The go-to source for all things food & nutrition science, politics and culture.
Foods of Roma
Roman food and cuisine is unparalleled. Seasons are embraced and there are certain dishes and foods that are strictly Roman. While some of the images posted here can be found in other places in Italy, these are staples. And they are delicious.
biscotti al pistacchio
burrata from Roscioli
cacio e pepe
risotto con tartufo nero by Oliver Glowig
polpetto from Da Enzo
pizza al taglio from Forno Campo de' Fiori
For those of you obsessed with photographing your food and posting every meal, morsel and molecule on instagram, Joseph Nicéphore Niépce was a French inventor, who supposedly took the first photograph of food or at least, the “potential” act of eating. He is often credited as being the inventor of photography and developed heliography in 1825, a technique in which prints are made from a photoengraved printing plate. This photo, taken in 1832, shows a table with an empty bowl ironically, a few utensils, a goblet of vino?, and some bread.
Indonesia in transition
Indonesia is going through great economic, cultural and nutrition transitions. A country of 13,000 islands so diverse, culturally-rich and vulnerable to climate change and related natural disasters, it is bound to shift. Those living on less than $3 a day has gone from 80% in 1999 to 30% in 2015. Over the same time period, overweight adults has doubled with 25% of men and 31% of women overweight. The food system is changing. These photos show the traditionally foods that remain alive and well, but at the same time, the infiltration of junk food everywhere.
Traversing Andalusia: Me importa un pimiento
Just spent the last two weeks in Southeastern Spain traversing Andalusia, Valencia and Murcia regions. Many people consider food in Spain a standout and this region is famous for its gazpacho and the Arab-inspired paella. I, however, am a bit more ambivalent about the cuisine. It is indeed meat heavy, and they are obsessed with “jamon.” Their air-dried hams melt in your mouth, the Chirizo is spicy, and the brown Iberico pigs that graze on acorns in the hills, give the hams a sweet, nutty taste. I tried a bit, but did not eat much of it as I am not a massive fan of swine or processed meats in general.
But there are some non-jamon gems that I find uniquely Spanish. I tend to gravitate towards their tapas. I love the salty grilled pimientos. Their briny olives and olive oil are perhaps, and dare I say, better than Italian varieties. They also have some great cheeses - Manchego cheese, made from sheep, and the soft goat cheeses are delicious.
If jamon doesn’t float your boat, they have lots of seafood, as much of this region touches the beautiful mediterranean coastline. It is fresh, and simply cooked a la plancha, fried or steamed.
Breakfast is light. The mashed tomato spread (with a little olive oil, garlic and salt) on bread is unadorned, but delicious for breakfast. Much like a bruschetta but different for some reason.
This region’s agriculture is producing A LOT of citrus but also cherries, and of course tomatoes.
By the end of our trip, I was craving my preferred cuisine, Italian, in a very Rosalía “malamente” way.
Basquiat and his foods
Jean Michel Basquiat is considered one of the most influential artists to come out of New York in the late 1970s. He was prolific in his paintings, drawings and graffiti. Many find his work to bring forth the political context of living life in America as a young, black man with imagery depicting issues of poverty, race, capitalism and urbanism. One of the themes in many of his paintings, which is not really discussed, is his renderings of food or the names of foods. Milk, eggs, meatballs, sausage. Sometimes repeated on one canvas, or repeated across different works. The depictions of food are often tied up with overarching themes of poverty, deprivation or just surviving. It is tragic that he wasn’t able to do just that - survive.
The iconic Toto eating pasta. Slapped on a Campbell soup label. Found in Trastevere, Roma.
This Woman's Work
“I know you've got a little life in you left, I know you've got a lot of strength left.”
There is an incredible number of paintings depicting women bent over toiling the land. Women rule the world because they grow our food. But they have to fight for it tooth and nail. They make up almost half of the world’s farmers, and are responsible for some 60 to 80% of the food produced in the developing world. Over the last few decades, they have broadened their involvement in agriculture.
The number of female-headed households has increased as more men have migrated to cities for work resulting in the “feminization of agriculture.” As the primary caregivers to families and communities, women provide food and nutrition; they are the human link between the farm and the table.
However, support for their hard labor is negligible. In the 97 countries assessed by the FAO, female farmers only received 5% of all agricultural extension services. Worldwide, only 15% of those providing these services are women. Just 10% of total aid provided for agriculture, forestry and fishing goes to women.
The Gleaners by Jean-Francois Millet
Women Harvesting by Arkadi Plastov
Wheat Harvest In Provence by Miroslav Stojkovic
It just don’t get better than this.
Even 500 + years ago, healthy food was around. This is a painting by Pieter Aertsen entitled Market Scene. He painted this in 1569. Lots of fruits and vegetables around back then. And they say are our diets have improved? Maybe not so.
This is not my home. How did I get so far from water?
It must be over that way somewhere.
I am the color of wine, of tinta.
The inside of my powerful right claw is saffron-yellow.
See, I see it now; I wave it like a flag.
I am dapper and elegant; I move with great precision, cleverly managing all my smaller yellow claws.
I believe in the oblique, the indirect approach, and I keep my feelings to myself.
But on this strange, smooth surface I am making too much noise.
I wasn't meant for this.
If I maneuver a bit and keep a sharp lookout, I shall find my pool again.
Watch out for my right claw, all passersby!
This place is too hard. The rain has stopped, and it is damp, but still not wet enough to please me.
My eyes are good, though small; my shell is tough and tight.
In my own pool are many small gray fish. I see right through them. Only their large eyes are opaque, and twitch at me. They are hard to catch but I, I catch them quickly in my arms and eat them up.
— Elizabeth Bishop
Ferns, just because
I recently took a trip to the Pacific Northwest and one cannot escape ferns. Fractile, vascular, primitive ferns. There are many variations of these special plants. Did you know that ferns are one of the oldest groups of plants on the planet, dating back to 385 million years ago? If you want to learn more, the American Fern Society, in which Oliver Sacks was a member of and wrote a whole book about ferns in Oaxaca, has taken the time to provide the details.