Food Politics

by Marion Nestle
May 12 2015

Milan Food Expo: The Coldiretti Pavilion

I especially enjoyed the pavilion of Coldiretti, an association of Italian farmers.

Picture3

“No party” can—and is supposed to be—read two ways: no fun, or no political clout.

The pavilion houses a farmers’ market promoting the products of its members.

Coldiretti doesn’t have much use for GMOs, but for reasons we don’t often consider in the U.S.

2015-05-02 15.54.56In case you can’t read the photo:

What is good for the GMO multinational corporations is bad for Italy.

Because they cancel our extraordinary diversity.

Because they suffocate many to reward one.

Because the seeds of the earth belong to those who work it.

Because food certainties belong to “free research.”

Whatever you think of such views, I’m hoping the Milan Food Expo will get visitors thinking about these food issues and more.

May 11 2015

Milan Food Expo: The Trienniale Museum Art and Food Exhibition

Milan’s Trienniale Museum is offering an Arts & Foods exhibit in conjunction with the Food Expo.  Your Expo pass lets you in.

2015-05-03 14.27.42

I’ve been to many food-and-art exhibits, but this one is beyond enormous.  I seems to have everything.

Gursky:

2015-05-03 12.38.57

Warhol:

2015-05-03 12.15.47Gehry:

2015-05-03 12.36.17

American World War II posters:

ww2

Food-related items—paintings, yes, but also teaspoons, coffee pots, refrigerators, and anything else you can think of that might have something to do with food—take up almost the entire museum.

And movie clips!  Buster Keaton!

The catalog is 4-inches thick, weighs at least 5 pounds, and costs 60 Euros.

Go.

But plan on many hours.

May 8 2015

Milan Food Expo: The James Beard American Restaurant

Along with the U.S. Pavillion at the Expo, the James Beard Foundation organized a pop-up restaurant at the top of the Galleria.  It opens today.

Here’s the view:2015-05-03 18.49.39

The location is spectacular, and the restaurant carries out the themes of the US Pavilion–red, white, and blue throughout.

2015-05-03 20.05.04

Chefs appear on a rotating basis with a schedule set up in advance.

If you are in the Galleria, it’s worth a visit!

 

May 7 2015

Milan Food Expo: The Coca-Cola pavilion

Coca-Cola is not a sponsor of the US Pavilion.  PepsiCo is.

Coca-Cola has its own pavilion:
2015-05-02 13.22.18

To enter, I registered for a key chain with a personalized chip.  Holding the chip to the exhibits gives me personalized information:

 

Picture1

Much of the Coca-Cola exhibit was devoted to the company’s commitment to the environment and to physical activity.

It also sold bags and items made from flip tops, some costing as much as 190 Euros (a Euro is about $1.20).

Visitors have to look elsewhere* for information about the effects of sugary drinks on health or about Coca-Cola’s long-standing opposition to bottle recycling laws or about who made the expensive flip-top bags and how much they were paid.

* My next book, Soda Politics: Taking on Big Soda (and Winning) comes out in October from Oxford University Press.

May 6 2015

Milan Food Expo: The Slow Food pavilion

Many of the Milan Expo country pavilions featured gardens or promoted sustainable agriculture.  I liked the one run by Slow Food International.

It’s the last pavilion of all if you come via the red-line subway.  Or, it’s the first if you come by taxi to the East entrance..  2015-05-02 18.15.10

Its raised-bed gardens are lovely in early spring:

2015-05-02 12.57.06

They came with instructions:

2015-05-02 12.55.54

I particularly liked the hefty guy made out of corn.  He reminded me of Kara Walker’s Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby.

Picture2

One side of the open-air buildings is devoted to tastings of artisanal products (all pavilions are supposed to serve food).  Another houses a place for lectures.

I’m sorry not to be speaking there, but I will be speaking on the terrace of the U.S. pavilion on May 12 at 4:00: “Cooking Up Change: the American Food Movement.”

May 5 2015

Milan Food Expo: promotion of physical activity (unstated)

Getting to the Milan Food EXPO by subway is not for the out-of-shape.

From the subway stop at Rho Fiera, the walk to the security gates is short.  But then!

Up the escalator to the walkway over the railroad tracks:

2015-05-02 11.55.20

Then to the next overpass to the fairgrounds:

2015-05-02 11.57.10

Continue to the end of that overpass:

2015-05-02 11.59.10

Enter the fairgrounds:

2015-05-02 12.01.02

Walk all the way to the end of that section.

Counting the walk to the subway station, it’s been 2 miles to that point (by step-counter).

At last!  The main drag of the Expo, the mile-long Decumano with the country pavilions aligned on both sides.

2015-05-02 12.05.17

The U.S. Pavilion is almost at the end, on the left, just after Kuwait’s.2015-05-02 16.19.08

By then, it’s been nearly 3 miles.  And just getting started!

To get to the U.S. Pavilion with less effort, take a taxi to the East security entrance.

May 4 2015

The Milan Food Expo: food politics in action

The slogan of the Milan Food Expo, May 1-October 31, is “Feeding The Planet, Energy for Life.”

The U.S. has a gorgeous pavilion framed by an undulating wall of vertical vegetables.

2015-05-02 13.07.19

A video featuring President Obama greets guests.  Check out what he says:

ObamaEven more, he adds:

USAP_quotes_twitter_potus-01

Good, safe, healthy food for all!

Creating sustainable food systems!

Yes!

More to come…

May 1 2015

Weekend reading: The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

Darra Goldstein, editor.  The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets.  Oxford University Press, 2015.

Full disclosure: I have two entries in this book, one with Daniel Bowman Simon.

  • Simon DB, Nestle M.  Soda lobbies.  In: Goldstein D.  The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets.  Oxford University Press, 2015:681-682.
  • Nestle M.  Soda.  In: Goldstein D.  The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets.  Oxford University Press, 2015:623-624.

With that out of the way, I can only think that the editors of this book, Darra Goldstein and Michael Krondl, must have had the best time pulling this together.

The encyclopedia starts with an elegant introduction by Sidney Mintz, author of Sweetness and Power, the one book that tops everyone’s list of must reads in food studies.

The remaining 800 pages or so are devoted to entries by 265 authors on matters as diverse or arcane as dulce de leche, nanbangashi (“southern barbarian sweets”), syllabub, and whoopie pie (look them up).  I especially like the Appendixes: lists of films featuring sugar and chocolate, songs about sugar and candy (often as a metaphor), and museums.

The illustrations are lavish, especially the two sets of gorgeous color inserts.  Subtlety: The Marvelous Sugar Baby, alas, is gone from the Domino Sugar Factory in Brooklyn, but it lives on here.  For that alone….

Page 2 of 29612345...Last »