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Posts tagged ‘fast food’

Let them eat burgers

Earlier this month, Patricia de Lille – the former firebrand stalwart of the radical Pan Africanist Congresshanded over the key to Cape Town, to a man dressed up as a hamburger.

Now the mayor of the opposition-controlled City of Cape Town, De Lille met with the senior management of Grand Parade Investments, as well as the hamburger, to celebrate the opening of the first branch of Burger King in South Africa.

Since selling its first burger on 9 May, queues have snaked all the way down Heerengracht Street – not Cape Town’s loveliest quarter – as punters wait hours to try Whoppers and the chain’s other products.

So far the only controversy that the chain seems to have generated is a call from People against Gangsterism and Drugs (Pagad) to boycott Burger King because Grant Parade Investments also owns Grand West Casino – to which Pagad is opposed on the grounds that gambling further impoverishes the poor communities which surround Grand West.

There has been a lot of chatter about the opening of a new fast food chain in South Africa: will the 120 planned Burger King outlets contribute to the country’s increasingly high instance of obesity? How will existing brands respond to this new competition? And is Burger King’s arrival part of a ‘McDonaldisation’ of South African food? In other words, is a kind of globalised junk food changing the ways in which South Africans eat?

All of these are complex questions which are impossible to answer less than a month after the opening of one branch of Burger King. But we can begin to address the last because South Africa’s experience of global Big Fast Food is fairly similar to what has happened abroad, and in the past.

In the weeks preceding the opening of Burger King, Grand Parade Investment’s CEO, CFO, and Chairman lovebombed the South African media. In the several radio interviews that I heard, they reiterated over and over again that although the product they’re bringing into South Africa is the same as that served in the US – and of the same quality – it will be produced by well-trained South African employees, and made using ingredients processed locally. (Burger King will open a factory in Philippi.)

The flagship Burger King has a mural of Table Mountain and the Grand Parade in a prominent place. For all the fact that Burger King’s appeal is based on its status as an exotic foreign product, it’s been modified to appeal specifically to South African customers.

This, however, is not unique. One of the main reasons for the incredible success of McDonald’s all over the world is that while it maintains the pretence of selling precisely the same product in India, Belgium, and Argentina, each of those countries has both a menu and a dining experience which is – more or less – tailored to the expectations and preferences of local diners.

For instance: recently, there has been some coverage of McDonald’s attempt to add pasta to its menus in Italy. Although this has been greeted with derision, the chain has done similar things elsewhere. It tried to introduce falafel to its menu in Israel, and yak burgers in Mongolia.

One of the reasons for Taco Bell’s relative lack of success outside of the United States is its inability to adjust its model to local tastes. Indeed, McDonald’s isn’t the only chain to allow its menus and, even, restaurant design to be fairly flexible: Subway, for example, sells a Chicken Tikka sandwich – flatbread optional – in the UK.

In France, despite sustained opposition from anti-globalisation activists and the food movement, McDonald’s has more than 1,200 branches. In contrast, South Africa – considered to be one of McDonald’s most successful ventures – has only 161. Why? Because it uses ingredients popular with French customers – cheese, Dijon mustard – allows for diners to stay longer in their restaurants (French customers are more likely to eat full meals at McDonald’s rather than to snack), and it opened the McCafe, which sells patisserie.

I use the example of France deliberately, because it’s usually described as having an admirably distinct and healthy food culture (whatever we may mean by ‘food culture’). McDonald’s success there not only suggests that this reputation is based, to some extent, on myth and a lot of PR, but also that the implications of the presence of Big Fast Food for people’s diets, are complex.

Although the ‘South Africanisation’ of Burger King is interesting to explore, I think it might be more useful to understand the arrival of the chain in relation to the country’s shifting demographics and economic development. Arriving almost two decades after the dawn of democratic government, Burger King has certainly taken its time to get here.

McDonald’s opened its first branch in 1995, and, initially, exerted the same appeal in South Africa as it did in Russia during the late 1980s.  Similar to South Africa’s participation in the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, it symbolised the end of the country’s isolation.

