)
- Social trends: female labor market participation, changes in perception of "cooking". Scratch cooking associated more with sub-cultures.
OCT 11: 8
Pollan, Part II of In Defense of Food
- Part II : Western Diet and diseases of civilization
- Chapters 1 and 2
- Summer 1982 - W. Australia aborigines study -- "metabolic syndrome" -- defined, theorized as signiture disease of western diet.
- 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.)
- Group of early 20th c intellectuals (bot 90) noticed absence of chronic disease in populations they travelled to. Pollan chooses the story of Weston Price from this group.
- Two objections to hyp that Western diet is to blame: disease/race theory, demographic theory (live longer). 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. made comparisons of grass fed / winter forage fed animals to find vitamin differences.
- Albert Howard -- 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.
- Chapter 3
- 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
- 2. From Complexity to Simplicity
- 3. Quality to Quantity
- "overfed and undernurished"
- 4. Leaves to Seeds
- O3 decline also related to mental health. 130
- 5. From Food Culture to Food Science
OCT 16: 9
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 onditions like beriberi, pellagra, and scurvy.
- "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. (connect this discussion to Pollan, 40-50)
- 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".
- 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 to transition to a world in which the best nutritional advice was to tell people to eat less of many kinds of foods.
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. 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.
- 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.
Small Group Discussion
- Considering this political history, what part of government should have responsibility for informing the public about diet and health?
- Review the various ways of picturing a healthy diet including some of the other governments' approaches and "My Plate" (see Guidelines or )
OCT 18: 10
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.
- 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. []
- Frosted Mini-Wheats became "brain food". fraudulent research. 91-92 Commercial in this NPR story Also, check out these oldies. 
- Kellogg even tried comparing kids who ate Mini-Wheats to kids who skipped breakfast!
- Interesting. You could argue that we entered a "post truth" era in the food industry before politics.
Zepeda, Lydia, "Carving Values with a Spoon"
- Zepeda gives us a great example of philosophy of food writing that addresses many of the kinds of issues we have identified in the course so far. Note how she moves us off a "binary" of "consumer responsibility" vs. "regulatory state"
- How do you assess responsibility? individual vs. food industry. Her thesis: context affects choice.
- Values of US food context: lots of cheap calories, low % of spending on food, little concern about conditions of production. (note her point that we are using public money to do this. In a way, the opposite of a Nanny state might be one in which corporations maximize profit from food by degrading the quality of food.)
- some stats: food away from home up to 42% of food expenditures. 2004.
- national policy and cultural values influence by pioneer experience (p. 36), which often involved food insecurity and starvation. (Mention 1493- Thanksgiving story). Also might explain bias toward storable foods.
- postwar food culture characterized by industrial versions of pre-war diet. frozen dinners, more desserts, bigger serving sizes tracked increases in wealth.
- industrial deskilling -- "end of cooking"; labor participation from women increases.
- Eating in the New Millenium - focus on palette and how we spend our time.
- 1990s-2000s -- note p. 39. Interesting claim: we don't want real cuisine, but a branded version of it we can trust.
- 30 minutes a day on food prep and clean up. Simple Diet Plan: 70-90 minutes.
- wages in the food and restaurant industry are among the lowest.
OCT 23: 11
Pollan, In Defense of Food, Part 3
- Chapter 1
- concedes need to use science in spite of some ideology in nutrition science (nutrient fads, for example); big evidence about Western Diet is still epidemiological.
- hard to avoid industrial food if meat is raised on a Western diet (but not impossible. What does a whole food diet cost?)
- "eating algorithms" - interesting concept. rules of thumb for choosing food.
- Chapter 2: Eat Food
- Use grandma's standard; if it can't rot, it's not food. Ingredients; products with health claims; stay on the edges of the supermarket, avoid the commercial supermarket... (easier to just eliminate most processed foods). (Interesting to note how much smaller a food store can be without so much industrial food.)
- Chapter 3: Mostly Plants, especially leaves.
- leafy plants especially (current guidelines distinguish types of plants by color and starch). Gives the anti-oxidant theory (which seems to be holding up well)
- try not to isolate the seed from the plant. (Kind of like isolating the juice from the fruit.) Eat the whole thing.
