Food History: Pigs

Lesser Beasts: A Snout-to-Tail History of the Humble Pig by Mark Essig – review

Why the pig is so loved and so shunned … this is a witty history of western civilisation told through our four-legged pork producer. 

Jeffreys, Henry. Book Review. The Guardian. May 28, 2015.

Food History: Cumin

The History of Cumin

“Once [cumin] has been introduced into a new land and culture, cumin has a way of insinuating itself deeply into the local cuisine, which is why it has become one of the most commonly used spices in the world,” writes Gary Nabhan, author and social science researcher at the University of Arizona Southwest Center, in his recent book, Cumin, Camels, and Caravans.”

Nabham’s book is about spices and global trade and the effect that has had on history and culture. Cumin was found in the world’s oldest recipe collection in Mesopotamia in 1750 B.C. It has been prevalent in the Middle East since then. Cumin spread with the Roman Empire; and then, spread again by European colonists.

Mascevich, Adam. From Ancient Sumeria to Chipotle Tacos, Cumin Has Spiced Up the World. NPR. March 11, 2015.


2012 National Locally-Grown Food Statistics

The Local Food Movement Is Growing Up: 

  • 163,600 farms were engaged in local food sector across the country
  • $6.1 billion in locally grown food was sold
  • 2006-2014 – the number of farmers markets jumped from 180% to 8,260 markets
  • > 4,300 school districts spent > $385 million on local food thru farm-to-school programs
  • > 135 operational food hubs now move local food from farmers to meet wholesale, retail and institutional customers

Harden, Krysta. The Local Food Movement Is Growing Up. Modesto Bee. March 4, 2015.

Reposted from March 07, 2015 8:05am Facebook Post

Americans’ budget shares devoted to food

Americans’ spending on food— proportional to income — declined dramatically between 1960 and 2007, according to a chart recently published by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Economic Research Service (ERS). 

As the chart shows, the average share of per capita disposable income spent on total food on average decreased from 17.5% in 1960 to 9.6%.  “The share of income spent on total food began to flatten in 2000, as inflation-adjusted incomes for many Americans have stagnated or fallen over the last decade or so. In 2014, Americans spent 5.5 percent of their disposable personal incomes on food at home and 4.3 percent on food away from home.”

USDA, ERS. Americans’ Budget Shares Devoted to Food Have Flattened in Recent Years.

In Defense of the Humble Casserole

My mother could really whip out casserole. She was famous for her “Johnny Knows It” dish, but not so much for her Tuna Casserole: it left something to be desired. To her, a casserole was the zenith of modern cuisine. However, casseroles have a long history. 

In this article: “The word casserole refers not only to a prepared dish but to the cooking vessel as well.

‘There are two histories of casseroles. There’s a medieval history and the modern history. The modern history really begins in America,” says Clifford A. Wright, author of “Bake Until Bubbly: The Ultimate Casserole Cookbook” and “Hot & Cheesy.’ ”

Dispatch-Argus. In Defense of the Humber Casserole. January 27, 2015.

Have we reached ‘peak food’?

This was a thought provoking  article. (I started to say food for thought).

Supposedly, such staples as wheat chicken, and rice are slowing in production growth. Is the alarmist propaganda or are these trends real? I don’t know. 

However, we, in the U.S., need to appreciate our food abundance and not take it for granted. And we need to constantly be seeking innovations extend that abundance to others. 

Bawden, Tom. Have We Reached “Peak Food”? Shortages Loom as Global Production Rates Slow. Independent, January 28, 2015.

Reposted from February 1, 2015, FaceBook Post