In 2013, Burger King has arrived to take advantage of the growth of South Africa’s middle class. As Jonny Steinberg notes in a recent article:

It is true that our politics is increasingly corrupt, that people express discontent by throwing stones and burning things, that yawning inequalities cause much resentment. Less well known is that the income of the average black family has increased by about a third since the beginning of democracy; that 85% of homes are electrified compared with just over half on the last day of apartheid…

Despite the slowing down of economic growth – despite the fact that at the moment R10 will buy only $1 – there are still more South Africans to spend cash on fast food, and other consumer goods, than ever before. It’s telling that the malls and other locations at which the new Burger King branches will open tend towards the upper end of the market – and that the chain will focus its operations on the Western Cape and Gauteng, the country’s two wealthiest provinces.

In his study of the exponential success of McDonald’s in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and China, James L. Watson argues that McDonald’s took off at the same time that family structures in these countries changed: as the size of families shrunk, as women began, increasingly, to work outside the home, and as it became more common for nuclear families to live separately from grandparents, so McDonald’s found a market in these comparatively wealthy families with children to spoil. He writes:

American-style birthday parties became key to the company’s expansion policy. Prior to the arrival of McDonald’s, festivities marking youngsters’ specific birthdates were unknown in most of East Asia. … McDonald’s and its rivals now promote the birthday party – complete with cake, candles, and silly hats – in television aimed directly at kids.

As in China, Burger King is a treat for South Africa’s newly-affluent middle-class families, and not (yet) associated with absolutely cut-priced eating. The association of big fast food chains with poverty seems to remain limited to wealthier nations.

My point is that the arrival of Burger King now – in 2013 – says far more about South Africa than it does about Burger King.

I think one of the best examples of the massive change which the country has experienced, is the rise and rise of the current Deputy President of the ANC – and future Deputy President (and President?) of South Africa. In 1994 he was known as a founder of the National Union of Mineworkers, arguably South Africa’s most powerful union, and as a key figure in the negotiations which ended apartheid. Now Cyril Ramaphosa is one of South Africa’s wealthiest people. And, until recently, the owner of the local franchise for McDonald’s.

Sources

Ian Brailsford, ‘US Image but NZ Venture: Americana and Fast-Food Advertising in New Zealand, 1971-1990,’ Australasian Journal of American Studies, vol. 22, no. 2 (December 2003), pp. 10-24.

Rick Fantasia, ‘Fast Food in France,’
Theory and Society, vol. 24, no. 2 (Apr., 1995), pp. 201-243.

EU Igumbor, D. Sanders TR Puoane, L. Tsolekile, C. Schwarz C, et al., ‘“Big Food,” the Consumer Food Environment, Health, and the Policy Response in South Africa.’ PLoS Med, vol. 9, no. 7, (2012), e1001253.

John W. Traphagan and L. Keith Brown, ‘Fast Food and Intergenerational Commensality in Japan: New Styles and Old Patterns,’ Ethnology, vol. 41, no. 2 (Spring, 2002), pp. 119-134.

James L. Watson, ‘China’s Big Mac Attack,’ Foreign Affairs, vol. 79, no. 3 (May-Jun., 2000), pp. 120-134.

Jianying Zha, ‘Learning from McDonald’s,’ Transition, no. 91 (2002), pp. 18-39.

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Tangerine and Cinnamon by Sarah Duff is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Food Links, 17.04.2013

Oxfam’s ‘Behind the Brandsreport.

What to eat.

Why Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move tour may not succeed.

The right-wing agenda of Eden Foods.

How America gained weight between 1985 and 2010.

Whither the American food movement?

Insects: food of the future.

Gwyneth Paltrow’s faddy diet is very, very dangerous. (And why she’s an evil genius. Possibly.)

A short film about New York’s ‘canners‘.

Sustainable pig farming is possible.

Generational attitudes towards sushi and gay marriage.

Why we should eat wonky fruit and vegetables.

The rise of China’s tomato industry. And Asda’s ‘Italian‘ tomato puree comes from…China.

Surprising facts about fast food.

