Tag Archives: Summer 2018

“I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat”: the complicated history of American food aid

Joy Liu Rochester, Minnesota   Harvest, Joy Liu. 2008 Private collection Every afternoon after preschool, I would crisscross the maze of stolid Beijing apartments to collect a jar of fresh suan nai. Equal parts sweet, tangy, and savory, the fermented milk drink was a favorite I usually devoured as soon as the elderly peddler handed […]

The fern that makes you fat: access to traditional foods in the Canadian oil sands

Janelle Baker Alberta, Canada   Introduction: the big flame   Figure 1. Virginia Stewart holding Dryopteris expansa at Pelican Portage Elder Virginia Stewart from Bigstone Cree Nation crouched down near her family’s derelict home to pull out a “spreading wood fern” or “broad spinulose shieldfern” (Dryopteris expansa) (see Turner et al. 1992) frond and fresh roots, […]

Drunk in love: bodies and consumption in Samson and Delilah

Lee Andrews     Samson and Delilah (1610) by Peter Paul Rubens Peter Paul Rubens’ rendition of Samson and Delilah (1610) depicts Samson sleeping on Delilah’s lap as a Philistine cuts his hair, thereby removing the secret to his herculean strength. The artist who gave us the term “Rubenesque,” in which the words “plump” and […]

Lord Byron and his strange relationship with food

Mildred Wilson   Lord Byron (1837) by Henry Pierce Bone “. . . I would rather not exist than be large.” Lord Byron – Trinity College (1805-1808) On April 15, 1805, George Gordon Byron wrote to Hargreaves Hanson, a fellow classmate at the prestigious school for boys Harrow, in conjunction with a planned visit to […]

The modern drought

Ana Paula Bottle León Queretaro, Mexico   Children playing in Azcapotzalco, one of the delegations that struggles with the shortage of water. In any adventure film or novel where the main character gets stranded on an island, a mountain, or in the middle of the woods, an unquestionable priority is to find a source of […]

Are we gorging on autonomy?

Oliver William Morriss Cambridge, England   Ulysses and the Sirens 1891, John William Waterhouse. The National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia     A potentially fatal crisis in the contemporary world threatens the very foundations of public health, in that what were formerly known as “diseases of affluence,” namely stroke, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes, have […]

Half-digested clues

Sarah Kearns Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA     Tollund Man seems to be sleeping peacefully, perfectly preserved with his sheepskin cap upon his head—and noose around his neck. On a warm spring day in Denmark in 1950 two brothers, Viggo and Emil Hojgaard, ventured out into the marshlands to gather peat to make fuel. With […]

Hospital as host: a lesson from the Renaissance

John David Ike Durham, North Carolina, United States Ruth M. Parker Atlanta, Georgia, United States   Domenico di Bartolo and others, Pellegrinaio of Santa Maria Della Scala, Siena, Italy.  Introduction Nestled in the rolling hills of Tuscany atop a jutted butte lies the historic city of Siena, Italy. Regarded as an important site in Renaissance […]

Fufu and the body

Princewill Udom Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria     Fufu. Photo by Princewill Udom Fufu, West Africa’s finest local delicacy, continues to maintain its scintillating sheen, especially in Nigeria. The congealed, doughy, smooth, white lump of processed cassava meal remains as popular as ever. Made from cassava, a root crop widely cultivated in West Africa, […]

A physician examining a patient’s urine

This painting from the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford shows a physician uroscopist examining a specimen of urine in order to determine what was ailing his patient. It is a serious painting, unlike that of Dutch artists such as Jan Steen who regarded uroscopists as quacks and made fun of their pretentious mien and attire. The […]