- "You are what you eat eats too" - you can't have healthy animal food if you feed the animals a Western Diet. (disgress on Andrew Smith argument -- can't be vegetarian). Attention to soil.
- Pro: wild food, supplements, traditional cuisines (typically nutrient dense and balanced), scepticism about new foods, don't look for "magic" diets, enjoy food.
- Chapter 4: How to Eat
- European food culture: behaviors -
- Pay More, Eat Less - not just trade offs, but actually asserting control of amounts.
- Is save meal prep time a false convenience? economist study using concept of "time cost" of eating. Microwaves reduce that, for example.
- Eat Meals vs. "continuous eating" (some issues here: family units don't characterize your part of the life span at the moment. Ideas?)
- Some things to add to Pollan's list:
- potato chips comparison: Lay's vs. Kettle Brand
Small Group Discussion
- 1. Using the continuum we developed between "Ultra-industrial and Ultra-Organic/Saporific locate some of your favorite foods. Where are they on the scale? Which ones could you imagine "trading up" in cost and quality? Compare with others in the group?
- 2. Recall a time when you or a group of friends or family last made a "big deal" out of eating a meal together? Was that part also satisfying? Why? How do the satisfactions of a meal with others compare to those of eating alone? What do you or might you do to make a "big deal" out of eating alone? Is treating food as sacred going too far?
- 3. Evaluate Pollan's "Pay more, eat less" advice in the context of our discussions of "food value" and monthly food budgets. Does it make sense?
OCT 25: 12
Ethical Diets #1
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
Singer and Mason, "What Should We Eat"
- This reading gives you an overview of value oriented questions in diets.
Singer and Mason, "Ch 4, Meat and Milk Factories"
- "Jake" refers to real interview subject. Book framed around several distinct diets of actual people and then journalism and ethics layered in.
- 90% fewer farms producing 103 million pigs, up from 69 million in 1975.
- Pig farms environmental footprint dominated by excrement production. 4x human/day.
- Evidence against sow stalls in EU investigation.
- difficulty sourcing to particular dairy, even specialty brand. Cf. Pure Eire dairy 
- air pollution from dairy and cattle production.
- Beef cows
- Australian ranch: example of "happy meat" -- like "crowd cow"?
- Additional sources:
Fischer, Bob, "Arguments for Consuming Animal Products"
- This article considers the ethical possibilities for arguing either against prohibitions on meat eating or in favor of meat eating.
- "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
- 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)
- Rights based arguments
- Cuneo offers another version of this kind of argument, not killing is too great a burden on rights.
- New Speciesism and Agrarianism
- Environmental and Agrarian approaches
- 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 arguements 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.
OCT 30: 13
Moss, Ch. 11, "No Sugar, No Fat, No Sales"
- This is the story of Kraft's effort to respond to the obesity epidemic by cutting calories from its food line. Initially a "cabal" within Kraft, but then supported by it's tobacco executive owners at Phillip Morris (some of whom had been through the big tobacco litigation era), they proposed "package nutrition" labeling, reductions in calories from products, reducing "indulge" messaging, restaint in marketing to kids. They removed "billions" of calories from products (256). Sales tanked and the Wall street analysts circled. 2003 CEO fired, others connected with the effort leave.
Nix, Chapter 2, "Carbohydrates"
- Nature of
- Carbs are a source of short term energy. All Carbs break down into sugars during metabolism.
- Limits to the "energy" metaphor:
- carb levels and types help regulate other processes like insulin response,
- 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
- 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.
- decrease added sugar to less than 10% of calorie intake
- increase proportion of complex carbs.
- Two practical take aways:
- Calculating Carb amounts for your diet and noticing carb types and values in your diet.
- Understanding carb related advertising and health claims.
Short Writing Assignment: 600 words
- Stage 1: Please write an 600 word maximum answer to the following question by Thursday, November 8, 2018, 11:59pm.
- 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 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:
- Format your answer in double spaced text in a 12 point font, using normal margins.
- Save the file in the ".docx" file format using the file name "SW1".
- Log in to courses.alfino.org. 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. Complete your evaluations and scoring by Thursday, November 15, 2018, 11:59pm.