Concrete-filled walnuts.

The rediscovery of home bread making in Italy.

An attempt to remove Italian words from a menu in a Quebec restaurant.

The joy of cauliflower.

What causes beef rainbows?

Sales of golden ale increase.

Making little cakes with Martha Washington.

In praise of lentils.

Africa is a Country launches a new series on African cooking.

Where to buy the best toasted cheese in London.

Seb Emina on breakfasts in literature. (Thanks, Sarang!)

Different McNugget shapes have names.

The best TV shows.

Human-shaped gummi bears.

Madeleine, or biscotte?

Bread- and pastry-making in Lebanon.

On congee.

How to make your own mozzarella.

Improvising cake.

The Vaportini.

Aging wine in the sea.

Literary cakes.

A review of The Art of the Tart.

The food and drink of Pompeii and Herculaneum.

The Adria brothers’ new restaurant.

The fad for cereal milk.

The resignation cake.

These are courtesy of my Mum:

The self-stirring saucepan.

On strawberries and cream.

Goblin-Proofing One’s Chicken Coop.

On Fanny Cradock.

Sunny South Africanism

If South Africans were congratulating themselves in the wake of the contaminated meat scandal in Europe about the absence of horse – and, indeed, unlabelled pork – in their red meat, then their self-congratulation appeared misplaced. A couple of weeks ago, scientists at Stellenbosch University revealed that certain processed meat products contained donkey, water buffalo, goat, and even kangaroo meat.

It’s perfectly legal to sell these meats in South Africa, as long as they’re labelled correctly. But what is so disquieting about this local scandal is that it suggests a failure – even collapse – of South Africa’s food safety regulators: no South African abattoir is licensed to slaughter any of these animals, and it seems that this meat was trafficked into South Africa by criminal syndicates.

As I wrote last month, as the world’s food chain has been globalised since at least the beginning of the twentieth century, so this link between crime networks, poor regulation, and food adulteration is nothing new. I was also struck by the snobbery of so much of the response to the presence of horse and other meats in fast food and ready meals: that people who bought cheap, processed meat only had themselves to blame for inadvertently consuming horse, or other ‘taboo’ animals.

I have very little patience for the self-satisfied smuggery of middle-class foodies who advise eating less and more expensive meat to people who would never be able to afford even this shift in their eating habits. But I was amused by South African commentators who noted that nobody would notice if they had eaten water buffalo in their boerewors because, well, nobody really knows what goes into it in the first place.

I was thinking about this recently because a few weeks ago I had supper at Gourmet Boerie, a new restaurant which has opened at the bottom of Kloof Street, in the hub of Capetonian cool. There is something profoundly oxymoronic about a gourmet boerewors roll – or boerie – restaurant. If there is one item of fast – or street – food which unites the vast majority of South Africans, it is the boerewors roll.

Boerewors – which translates, literally, as farmer’s sausage – is a kind of coarse, highly-spiced sausage, sold in coils similar to Cumberland sausage. Strongly flavoured with salt, cumin, cloves, allspice and, particularly, dried coriander, it’s usually barbecued over smouldering wood, and then served either in a hotdog roll with All Gold tomato sauce, for preference, or with maize meal porridge and a spicy tomato and onion relish, also known as chakalaka.

The aroma of barbecued boerewors is the smell of suburban summer evenings, but it’s to be found in townships, at weekend football matches, with their largely black crowds, and at mainly white cricket and rugby games. The boerewors roll stand is a fixture of church bazaars, school sports meetings, festivals, local supermarkets over weekends, and even political party rallies. It is the South African hotdog, but, I think, much more delicious.

It’s also reflective of the country’s own complex social and cultural history. Its flavouring is borrowed from the southeast Asian slaves brought to the Cape Colony between the late seventeenth century and 1807, when the slave trade was abolished. But the sausage itself is part of a northern European tradition of meat preservation and sausage making. Indeed, it can be eaten dried as well. (Many a dog has been trained on bits of droëwors.)

The butcher in Sutherland.

The butcher in Sutherland.

