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Miso Soup, Colonial Curry, Food Politics, and More Long Reads

Worthy weekend reading material

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Food articles this week were ripe with political infusion, questioning and analyzing trends and tastes from around the globe. From a somber miso soup history to the questionably named "Irish Car Bomb", to a probing assertion that Indian curry may actually be British, we explore imported cultures. One author looks at suppression through the lens of food for a Civil War era feminist, and another by taking a deep dive into North Korea. An interactive article shows us food lobbies influences in the US, and then we see steps taken by the country to reduce food waste. We wrap up with an LA market that has thrived on international cuisine. Slàinte!

Plumbing the Depths of Miso Soup

Serious Eats

We didn't talk about the camps with my grandparents, not at Thanksgiving, not at Christmas, and not at any dinner with miso soup. You wouldn't say, "Please pass the shoyu," and then, "Tell us about the time you were imprisoned for having slanty eyes." We didn't talk about my grandma's weekly trips to Washington, DC. And we didn't talk about it on August 10, 1988, either.

The Irish Car Bomb: the controversial drink with a split reputation

The Guardian

"The drink gets some bad press to this day," said Charles Oat, the Connecticut bartender who invented the drink. "It wasn't done to celebrate car bombs," he added. "It was done to celebrate Irish families here in America."

Battle Hymn At The Dining Table: A Famous Feminist Subjugated Through Food

NPR

When it came to food, Julia Ward Howe — a prominent feminist in her own time — would be dictated to all her life. First by her wealthy Manhattan banker father, who converted to Calvinism and banished rich food and wine from the table; then by her husband; and finally by her children, who clucked their disapproval when they thought the old woman was helping herself to too much fruitcake.

The Indian curry is merely a figment of the British colonial imagination

Quartz

Few colonial food concepts are as enduring as the British idea of curry. The British, and indeed plenty of others around the world, use the term curry not as a descriptor for a kind of dish — say a Kerala chicken curry — €”but as a collective term that requires no article.  A term that encompasses the cuisine of an entire nation.

Traveling in the North Country

Lucky Peach

Mr. Lee stared back blankly, a grain of rice stuck to his chin. I could feel the lie—and my hunger—resonate against the walls of my stomach. After a moment, he accepted my dinner. And with that, my first North Korean meal was finished.

Restaurants, Lobbying, and the Politics of Persuasion

Eater

In another example, the Interagency Working Group (IWG) on Food Marketed to Children was tasked by the U.S. government to recommend guidelines for advertisers who market unhealthy products to children. The goal was to reduce childhood obesity, but many food companies advocated for less restrictive rules.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

New Republic

But tell people to stop throwing out food because they overbought or ordered in more often than they'd planned one week; point out that the food hauled to landfills in plastic bags rather than composted will rot and emit methane as efficiently as a field of belching cows; show schoolchildren and college kids the vats of recently cooked food and unopened cartons of milk and juice they're throwing out every day, and they'll want to change.

DTLA's Grand Central Market

Life and Thyme

That's clear as we make our way through the market, thick with tangible energy. People are here to grab lunch, but also to gather. There's a sense of community unlike anywhere else in Los Angeles. Adele tells me of replacing a meat purveyor with Belcampo Meat Co. On its first day of business they sold a goat's head. "They couldn't believe it. They had never sold a goat's head," she says.

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