Why Americans are Fascinated by Food

by Dwight Furrow For much of the 20th Century, the U.S. was a culinary backwater. Outside some immigrant enclaves where old world traditions were preserved, Americans thought of food as nutrition and fuel. Food was to be cheap, nutritious (according to the standards of the day) and above all convenient; the pleasures of food if…

Mutant Nature

by Dwight Furrow Nature is not disappearing; it's just hiding in your salad bowl. Throughout most of human history human beings were utterly dependent on nature and everything about human life was determined by it. Adapt or die was the imperative that governed all life and so nature seemed infinite and without measure, a fact…

Wine Tasting and Objectivity

by Dwight Furrow The vexed question of wine tasting and objectivity popped up last week on the Internet when wine writer Jamie Goode interviewed philosopher Barry Smith on the topic. Smith, co-director of CenSes – Center for the Study of the Senses at University of London's Institute of Philosophy, works on flavor and taste perception…

In Defense of Eating Meat

by Dwight Furrow There are many sound arguments for drastically cutting back on our consumption of meat—excessive meat consumption wastes resources, contributes to climate change, and has negative consequences for health. But there is no sound argument based on the rights of animals for avoiding meat entirely. Last month, Grist's food writer Nathanael Johnson published…

The Flavors of Home: The Art of Comfort Food

by Dwight Furrow When we eat, if we pay attention at all, we focus on the pleasures of flavor and texture. But some meals have a larger significance that provokes memory and imagination. So it is with comfort food–the filling, uncomplicated, soft, and digestible comestibles that haunt our consciousness with thoughts of security, calm, nourishment,…

Palettes, Palates, and Authenticity: The Winemaker’s Art

by Dwight Furrow In many traditional wine regions of the world wine, like food, has been a marker of identity. Wine, when properly made, expresses the character of the soil and climate in which grapes are grown, and the sensibilities of the people who make and consume it. Thus, it is a form of cultural…

Food and Romance: The Tissue of Little Things

by Dwight Furrow Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass 1965 My first intimation that food and romance were related The connection between food and romance has become a cliché, especially around Valentine's Day when even the most desultory couple manages to build a castle with a box of chocolate. But the connection is in fact…

When Is a Meal Like a Van Gogh? When the Chef is Telling Secrets

by Dwight Furrow Atelier Crenn A Creation of Chef Dominique Crenn In the humdrum course of daily life, we tend to ignore most of the objects we encounter. We focus only on what will break down or threaten us if we aren’t paying attention and neglect anything that is in its proper place benignly performing…

Why Kant Was Wrong about Food

by Dwight Furrow from the San Francisco restaurant Atelier Crenn Among philosophers who think about art and aesthetics, the position of food and wine is tenuous at best. Food and wine receive little discussion compared to painting or music, and when they are discussed, most philosophers are skeptical that food and wine belong in the…