Today, it can be bought in every supermarket, but also at butchers around the countryside. Supermarkets will carry at least two or three different ranges of boerewors, and it also differs from from region to region – the most popular local version being the slightly milder Grabouw sausage. Some of the nicest boerewors I’ve had recently came from a butcher in the Karoo village of Sutherland – best known for its astronomical observatory – but my local Pick ‘n Pay sells perfectly good boerewors too.

And although supermarkets are required to list the ingredients of each pack, there’s always a chance that a local butcher may add fairly unorthodox meats to his particular – usually secret – blend. Curious about what the standard recipe for boerewors is, I turned, inevitably, to my copy of that Mrs Beeton of South African cooking, Kook en Geniet. The recipe recommends a mixture of beef and pork, at a ratio of 5:1. Having marinaded the meat in a mixture of salt, pepper, vinegar, and ground dried coriander, cloves, allspice, and nutmeg, it’s all minced together along with some cubed lard and then stuffed into sausage casings. This is not, admittedly, the most overwhelmingly healthy meal.

Mutton is a frequent addition, and the sausage can vary in thickness and spiciness. The overwhelming flavour, though, is of ground coriander. A few winters ago, I upset a butcher in a farmers’ market held in a Marylebone car park, when I pointed out that his approximation of boerewors was too finely minced and not particularly faithful to the original, being fragrant with cumin and fenugreek.

My point is that although boerewors may vary significantly from region to region, and even from shop to shop, it’s still recognisably the same product because its texture and flavour tend to remain broadly similar.

I was, then, deeply curious about what Gourmet Boerie would do to the boerewors roll to make it ‘gourmet’. I was lucky enough to take Jeffrey Pilcher and Donna Gabaccia – brilliant, US-based historians of food and immigration – with me, and we puzzled over the purpose of the restaurant.

I had the ‘classic’ roll, with traditional boerewors in a hotdog bun with caramelised onions. Despite a softer-than-usual bun, this didn’t differ substantially from similar rolls I have eaten at festivals and friends’ barbecues. In fact, I think I could have eaten as good a boerewors roll at a Boland cricket match.

Jeffrey, though, as befitting a specialist in the history and politics of food and cooking in Mexico, tried the Mexicano roll, which came with tomato salsa, guacamole, sour cream, jalapeños, and fresh coriander. It was interesting – and it’s in the variety of boerewors rolls that the restaurant seems to position its ‘gourmet’ status. Not only can punters choose between different kinds of sausage (traditional, mutton, even vegetarian) and rolls, but they come with a selection of toppings, ranging from a breakfast boerie with bacon and eggs, to a ‘sophistication’ with goats’ cheese and basil pesto.

So the rolls themselves are fine, but not astonishingly, eye-poppingly revelatory. What interested us more was in the way the restaurant reframes South African cooking and, indeed, ‘South African-ness.’ It sells local beers, and versions of traditional puddings. It has proteas arranged in jars on the tables. The lampshades and soft furnishings are covered in fabric designed by Cape Town-based Skinny LaMinx.

Gourmet Boerie in Kloof Street, Cape Town.

Gourmet Boerie in Kloof Street, Cape Town.

Clearly, the owners of Gourmet Boerie are part of an international trend which transforms street foodhamburgers, ramen, Chinese dumplings – into a ‘gourmet’ experience to be eaten in restaurants. There was even, I am told, an episode in the South African series of Masterchef which required contestants to transform the boerewors roll into fine dining. The irony implicit in this refashioning of what was, originally, cheap snacks meant to be cooked and consumed quickly, is that their gourmet incarnations insist upon their ‘authenticity’. That it is, somehow, possible to eat ‘authentic’ Japanese or American street food in a London or Melbourne restaurant.

But what Gourmet Boerie is doing, is not only the recreation of a South African street food into a kind of ‘authentic’ and ‘gourmet’ experience (whatever we may mean by ‘authentic’ and ‘gourmet’), but a refashioning of South Africa itself: Gourmet Boerie is as much about boerewors rolls as it is about being South African. And the South Africa that Gourmet Boerie touts is one which ignores the country’s fractured, contested past and present – it is cool, beautifully designed, and emphasises South Africa’s easily depoliticised natural landscape with the presence of so many indigenous flowers.

