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GEO 509 Lecture Notes - Eric Schlosser, Adam Gopnik, Habitual Aspect

Course Code
GEO 509
Hersch Jacobs

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GEO509: Food, Place and Identity Fall 2011
Professor: Hersh Jacobs
Lecture 1
Hunting, fishing were the most extensive human activity
Agriculture has impact on well-being, made civilization possible
o Released obligation from individuals of producing food
Rice, wheat, corn every civilization is based on one of these or other staples
Semiotic: symbolic meaning of food
How can you tell if eggs are fresh or not?
o Sinks = fresh
o Floats = should be discarded
Emperor Livia was very fond of eggs
o Nestled an egg between her breasts to keep it warm and hatched!
Chicago cookbook in 1930s healthy meals for urban families “How to Gain Weight”
o 6 rules to gain weight:
1) Slow down, exercise less, relax!
2) Sleep more at night, nap during the day
3) Ride more, walk less
4) Sit more, stand less
5) Light movement, don‟t over exert self
6) Rest in bed 1-2 weeks
Each person in lifetime east 50 tonnes of food and 55 000 litres of fluid
o Male 2000 2500 calories
o Female <2000 calories
Average person kills 21000 animals by eat meat
Average 82 grams of sugar is consumed daily
American Statistic 1 in 5 (20%) live on a diet of 10 foods or less; top three are:
o 1) fries
2) burgers
3) hot dogs

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GEO509: Food, Place and Identity Fall 2011
Professor: Hersh Jacobs
Lecture 2: Geographical Perspective on Food I
Humans seem to retain smells and tastes associated with particular foods
o Memory more capable of these kinds of recollections
Geography of food is 5 W‟s
o Understanding flavours as associated with texture; appreciating different colours
of food, ritual of food, acceptable norms of food
Primary production: food industry mainly agriculture (fishing, hunting)
o Food production through agriculture
Most extensive form of human activity large landscape due to trying to
feed ourselves
1000 different species of crops that are imported (only involved in commercial)
On average:
o 1/3 dry land is devoted to agriculture
o 45% of global population is engaged in agriculture
o 1 farmer feeds 50 people
In developing countries, more than 50% are farmers
Agriculture is 10,000 years old, 8000 B.C.
Way of producing food in more efficient manner
o Releases population of having to serve own needs
Agriculture changed relationships laws and property
Agriculture not good for animals
o Kind of sexist for males
Since only females can give birth, agriculture allows less males to be
needed due to technology (insemination)
Agriculture related to diets that involve/reflect geographical circumstances of a region
Agriculture progressed well until dark ages 750 B.C.
o Much knowledge lost, but much retained
Salubrious: healthy giving; wealthy
Brillat-Savarin “Philosophy of Taste”
Margaret Visser “Rituals of Dinner” – meals are an artiste construct
Type of fat one eats speaks volume about individual
Eric Schlosser “Fast Food Nation”
Michael Pollen “Omnivores Dilemma” “we are what eats us”
Levi Strauss “Transformation of Raw and Cooked”
o Semiotic: the way humans use and interpret symbols
Adam Gopnik “Paris to the Moon”
o The sublime moment of cooking is when nature becomes culture
Humans cooking is human nature/activity
Cooking began no earlier than 15,000 years ago (no evidence suggesting earlier)
Fernandez Armesto cooking deserves its place as one of the most revolutionary things
in history
Cooking represents first scientific act (scientific revolution) transforming nature
o Makes food easier to eat, digestible, enjoyable, derives nutrients, safer to eat

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GEO509: Food, Place and Identity Fall 2011
Professor: Hersh Jacobs
o Cooking transforms the way people relate to one another
The organizing of food, making decisions, preparation, brings people
together, mealtime
efficient if people can agree to eat at the same time
cooking represents a way to help regulate timing and schedules
microwave is the new revolution
o don‟t have to depend on anyone, time saver
food is more than nourishment, it provides satisfaction and feelings of well being
Vanity Fair life more than staying alive
S-Methyl Thiopropionate the smell is „les pieds de Dieu‟ = „feet of God‟
Foodxenaphobia: fear of food
Grimod de la Reyniere everyone should be aware of those that don‟t eat, they‟re
foolish, envious, nasty
o First restaurant critic
Snail oldest herded animal
Romans did not eat Caesar salad, it was invented by the Cardini brothers in 1920
Oldest existing cookbook “Han-zo” produced in Egypt 3000 B.C.
Apicius oldest surviving cookbook
o Word derived from Auspicious
o Author spent 1/10 of fortune on food; committed suicide because he could not
maintain the lifestyle he was accustomed to and felt that there was nothing better
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