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Food FightsHow History Matters to Contemporary Food Debates$
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Charles C. Ludington and Matthew Morse Booker

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469652894

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469652894.001.0001

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A Plea for Culinary Modernism

A Plea for Culinary Modernism

Why We Should Love Fast, Modern, Processed Food (With a New Postscript)

Chapter:
(p.262) 13 A Plea for Culinary Modernism
Source:
Food Fights
Author(s):

Rachel Laudan

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469652894.003.0014

Leading figures in the “Foodie” movement of the last quarter century often speak of a Golden Age of cooking and eating, when all food was local, organic, and slow. Rachel Laudan argues that this view is utterly ahistorical. There was no Golden Age of cooking and eating. As Laudan shows with many examples from around the world, the labor to produce food has been incredibly difficult and much of the food that humans ate was wretched, if not also rotten. Laudan argues instead that we should appreciate and enjoy what our current food system does well, at least for a large portion of society, while simultaneously working to improve our system’s shortcomings. In a postscript for her chapter, Laudan posits four broad philosophies that categorize people’s attitudes to food: aristocratic, republican, romantic, and socialist. In the end, however, she casts her lot with those who do not imagine a food paradise in the past or in the future. Our food system, says Laudan, is not perfect, and we should work to make it better, but imagining that it ever was, or can ever be, perfect is also a mistake.

Keywords:   Fast food, Slow food, Eating, Industrial, Traditional, Diet, Aristocratic, Republican, Romantic, Socialist

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