But with an overwhelmingly black cooking and serving staff overseen by a white manager, the inequalities of contemporary South African society really can’t be elided in this sunny vision of South Africa.

I don’t argue that Gourmet Boerie should rethink its representation of South Africa – of course not, it’s a restaurant and not a museum – but, rather, that we should pay attention to how it links a version of South African street food to an attempt to create a depoliticised South African-ness. And one that is equally palatable to both locals and the legions of foreign tourists who visit Cape Town every summer.

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Tangerine and Cinnamon by Sarah Duff is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Food Links, 24.10.2012

How healthy is raw milk?

Pesticides, bees, and governments’ unwillingness to introduce regulations.

A debate on the origins of opposition to GM crops.

Global warming has changed the fishing industry in southern Greenland.

Are lower pesticide residues a reason to buy organic?

Arguments in favour of national grain reserves.

Reclaiming our seed culture.

The world faces a steep decline in fish stocks.

Colin Tudge on small farms.

Using mushrooms to build cities.

How diseases are spread via the food chain.

Pigs are in crisis.

American fast food chains that don’t support the Republicans.

How long do you need to work before you can afford to buy a beer?

Crispin Odey, banker, plans on building a neo-Classical chicken coop.

Why fish need exercise.

The US election and the snack onslaught.

Crisis in the Greek food and olive oil industries.

Nathaniel Bacon’s ‘Cookmaid with Still Life of Vegetables and Fruit‘.

What is okonomiyaki? (Thanks, Mum!)

On misophonia. (I have this. It’s hell.)

The world’s fastest one-litre engine vehicle runs on cheese.

Ladies who drink.

The extraordinary invention of tabs on cans.

Vagina cupcakes.

Food typography.

Pumpkin pancakes.

Three burning questions about salt.

A new blog on pickling and preserving.

Cheese smuggling in Canada.

Christina McDermott on favourite food blogs.

A brief history of drinking and reading.

Delicious dishes with revolting names.

Berger & Wyse’s food-themed cartoons.

What’s the best shot for photographing food?

On dashi.

Bologna’s new ice cream museum. (Thanks, Catherine!)

Sam Woollaston cooks along to Nigellissima.

Cows respond to the Tim Noakes diet.

A recipe for pudding in verse, from Jane Austen’s family.

How to keep spices fresh.

Fashionable cafes in Paris.

How to eat breakfast cereal.

A recipe for challah.

Vogue plans to open a cafe in Dubai.

A reading of the ingredients in Kraft Dinner. (Thanks, Kelsey!)

Food Links, 26.09.2012

How much food gets thrown away?

Visualising the relationship between food, water, and energy.

A food-growing workshop in George this weekend.

Is organic food worth the expense?

Emily Manktelow considers Emma Robertson’s Chocolate, Women, and Empire.

How banks cause hunger.

FoodPods.

Street food in the Muslim Quarter in Xi’an.

The strange history of Kraft Dinner.

Food waste facts.

The legacy of Chicago’s Milk Ladies.

Americans’ relationship with sugar.

The Los Angeles Halaal butcher with a largely Latino clientele.

The enthusiasm for American fast food in the Middle East.

Lawrence Norfolk on food and eating in fiction.

A cultural history of the apple.

The Gladiator Diet. (Thanks, Mum!)

Celebrating Rosh Hashanah in India.

A comprehensive guide to coffee.

The shape of the glass helps to determine how you drink beer.

Grilled cheese.

246 Common in Tokyo.

Marmite – superfood?

Cake in the office.

A poem about potatoes.

If in doubt, make tea.

Oreos adapted for different countries.

Campbells issues Andy Warhol soup cans.

Food and restaurant signs in Greece.

The world’s first pizza museum.

The return of temperance drinks in the UK.

Taipei‘s food scene.

Solar cells powered by…spinach.

How test bicarbonate of soda and baking powder for freshness.

