Caring for the Future


“Only by safeguarding Nature’s resilience can we hope to have a resilient form of food production and ensure food security in the long term.”

– Prince Charles of Wales

We’re at a weird place when it comes to food. Between the latest fad diets, sensationalized scientific reports, and media exposés – Americans are more aware of what they’re eating than ever before. Yet, this awareness is generally limited to personal matters: “Will this food make me fat?” or “Does this vitamin fight cancer or cause it?” We care very much about food on the small-scale, but simultaneously we might be missing the bigger picture, with potentially terrible consequences.

As Prince Charles states in his speech “On the Future of Food,” there is more to our relationship with food than our own bodily health. Our methods of food production and consumption affect the health of the planet itself. The methods of industrial agriculture work for the time being, but they lack sustainability; It is this short-sightedness that has Prince Charles worrying, “for the sake of your generation…It is your future that concerns me and that of your grandchildren, and theirs too.” And again and again, he addresses the problems we face now or will face in the not-too-distant future. Continue reading

Sweet Research and the Joy of Cooking Just Enough

Sweet Research and The Joy of Cooking Just Enough

“The calories and portion sizes of classic recipes may reflect prevailing tastes and norms. Yet, they may also establish or reinforce exaggerated norms in other settings…”

-Brian Wansink and Collin R. Payne, “The Joy of Cooking Too Much: 70 Years of Calories Increases in Classic Recipes”

In their research article originally published in Annals of Internal Medicine, Brian Wansink and Collin Payne analyze the calorie increases across 18 recipes printed in both the 1936 and 2006 editions of The Joy of Cooking. Using a variety of methods that I barely understand, Wansink and Payne tracked both ingredient changes and serving size adjustments for their analysis. These researchers did a lot of statistical analyses, made some impressive charts, and seemed very intent on telling me that “P<0.001,” though I have no idea what that means. In this highly formal and informative article, Wansink and Payne conclude that “the mean average calorie density in 18 classic recipes has increased 35.2% per serving over the past 70 years” (121). 

…So I understand that eating too many calories is bad. And my hometown actually received a shout-out on the TV series Parks and Recreation for our history with high obesity levels. But I simply could not find a way to relate to or really care about Wansink and Payne’s article the first time I read it. This response had much more to do with my utter disregard for numbers than for their abilities as researchers and writers. But still, for all their talk about recipes, Wansink and Payne did not mention a single specific food in this article. I don’t even know which “classic foods” have become unhealthier. Why should I care about anonymous recipes in The Joy of Cooking? The only cookbook I use is a recipe collection from my roommate’s grandma. And Pinterest. Continue reading

“Nut”-thing to It: How to Eat Acorns and Enjoy It

“I worked my hands down through the sleek, cool nuts until my arms were in up to my elbows, and laid my cheek against the acorns in a kind of embrace. I smelled their faint dust, thought of all the rain and darkness and hunger they would forestall, and felt fiercely proud.”
– Jean Hegland, Into the Forest (193)


There are some things you should know about me before we get started: I have never been a proponent of natural, organic, vegetarian, or vegan eating. I have never fallen into any health food fads because I have never given a second thought to health food. I come from three generations of farmers, and the only farming I have done has been weeding my mother’s flower garden. Continue reading

Chocolate chip cookies.

The Chocolate Chip Cookie Experience: Rediscovering the Pleasures of Eating Via Home Baking

                   “Prepare your own food. This means reviving in your own mind and life the arts of           kitchen and household.”—Wendell Berry, “The Pleasures of Eating”

Food today is available more readily, and in more varieties, than ever before, as supermarkets, and restaurants offer an abundance of convenient eating options. But this proliferation of quick and easy food products, while certainly advantageous at times, is not without problems. In his essay “The Pleasures of Eating,” farmer and author Wendell Berry draws his audience’s attention to a major issue confronting our population: the modern-day phenomenon of “industrial eating.”

Berry describes the industrial eaters of today as “passive consumers”(64), disengaged from and unaware of the stories behind their meals. While, as he states, “Eating ends the annual drama of the food economy that begins with planting and birth” (64), many people do not think of themselves as active participants in this drama. Instead, “eating has become a degraded, poor, and paltry thing” (66), which people hurry through with little or no awareness. Continue reading