- Stage 3: Back-evaluation: After you receive your peer comments and evaluation back, take a few minutes to fill out this quick "back evaluation" rating form: . Fill out the form for each reviewer. Up to 10 points, in Q&W.
- Back evaluations are due November 21, 2018, 11:59pm.
- Stage 4: 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.
NOV 6: 14
Barber, "The 16.9 Carrot"
- This story connects our work on soil and nutrition with our focus now on gastronomy - practices that promotes taste, satisfaction, and significance or meaningfulness of a diet.
- Blue Hill and Stone Barnes -- as a project []
- Basic story -- farm/restaurant relationship, farmer Jack with his 16.9 carrots.
- 186: story of the soil, example of distilled vs. live vinegar,
- Terroir: Terroir (French pronunciation: [tɛʁwaʁ] from terre, "land") is the set of all environmental factors that affect a crop's phenotype, unique environment contexts and farming practices, when the crop is grown in a specific habitat. Collectively, these contextual characteristics are said to have a character; terroir also refers to this character.
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.
- Terroir for wheat? Aragon 03, kept alive in a corner of Spain, in high demand.
- 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.
- Jones wants to move beyond heirloom varieties. Still ways to improve and diversify strains.
NOV 8: 15
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. 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).
- 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?
NOV 13: 16
Montgomery, Chapters 2 and 3, "Dirt"
Chapter 2, "Skin of the Earth"
- Darwin's studies of worms. Worms are moving a heck of a lot of dirt.
- Note the recentness of our lack of knowledge of this. Also why antiquities sink.
- also noticing at this time hillside erosion.
- nitrogen fixation
- major point: the processes governing soils determine the possibility of plant and animal life.
- you are what you eat. you are what you eat eats.
Chapter 3, "Rivers of Life"
- 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.
- 300,000 year ago - first modern humans.
- 45,000 years ago - another wave of migration from Africa (movement occurred in both directions).
- Human Evolution Timeline
- emergence of agriculture (29)
- more work to produce a calorie at start of agriculture --(digress on Ian Morris, Foragers, Farmers, and Fossil Fuels). population grew to six thousand. evidence of settlements chose for ag condition.
- the dog -- 20,000 not food. possible self-domestication of cats.
- times for domesticated livestock. animal labor. 35: "Employing ox power, a farmer could produce farm more food than needed to fee a family." - recall labor calorie/food calorie ratio.
- after agriculture, population doubles every 1,000 years.
- irrigation led to salination of the soil, silting of rivers -- 39-40 evidence of lack of understanding of soil.
- Sumerian culture peaks at about 20 million and then declines along with the fertility of its land. (This the first instance of a pattern Montgomery finds in virtually all agricultural societies.)
- Pattern repeats in Egypt and China:
- 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 irrigation. 1880's salination extreme. Then Nasser damn.
NOV 15: 17
Moss, Ch. 8, "Liquid Gold"
- 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.
- Cheese in US food economy
- Philadelphia Cream Cheese
- Kraft Mac & Cheese. Nutritional profile doesn't look bad , but check out this comparison 
- 2008 Dutch research
- Puzzle: many cultures eat much more cheese than Americans. French 53, Italy 44, Germans 46.
Nix, Chapter 3, "Fats"
- Nature of
- C, H, O -- note that Carbs are different arrangements of these.
- visible: saturated fats are dense, form solids
- "trans" in structure and implicated in health risks, largely removed from processed foods.
- Functions of
- 34: diet of less than 10% calories from fat not consistent with health.
- storage of energy.
- source of fat soluble vitamins.
- Food Sources
- US overconsumption of sat. fats. should have less than 7% of calories from sat&trans fat combined.
- very low fat and fat free diets are dangerous to health (p. 43).
- DRI for linoleic acids at 17 g. alpha linolenic acid 1.1 g/day.
- Ratio of O-6 to O-3; 
- Some O-6 / 0-3 ratios of foods -- What's up with the meat section?
- Fatty Acid Profiles of Common Fats & Oils from US Dietary Guidelines
NOV 27: 18
Tannahill, ch 6, "Imperial Rome"
- the Annona --
- Roman eventually controls all of the wheat growing land in it's expanded empire.
- Note, this was all for Rome. Everyone else was relying on local food economy.
- Tech & Roman food supply chain
- dev. in ships. order of mag efficiency.