Ideas for using up stale bread.

The world’s shiniest fruit.

Photographs of sandwiches.

Eighteenth-century kitchen gadgets.

Food Links, 08.08.2012

The corn harvested in the US for biofuel could feed 412 million people.

Raj Patel’s new project: Generation Food.

Americans drink more fizzy soft drinks than anyone else.

Why Britain’s food ‘traffic light‘ labels were never implemented.

The link between food and addiction.

Why does fast food love Mitt Romney?

The battle for London’s markets.

Cooking along with Elizabeth Ellicott Lea’s Domestic Cookery (1845).

Food at the Olympics.

Sean Brock, the tattooed chef who’s reinventing southern cuisine.

An interview with Michael Pollan.

How to explode a watermelon with rubber bands.

The UnFancy Food Show.

All about hummus.

Why do some restaurants fear the number thirteen?

Stick twist bread.

Darina Allen on collecting sea urchins.

Marion Cunningham’s baking powder biscuits (scones to the rest of us).

Freezing herbs in olive oil preserves them.

How to make your own creme de cassis.

Looking for loganberries.

Papercraft food.

Has the mania for bacon gone too far?

Eat more beetroot.

Maslow’s hierarchy of coffee chains.

Recipes for blueberries.

A tablecloth which turns the table into a fort.

An advertisement for coffee from the 1650s.

Henna-patterned spiced cream cheese.

An interview with James Ramsden.

Food t-shirts.

Photographs of meals in literature.

How to make perfect rice.

Cupcakes vs pie.

Dead celebrities reborn in food.

Food Links, 18.07.2012

Rebuilding agriculture in Egypt.

The launch of the Global Food Security Index.

How the size of fizzy drinks has increased in the US.

The rise of ‘single estate milk‘ in Ireland.

The cost of coffee.

Why British dairy farmers are protesting at a drop in the price of milk.

How Kraft tests its products on children. (Thanks, David!)

Fake meat comes ever closer to being a reality.

No chips other than McDonald’s chips are to be allowed in the Olympic park. Madness.

The politics of free milk.

The worryingly high incidence of bisphenol A in humans.

Constructing Korean identity and food.

Marcella Hazan, Facebook enthusiast.

A riposte to ‘self-righteous vegetarianism.’

What criticism of fast food says about our relationship with food.

An interview with Jay Rayner.

Who’s caused the elderflower shortage?

Surströmming.

A lovely article about Escape Caffe in Cape Town.

On the continuing success of Coca-Cola.

Reading and eating.

A girl and her pig.

Hints and tips for dining etiquette.

Fuchsia Dunlop on the pungent cuisine of Shaoxing (and more pictures here).

A guide to Greek cooking.

The Ideal Cookery Book, by Margaret Alice Fairclough.

The Coalition against Brunch.

Five of the best trattorias in Rome.

Vegan taxidermy.

Margarine and fizzy drinks. (Thanks Dan!)

Kenyan tea.

How to get people to shop for groceries in the nude.

The world’s largest coffee mosaic.

The trend for bitters in cocktails.

Fried sage leaves.

Recipes for blueberries. (Thanks, Simon!)

Britain’s changing food scene and the London Olympics.

Supermarkets and the threat to the Amazon. (Thanks, David!)

Are all calories the same?

How to chop an onion.

Hyper-real paintings of puddings.

The history of the fork.

Ten made-up food holidays.

Can food photography make you hungry?

Japan rethinks its relationship with food. (Thanks, Mum!)

Urgh: the cheeseburger-crust pizza.

How to eat cheese and biscuits.

Breakfast-shaped earphones.

A poem about olives.

Why wasting food is bad for the environment.

The Cake Museum in Los Angeles is under threat.

How cupcakes may save NASA. (Thanks, Jane-Anne!)

Food Links, 04.07.2012

The world faces a cocoa shortage.

An infographic which explains America’s agriculture sector.

Christopher Gardner on the future of food.

How urban farming is changing in London.

A primary school pupil blogs about school dinners. And manages to resist an attempted (and daft) ban. (Thanks Grace, Lindie, and Katherine.)

