Consuming Conflicts

“For many foodies in contemporary America, of course, the past has no pitfalls. For them, yesteryear is a land where everyone grew up instinctively knowing the difference between ‘real’ and ‘fake’ food—wisdom we seem to have lost. Recently this attitude has crystallized in a popular axiom echoed from the pages of Pollan’s FOOD RULES to the set of OPRAH: If your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize it as food, don’t eat it.

“It’s a simple, homey rule with immediate nostalgic appeal. I can even look past its questionable cultural assumptions. (My great-grandmother wouldn’t have recognized many of my favorite Ethiopian, Thai, and Mexican dishes as human food.) But, as I dug into the history of battles over bread, I realized that this whole nostalgic perspective had a bigger problem: What if Great-Grandmother was just as conflicted about food as we are?”

Aaron Bobrow-Strain, “What Would Great-Grandma Eat?”

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