by Marion Nestle

Currently browsing posts about: International

Jun 24 2016

Israel food: more random observations

Lunch in the old Yemenite section of Tel Aviv, now the up-and-trendy Kerem Ha Teymanim.

The restaurant is Shlomo Doron’s The Joy of the Wipe.  This doesn’t quite get at the meaning, which is what you do to eat hummus with pita bread.

The restaurant is near the Carmel Market.  These are great bowls of dates, dried fruits, and nuts.

Entire stalls are devoted to halvah, the candy made with sesame seed paste.

IMG_20160621_1233211

I did a day trip to the completely improbable Rutenberg restaurant: unexpectedly lovely food in a place remote from major cities, next to ruins of an electric plant and a bridge that used to cross the Jordan “river” (now a brackish small stream).  The restaurant is smack on the border with Jordan, 200 feet below sea level, and 45 degrees centigrade (112 degrees Fahrenheit—I’m not kidding) on the afternoon I visited.  The far end of the nearby stone bridge is in Jordan, and so is the watchtower on the hill in the back.

 

Beautiful food.

The chefs with a portrait of the eponymous Rutenberg, who had something to do with the nearby electric plant, now in ruins.

If ever there were a destination restaurant, this is it. Camels, maybe, but foot traffic?  Hence: improbable.

Jun 22 2016

The food scene in Israel—some early observations

Wandering around in the Rehavia neighborhood in Jerusalem, I saw a local park with a just-starting composting program.

Down the street from the official residence of the Prime Minister (that would be Benjamin Netanyahu), is the headquarters of the International Jewish Vegetarian Society.

I’m surprised at how little food advertising I’m seeing.  This restaurant overlooking the crater at Mitzpe Ramon is an example that seems typical.  Nestlé (no relation) ice cream bars are everywhere.

Coca-Cola is everywhere too, but this venerable truck is the only one I’ve seen.  This one was in Tel Aviv.

é

 

 

Jun 20 2016

The food scene: Tel Aviv

I’m in Israel this week at a meeting on Sustainable Food Systems* along with some basic food tourism.

The trip started with a visit to the small-but-impressive farmers’ market at the Port of Tel Aviv.

The market is under umbrellas to protect people, sprouts, and other vegetables from the intense Mediterranean sun (it’s hot here).  

The market is in two sections, separated by an indoor section with stalls for an amazing array of (mostly) locally produced artisanal food products.

And here’s Shir Halpern who developed this market, runs others, and is doing everything possible to encourage young farmers.

This is a great way to start any visit to a new country.

*Just for fun, here’s my interview in today’s Haaretz—-in Hebrew.   And here’s an English translation (thanks to Hemi Weingarten of Fooducate)

Oct 2 2015

Weekend Reading: Emily Yates-Doerr’s “The Weight of Obesity”

Emily Yates-Doerr.  The Weight of Obesity: Hunger and Global Health in Postwar Guatemala. University of California Press, 2015.

Emily was a student in NYU’s anthropology department and I’ve admired her work for a long time.  Her book is based on her remarkable dissertation work, and I was happy to be asked to blurb it:

Emily Yates-Doerr gives us an anthropologist’s tough analysis of how one resource-poor Guatemalan population responds to an increasingly globalized food supply as it transitions rapidly from widespread hunger and malnutrition to the increasing prevalence of obesity and its health consequences.  The Weight of Obesity views this “nutrition transition” from the unusually revealing perspective of an insider who experienced it personally with eyes wide open.

For me, the most riveting parts of her book are the transcribed conversations between clinic nutritionists and patients newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes—a case study in the cultural gap between nutrient-based advice (“nutritionism”) and the way people actually eat.  The effects of the rapid influx of “ultra-processed” products on the health of the populations studied here are also painfully clear.  This is an ethnography of the nutrition transition caught just as these cultural and dietary shifts were occurring.

Jul 13 2015

Nuclear negotiations with Iran: the food politics

My dear friend, the food writer, cookbook author, and restaurant consultant Joyce Goldstein, is also a careful analyst of today’s global political scene.

She points out that the New York Times account (exceptionally clear, by the way) of the ongoing nuclear talks with Iran suggests one reason why they are going on endlessly:

To sustain itself during its marathon meetings, the United States negotiating team has since the beginning of June consumed at least 10 pounds of Twizzlers, 30 pounds of mixed nuts and dried fruit, 20 pounds of string cheese and more than 200 Rice Krispie Treats, according to its informal count.

Fruits and vegetables anyone?

Let’s join in a chorus of “Give Peas a Chance.”

Mar 30 2015

Another picture worth many words: Coca-Cola in Myanmar

Except for Cuba, Myanmar used to be the only country in the world where Coca-Cola could not be sold.  The Burmese (now Myanmar) military junta kept Coke out for more than 60 years.

No more.  In 2013, Coca-Cola opened its first bottling plant in Myanmar as part of a $200 million investment in that country.

To do that, the company had to face many challenges: unfamiliarity with cold drinks, lack of refrigeration, and substantial labor and human rights issues.

But, as Coca-Cola explains:

For the people of Myanmar, this was more than the return of a delicious, refreshing beverage. To them, Coca‑Cola embodies the bright promise of better days and better lives ahead. And we look forward to being part of their journey.

When an NYU nutrition graduate, Catherine Normile, MS, RD, told me she was working on development projects in Myanmar, I asked her to take a look and see if she could send me photos of how Coca-Cola’s incursion into that country was proceeding.

Here’s one:

IMG_4572

And here’s another:

IMG_4475

She sent many more, but these will give you the idea.

Coca-Cola seems well established in Myanmar after just under two years.

I wonder how the country’s health statistics are coming along?

Jan 8 2015

Food politics, Indonesian style

Food Politics is back from vacation in Indonesia where its president, Joko Widodo (“Jokowi”) made this announcement:

Picture1

His program particularly aims to support rice production, but also corn, soybeans, and sugar, all of which are currently imported.

Much Indonesian rice is still produced on small terraced farms, like this one on Bali.

IMG-20141231-00251

The government plans to distribute hand tractors and seeds to thousands of farmers across the various islands.

The Jakarta Post also ran a long story about a program promoting organic farming and seed-saving methods, particularly for rice.  Rice productivity has been falling as a result of over-fertilization and exhausted soils.

The food movement seems alive and well in Indonesia.  It has Slow Food chapters and Bali Buda restaurants (“real food by real people”) are multiplying.  Interest is starting early.

Picture1

This will  be fun to watch.

Dec 8 2014

Sugary drink advocacy, Mexican style

The creatively active Mexican advocacy group, El Poder del Consumidor, launched a new video take-off on Coca-Cola ads—“Haz feliz a alguien” (“Make someone happy”)—with a demonstration on Mexico City’s Zocalo in front of the National Cathedral.

 

_R7Q6277

They sent along a translation of the video:

What would make you happy this Christmas?

That my dad were here with us.

PLAY SPORTS/EXERCISE (posted at the bottom of the screen to mimic Coke ads here)

That my mom could see her grandson.

PLAY SPORTS/EXERCISE

That my dad could play soccer with me.

PLAY SPORTS/EXERCISE

Make someone happy this Christmas.

50,000 people in Mexico are blind because of diabetes.

Someone’s limb is amputated every 7 minutes because of diabetes.

In Mexico, 66 people die each day from drinking sugary drinks.

Make someone happy.

Share this video and remove soda from your table.

Page 1 of 3123