Explaining the landscape approach. (Thanks, Mum!)

Nora Ephron and food.

Are redder tomatoes less tasty tomatoes? (Thanks, Dad!)

Rethinking Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

Ideas for Fourth of July meals.

The link between industrial farming and our depleted oceans. (With thanks to David Worth.)

Using eggs to understand the financial crisis and JP Morgan’s role in causing it.

China’s increasing appetite for coffee.

Ten strange ingredients in processed food. (Thanks Simon!)

On meat and men.

How to make a summer cocktail out of anything.

A new flavour wheel for honeybush tea.

The size of fast food burgers have tripled since the 1950s.

The flower-eating fad.

America’s eight worst food trends.

How the chicken conquered the world.

The bogus quest for ‘authenticity‘.

Anissa Helou’s Lebanese seven-spice mixture.

An interview with Fergus Henderson.

On food in Girls.

Zaatar from Aleppo and Lebanon.

How restaurants use Instagram.

The sourdough hotel.

Handbags at dawn: why food bloggers are terrible and why they’re brilliant.

How to tattoo a banana.

The zinger – apparently the world’s best iced coffee.

The gendering of food.

Recipes set to music.

Superstitions in the restaurant trade.

Why do we like crispy food?

Women laughing alone with salad.

The authors of Modernist Cuisine have published a new edition on home cooking.

McDonald’s introduces the McItaly burger.

Why do bubbles in Guinness sink?

Salt made from tears.

Food Links, 23.05.2012

Can slow cooking save lives?

Tasting spoons.

Can GM crops reduce food insecurity?

The FAO on the link between hunger and poverty.

Supermarkets and bananas.

Russian softdrinks explained.

Recent developments in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

How to grow and use herbs.

Why Britain needs to beat Big Food.

An analysis of the concept of food deserts.

Cooking – guacamole and spaghetti – as you’ve never seen before. (Thanks, Mum – and happy birthday!)

Why is bread Britain’s most wasted food?

A review of Alex James’s memoir All Cheeses Great and Small.

How to make fauxreos (or home-made oreos).

The invention of brunch.

A Kansas farmer argues in favour of GM crops.

How to shop for olive oil.

The politics of ice cream.

A brief history of the bagel.

Where to eat Polish food in London.

The potato revolution in Greece.

How to make your own yogurt.

Dan Lepard’s Short and Tweet.

Fake chicken worth eating?

Lucky Peach vs. Gastronomica.

A culinary tour of Rome.

How to make your own fruit leather.

Beautiful fast food restaurants.

Gorgeous gougères.

Five of the best restaurants in Warsaw.

How to improve airplane food.

On meat and class.

What is meat glue?

Food Links, 09.05.2012

Why wasting animal protein is unethical.

A pink slime timeline.

How to build your own food empire.

The flagrant LIES told by food writers about how long to cook onions.

A limerick about toast.

Food in South Korea.

Japan’s best street food.

How McDonald’s explains the world.

Technology and the transformation of the American dairy industry.

How to stop overfishing.

What is lampredotto?

The strange dietary habits of the Romantic poets. (Thanks, Sarang!)

Wallace Stevens on peaches.

Bacon-filled macaroons.

An introduction to West African cuisine.

The cupcake ATM.

The most common cooking mistakes.

Three ways with sea vegetables. (Thanks, Mum!)

An anti-baking manifesto.

How to eat a roast dinner.

The world’s ten best cities for food.

Scorpion lollies at Selfridge’s.

How to cook a giant slender-tailed cloud rat.

Betty Crockers over the course of the twentieth century.

Paleo fast food.

Ten facts about flavour. (Thanks, David!)

Pop culture cookies.

America. Made out of frying pans.

The dishes that Mark Twain missed when he was abroad.

A Georgian gentleman on dinner.

Eat more fruit.

How restaurants are named.

Is it time to stockpile maple syrup?

Six rules for dining out, by a frugal economist.

Anthony Bourdain on food-loving hipsters.

How to make custard in the microwave. (Thanks, Simon!)

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