Farm Memories

During my food history class last week, I showed a video of Martha Stewart visiting our farm in Maine. The students were learning about the Agricultural Revolution in Britain. Late 18th century livestock improvers, such as Robert Bakewell, produced what we now call heritage breeds of livestock, such as Cotswold sheep and Gloucester Old Spots pigs. In 1994, I founded Kelmscott Rare Breeds Farm for the purpose of conserving these old-fashioned livestock breeds.  Apparently this endeavor piqued Martha’s Read more [...]

Guerilla-Made Food Maps

I've been working on a food-mapping project for the past several months called Food: An Atlas. The project is a non-profit venture launched by the CAGE (Cartography and GIS Education) Lab at the University of California at Berkeley. The project team intends to self-publish a map created by a network of content providers and cartographers over the web. The idea behind the project is to produce a food atlas in a short amount of time from a broad community of researchers. The Berkeley team, located Read more [...]

Cooks from Farm to Table in Austin

Texas peaches will soon disappear from the Hill Country roadside stands, removing star performers on local restaurant menus such as Peach Melba. Named after an Australian opera singer, Peach Melba was the invention of Auguste Escoffier, a nineteenth century entrepreneur who introduced the ice cream and peach dessert to the Paris Ritz. Demonstrating his creative culinary imagination, he convinced farmers in the Rhone Valley to grow thin-stalked, green asparagus for the British who paled at the white, Read more [...]

Food Riots, Then and Now

My students have just read about the bread riots in France leading to the French Revolution in 1789. My course is about the history of food in Europe and we explore the ways food connects with change over time. Lots of change begins with a revolution. While we were reading about the women who flung loaves of bread at the king in Versailles, the faces of angry men in Cairo were raging over the price of grain as the Arab Spring portended a new revolution. Egypt, like other countries in its region, Read more [...]

The Food Lab Office Hours Fall 2012

Brown Bag Lunch Office Hours   Got an idea for a food business? Come to office hours and join us for a brown bag lunch! Great way to meet other food entrepreneurs. Every Tuesday, Noon - 1pm Room 3.112, Sutton Hall Contact: Professor Metcalfe Read more [...]

Walmart and South Africa

Critics of our global food system will find the recent news about Walmart in South Africa disturbing. The Wall Street Journal reports that South African food companies are working hard to transform their products and business practices so they can work with Walmart. While this may appear a form of American cultural hegemony, South Africans are anxious to join the global food chain by joining forces with the U.S. food company. One South African food company executive said, “We are desperate not Read more [...]

The University of Texas at Austin’s New Food Lab

The Food Lab (TFL) is based in the Center for Sustainable Development (CSD) of the School of Architecture (SOA) of the University of Texas at Austin (UT). The Food Lab provides undergraduate awareness of food issues, encourages and motivates students to engage with innovative food systems research, and provides support to startups that leverage University research. The Lab is a catalyst for scientific and cultural experimentation and innovation in the food system. We encourage the research community Read more [...]

The Lunch Hour

The new exhibit at The New York Public Library, “ Lunch Hour,” is chock-full of artifacts, stories, and memories that will feed your curiosity about meals quickly consumed and forgotten. One enlightening tidbit is the definition of lunch during the 18th century. Samuel Johnson defined lunch “as much food as one’s hand can hold.” (From the “lunch” entry in Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language, 1755.) Exploring  New York City "lunch hour", the rich displays reveal a complicated Read more [...]

Austin’s New Sipping Chocolatier

Austin is bursting with enthusiasm for food. Even better, our city fosters innovative startups that add to the richness and experience of the food scene. Foodies, food trucks, and fans of food in general have thrived and grown over the last twenty years, driven by the mix of musicians, college students, and artists seeking cheap and delicious food. Thus the food truck phenomena hit Austin first, giving our city a reputation for being a scrappy player in the food scene. The recent surge of interest Read more [...]

Cattle Calls

Back on their feet after weeks of having their reputation besmirched by tales of pink slime, cattle are drawing attention to the complexities and uncertainties of our food system.  Chinese dairies, mad cows, and powdered milk illustrate how the milk and meat industry adapts, pivots, and innovates in a dynamic and rapidly changing global market. While remotely connected, the occurrence of one mad cow in Tulare, California, powdered milk producers in the US and 25 shiploads of cattle moving from Read more [...]