- dev. in milling
- "quern" -- (1 for every 10 soliders!)
- Roman Food meanings
- Butter eaters - barbarians
- Read some menu items, p. 81
- Apicius -- one of the first gourmands, food writer. early cookbook. 81
- Liquamen -- read 83 - fish sauces are early gastronomic developments.
- Silphium -- a lost food!
- Spice trades - ancient, but again 1st century Roman culture develops the concept. Importance of spices globally in developing the gastronomy of carb based diets.
Soler, Jean. "The Semiotics of Food in the Bible"
- Background thesis: link between diet and view of the world. Some theoretical nods to Levi-Strauss (see his work, "The Raw and the Cooked")
- This is one of the source articles for Tanahill's chapter. Soler gives more detail about the transitions through "three plates" of Judaism:
- 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 ag products, no leavening for bread (back to grain pastes!), nothing fermented. food of the patriarchs.
- Notion of moral order also applied to "mixed" marriages, prohibition of homosexuality, even to having an ox and an ass ploughing together.
- 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 mough, this defiles a mon" (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.
- 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. 
- Discussion directions:
- How does food function metaphysically, strategically, and socially in relation to JCI culture?
- Do contemporary food philosophies also involve these semiotic functions?
NOV 29: 19
McPherson, Tristram. "The Ethical Basis for Veganism"
- Defining Ethical Veganism
- Absolute vs. Modest definitions
- Sources of Defense for Veganism
- Self-interested Reasons -- the positive values of an animal free diet. j
- Doesn't get at non-dietary uses of animals.
- Doesn't support absolute non-consumption.
- Still not clear this involves an absolute prohibition.
- Animal-focused Arguments
- This is the avenue McPherson finds most promising.
- Principle of non-suffering: "Other things being equal, it is wrong to cause suffering"
- Still might be "defeasible" -- meaning it might admit of exceptions.
- Proposals for "closing the gap"
- Individual Efficacy
- Group Efficacy
DEC 4: 20
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.
- 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.
- Reflected in commitments to slavery, expansion, and exploitation.
- 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.)
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. Engels: land infinitely productive. Capitalists same. 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 gentic 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
- Agr-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 fleetfarming.com)
- connections between climate change, Syrian civil war, ISIS and refugee crisis. 
DEC 6: 21
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 -- []
- 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.
- 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.
Notes on Practicality
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,
- you rarely waste food,
- you don't spend more time preparing food than you can afford,
- your food is portable when you need it to be,
- your meals are flexible when they need to be,
- you have plenty of opportunities to prepare food when you aren't busy,
- but you never have to do it when you are too busy,
- you always have something great to eat and many choices about dinner,
- And, it's all completely affordable.
But digging deeper:
- How much time should you "afford" for food preparation and enjoying. How often? Slow Food thinking supplies some answers to this.
- What are the main strategies for "time shifting" your meal preparation? for batch preparation?
- How does solving practicality problems affect the sustainability of your diet as a personal practice?
- Focusing on practicality also increases personal accountability (counting calories from added sugar, alcohol, food costs and value)?
DEC 11: 22
- Worksheet for this chapter: 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.
- Food Sources
- Occurs in stomach and small intestines
- 10-35% of calories from diet
- .8g / Kg of body weight.
- Overconsumption of protein by Americans, p. 59
- Debates about protein quality. 
Fairlie, Simon. Meat: An Extravagance, C1
- Something about Simon Fairlie, 
- Locates his argument: agrees with social justice arguments about diverting food from poor to rich meat eaters, but doesn't accept vegan conclusion that no meat eating is acceptable. Only focused on environmental arguments, not other moral argument.
- Sees himself as agreeing with vegans about premises, but not conclusions.
- Interesting history to tell about nomadic cow/horse cultures and sedentary pig cultures and how they meet (ha!) in Europe. (American culture is cow culture, perhaps because of European migration West.)
- Different efficiency ratios for pigs. twice cows. (ruminants vs. monogastrics)
- Detail: After Black Death, demand for field crops declines, use of fodder crops allowed more animal to be kept over winter.
- Tracks emergence of "hog culture" in parts of US. role of refrigeration favoring cows. Pig meat can be cured more easily.
