This is our interview with Rachel Laudan about the history of food and why she’s an supporter of modern food. Rachel is the author of Cuisine & Empire: Cooking in World History.
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Episode 101 Overview
Here’s an overview of what we’ll be talking about in this episode:
- 1:50 – Who are you and what do you do?
- 2:30 – You say that you are “an unabashed, though not uncritical enthusiast about modern food.” Why is that?
- 6:10 – So are you saying that we live better now than we did 100 or 200 years ago?
- 7:30 – On your webpage, you say “entire populations in the richer parts of the world today eat as well as, actually better than the greatest emperors of the past.” Can you explain?
- 9:50 – “Don’t eat anything your grandmother wouldn’t recognize,” is an oft-repeated slogan. Can you elaborate on that topic?
- 11:30 – What do you think is behind the modern trend of being against processed foods?
- 15:50 – You’ve lived all over the world: Nigeria, Hawaii, Mexico, France, Germany, Argentina, Spain. How has this shaped your views of the role of food in culture?
- 17:50 – How has food influenced views of class? Do you think this still exists today?
- 23:40 – Your thoughts on traditional foods, local food, farm-to-table movements?
- 26:30 – How have empires shaped cuisine throughout time, specifically sugar? Has the quest for novel foods been a driver of imperialism?
- 29:20 – Is there a such thing as a “pure” cuisine?
- 32:40 – What do you think about Sidney Mintz’s book Sweetness & Power?
- 34:10 – Why dessert is served after dinner?
- 37:00 – Where should people start to learn more about your work?