Today in our Ideas Matter segment, we are talking with filmmaker Ian Cheney and Pleun Bouricius, Director of Grants and Programs for Mass Humanities, about this year's Massachusetts History Conference, which is called, “Chew on This: Presenting Food in Massachusetts Public History” and will take place on June 1 in Worcester, where Cheney s giving the keynote address.

With them, we will discuss Cheney's new documentary, The Search for General Tso, which was funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The film is about the importance and excitement of learning to understand where our food comes from and how it got to the shelf.

  Simon Majumdar is a food writer, broadcaster, and author of Eat My Globe and Eating for Britain. He is a recurring judge on Iron Chef, The Next Iron Chef, and Cutthroat Kitchen. He is the fine living correspondent for and he writes regular features for the Food Network website.

He joins us to talk about about his new book, Fed, White, and Blue: Finding America with My Fork, an exploration into the food cultures that make up America—brewing beer, picking vegetables, working at a food bank, and even finding himself, very reluctantly, at a tailgate.


Milk prices paid to Vermont's dairy farmers have plummeted this winter from a record high last year as farmers head into the spring planting season.


In Sanjay Rawal’s documentary film, Food Chains, a group of Florida farmworkers battle to defeat the global supermarket industry through their Fair Food program, which partners growers and retailers to improve conditions for farm laborers in the U.S.

The Woodstock Film Festival will present a screening of Food Chains this coming Saturday, March 21 at 1:30pm at Upstate Films in Woodstock, NY.

There will be a panel discussion following the screening with Director Sanjay Rawal, Bob Dandrew from the Local Economies Project, Ric Orlando of New Home World Cooking, and Heriberto Gonzalez from the Rural & Migrant Ministry.

We are joined by filmmaker Sanjay Rawal and Cultural Arts activist and promoter, Laurie Ylvisaker.

Soul Food Love

Mar 13, 2015

  In May 2012, bestselling author Alice Randall penned an op-ed in the New York Times titled “Black Women and Fat,” chronicling her quest to be “the last fat black woman” in her family. She turned to her daughter, Caroline Randall Williams, for help.

Together they overhauled the way they cook and eat, translating recipes and traditions handed down by generations of black women into easy, affordable, and healthful—yet still indulgent—dishes, such as Peanut Chicken Stew, Red Bean and Brown Rice Creole Salad, Fiery Green Beans, and Sinless Sweet Potato Pie.

Their new book: Soul Food Love relates the authors’ fascinating family history, explores the often fraught relationship African-American women have had with food, and looks to reinvent the idea of Soul Food.

  All her life, Andie Mitchell had eaten lustily and mindlessly. Food was her babysitter, her best friend, her confidant, and it provided a refuge from her fractured family. But when she stepped on the scale on her twentieth birthday and it registered a shocking 268 pounds, she knew she had to change the way she thought about food and herself; that her life was at stake.

In her new book: It Was Me All Along, Andie tells a story about much more than a woman who loves food and abhors her body. It is about someone who made changes when her situation seemed too far-gone and how she discovered balance in an off-kilter world.

  On the production line in American packinghouses, there is one cardinal rule: the chain never slows. Every year, the chain conveyors that set the pace of slaughter have continually accelerated to keep up with America’s growing appetite for processed meat. Journalist Ted Genoways uses the story of Hormel Foods and soaring recession-era demand for its most famous product, Spam, to probe the state of the meatpacking industry, including the expansion of agribusiness and the effects of immigrant labor on Middle America.

For The Chain: Farm, Factory, and the Fate of Our Food, Genoways interviewed scores of industry line workers, union leaders, hog farmers, and local politicians and activists. He reveals an industry pushed to its breaking point and exposes alarming new trends: sick or permanently disabled workers, abused animals, water and soil pollution, and mounting conflict between small towns and immigrant workers.

    Hudson Valley Restaurant Week, presented by The Valley Table magazine, celebrates the region’s cuisine and diverse dining scene, which continues to have a strong focus on sourcing local, sustainable, seasonal products during Hudson Valley’s fall harvest season.

HVRW returns for its 11th bi-annual event from November 3 (that’s today!) to the 16 with two-hundred restaurants from the region’s seven counties expected to participate in the two-week dining experience.


  In The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet, investigative journalist Nina Teicholz reveals the unthinkable: that everything we thought we knew about dietary fat is wrong. She documents how the low-fat nutrition advice of the past sixty years has amounted to a vast uncontrolled experiment on the entire population, with disastrous consequences for our health.

For decades, we have been told that the best possible diet involves cutting back on fat, especially saturated fat, and that if we are not getting healthier or thinner it must be because we are not trying hard enough. But what if the low-fat diet is itself the problem? What if the very foods we’ve been denying ourselves—the creamy cheeses, the sizzling steaks—are themselves the key to reversing the epidemics of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease?

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

A new report from Feeding America shows 50 million Americans rely on food banks and 1 in 7 Americans face food insecurity. It also links substandard nutrition to health problems.

The report entitled "Hunger in America 2014" has revealed some startling statistics: One in seven Americans turns to a food bank for help, about 40 percent of whom have education beyond high school.