*Chapter 3 is for Thursday!
- Lays out the environmental case against meat. Agrees with it. Claims it's a problem for all luxuries. (Note argument strategy.)
- Environmental inefficiency of meat a concern prior to climate concerns. 50% of arable land in UK devoted to meat production.
- Starts discussion of efficiency:
- Trophic levels -- energy loss at each level accounts for need for larger inputs. p. 13 read: "By choosing to eat fish ...."
- "feed conversion" ratio -- based on percent of energy retained by animal from feed.
- parallel "land-take" ratio -- how frugally or extravagantly land can be used to produce food. Expressed as in Singer ""plant food yield about ten times as much protein per acre as meat does" (Long discussion of the 10:1 ratio initially suggests by Shelley! Variation by animal/meat type.
- turns to ag information to calculate feed conversion from expected grain needed to full weight for slaughter, then subtract non-meat part of the beast. You get about 10:1 for a cow.
- CAST vs. CIWF
- Beef is only 20% of consumption. Conversion ratios for other animals are better. Comparing CIWF (vegan oriented analysis) and CAST (meat industry analysis).
- Ultimately skeptical of CAST claim of little to no difference between animal / plant efficiency, but agrees with some of the reasons for lowering the ratios.
- 1. Nutritive value of meat, value of by products, values of fodder crops.
- 2. Animals consume food humans can't/don't eat.
- Nutritional Value -- sketchy claim here 1.4 times plant. But yields of basic nutrients should be factored in somehow along with pound for pound analysis.
- By Products -- p. 22 Mention bone broth. Value of byproducts in carcass declining due to competition from other sources. value of the cow's skin, by weight, greater than beef.
- Crop yields. Corn as a feed grain is more efficient than wheat and rice, though humans prefer wheat and rice as a staple. Skeptical of some CAST claims here, but agrees that conversion ratio goes down if the fodder crop has a higher energy yield (or lower ag inputs like water).
- The Global Pig Bucket -- foods we can't eat (grass, straw, stalks), foods we won't eat (partially spoiled, residues of food processing, kitchen waste, slaughter waste).
DEC 13: 23
Fairlie, C4 C5, "Default Livestock" and "The Plight of the Pig in the Nanny State"
- Chapter 4
- Basic argument for default livestock production. 37-38
- Claims default production accounts for a great deal of global meat production (hard to know). Could therefore satisfy demand up to the level that we think meat is healthy.
- Critique of UNFAO report, "Livestocks Long Shadow"
- Chapter 5
- Argues that we currently have unreasonable restrictions that work against welfarist (not his term) meat production.
- our responses to problems recycling animal food streams, such as the BSE crisis, problems at large farms, have led to restrictions that work against small producers.
- EU policy has favored industrial production by lowering cereal production, making residues less competitive.
- Foot and mouth disease figures -- 2001 six million wasted. Claims large farms more vulnerable.
- Note closing paragraph. Not many buy the Kipling line, but the co-evolution version might help, at least to get us to the present.
Chamowitz, C1 C5, "What a Plant Sees" and "How a Plant Knows Where It Is"
- We'll attempt to divide into groups based on the chapter you chose. Each group will take a few minutes to organize their notes and prepare to present them to the class. Then we'll try to assess the implications, if any for arguments about sentience in animal rights.
- Please write two 800 word essays on the following two prompts. The deadline for this assignment is Wednesday, December 19, 2018, 11:59pm.
- Topic A: Identify the four most important things that you would try to improve about the US food system and US eating habits in light of our course readings. The improvements you select should relate to at least two of the following types: what we eat, how we eat, or ethical values behind food choices. In each case, cite evidence and resources from the course to support your choices.
- Topic B: Drawing on two to three different course resources, explain why the transition to agriculture was a mixed blessing. Then identify the two most pressing problems that our current agricultural methods of food production pose for humans today. What, if anything, can be done about these problems?
- 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 (You may lose up to 5 Q&W points for not following these instructions):
- 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.
- Format your essays in double spaced text in a 12 point font, using normal margins.
- Save each essay in a separate file, using the ".docx" file format. Use the filename "A" for the first essay and "B" for the second essay.
- Log in to courses.alfino.org. Upload your file to the Final Essays dropbox.