bloggers

Why Feminists have Demonized Michael Pollan

 

image via Sacred Cows Make the Best Hamburgers

image via Sacred Cows Make the Best Hamburgers

 

Food is, without a doubt, a feminist issue.
Of course it’s inherently a human issue, but women have uniquely complicated—too often tortured, even—relationships with food. And now the DIY ethos is adding a new wrinkle to the gendered dynamics of mealtime.

Women, especially young women in their 20’s and 30’s, are embracing a new kind of domesticity. The 21st century preoccupations of backyard chicken-keeping, artisan food businesses, and grassroots food activism are dominated by female practitioners. While men still rule in professional kitchens making up 93% of executive chefs, women spend three times as many hours in home kitchens as the men in their lives, making 93% of food purchases and cooking 78% of dinners.

Feminists versus Femivores
This new breed of crack homemakers is disparagingly labeled as femivores. They’re seen as opting out of feminist causes to focus on canning local peaches and raising gluten-free children. These are the passionate, educated, progressive-minded women who, in an earlier era, would have been marching on Washington and pushing against the glass ceiling at work. Instead, they’re organizing cookie swaps and campaigning to legalize raw milk.

Michael Pollan is the feminists’ whipping boy.
The publication of Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma is considered a turning point for feminism. A manifesto for the new age of homesteading, it’s the touchstone for new domestics, giving social legitimacy to tomato-canning, bread-baking, and stay-at-home motherhood. Since the burden of homemaking has, for time immemorial, fallen to women, feminists charge Pollan with giving rise to a new form of enforced domesticity that’s as insidious and as detrimental to the economic lives of women as the social constructs of the 1950’s.

Is Michael Pollan a Sexist Pigas a Salon headline asked, or is it the more nuanced Femivore’s Dilemma, put forth by The New York Times? The debate rages on in the femisphere. 
Here are some of the best blogs that explore food politics through a feminist lens: 
The Feminist Kitchen
The F Words (food & feminism)
Sistah Vegan
New Domesticity

 

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From Food Blogger to Cookbook Author

t-shirt available at Zazzle.com

t-shirt available at Zazzle.com

It’s the brass ring, the golden ticket, and the winning lottery numbers all rolled into one.    
Not every food blogger wants a cookbook deal, but it’s always a win when a publisher comes calling.

It’s been a long and lonely slog.
Sometimes blogging can seem so pointless. Even when readership is significant and loyal, it’s just one more blog among the thousands. At some point every blogger wonders if anyone would notice if they just packed it in. There are plenty of bloggers out there that are ready to take your place in readers’ mailboxes and news feeds. Would you even be missed?

A book deal screams, Don’t stop!    
It validates all the bathrobe-clad hours at the keyboard. Readers don’t just like you—they want more. And a cookbook deal—that means that your recipes are coming to life in readers’ kitchens. Somehow, your blog has convinced a publisher that the public is even willing to shell out good money for your culinary musings. Go ahead and pinch yourself.

Here are the latest winners of the blog-to-cookbook sweepstakes.
They all come from longtime bloggers with 2014 release dates.

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Thug Kitchen explodes the myth of the mild-mannered vegan with a kick to your narrow dietary minded ass. The cookbook irreverently blends a penchant for profanity (motto: eat like you give a f**k) with recipes like lime-cauliflower tacos and pumpkin chili. 

 

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The Kitchn began life as the food blog from Apartment Therapy, a home decorating and lifestyle blog, but has gone on to attract its own audience of 14 million visitors a month. Appropriately, The Kitchn Cookbook is equally devoted to recipes and to something the authors re calling a handbook to a happy kitchen.

 

100DaysRealFoodLogoThere’s a popular notion that you can achieve just about anything if you give it 100 days of effort. Sites like 100 Day Challenge and Give It 100 share tales of people learning a musical instrument, climbing Everest, hitting home runs, and becoming debt-free, all from three months of practice, discipline, and accountability. Now we have the 100 Days of Real Food Cookbook , which tells the story (with recipes) of one family that took a three-month pledge that transformed their relationship with food by giving up white flour, white sugar, and anything packaged and processed with more than five ingredients.

The Skinnytaste Cookbook- Light on Calories, Big on Flavor

 

When The Skinny Taste began in 2006, the blog’s creator was experimenting with dishes that would help her lose a few pre-wedding pounds. Fans of the site rave about its appealing, low-fat riffs on typically high-fat dishes like pizza and cheesy baked pastas, and rigorous recipe testing that guarantees success in home kitchens. This fall’s cookbook is mostly new recipes plus a few favorites from the blog.

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Not everyone waits for a publisher. The creator of The Yellow Table blog went the self-publishing route, funding her dinner party cookbook through an over-subscribed Kickstarter campaign—$16,000 beyond her $50,000 goal. She documented the entire process of creating the Yellow Table Cookbook through a five-month blog series called The Cookbook Diaries.

And vice versa 
Check out Delicious Days’ list of food writers and cookbook authors who followed up a publishing career by starting a food blog.

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This Man Has Eaten at 6,300 Different Chinese Restaurants Across America

image via LA Times

image via LA Times–and yes, he prefers a fork

 

Meet David Chan. 
He’s a 65-year-old lawyer and accountant, a native of Los Angeles, and a third-generation American who doesn’t speak Chinese. He’s probably eaten at more American Chinese restaurants than anyone else on the planet. 

He didn’t plan for it to happen.
Mr. Chan sees himself as more of a cultural historian than a foodie. As an undergraduate at UCLA in the 1960’s, a single class in ethnic studies inspired him to explore his heritage, and he embarked on his own gastronomic roots tour after graduation. Sometime in the 1980’s he realized he’d been to every single Chinese restaurant in Los Angeles and that achievement urged him on to further challenges. His dining became more deliberate, reaching 300 restaurant meals a year and taking him to Chinese restaurants in all 50 states.

An avid collector (before Chinese restaurants there were record albums and stamps) and, as befits a CPA, a highly organized and methodical man, Mr. Chan catalogs menus and documents each experience on detailed spreadsheets, including childhood meals that he retraced from a time when Chinese food could only be found in metropolitan Chinatowns. The subsequent spreadsheet entries track more than just a series of meals; they reveal much about the migration patterns and evolution of a half-century of Chinese-American life.

It’s a collection of memories and experiences that are unmatched anywhere.
Fortunately for us, Mr. Chan is generous in sharing his passion and insights. He blogs as Chandavkl and contributes to Menuism as the resident Chinese Restaurant Expert. His Twitter account gives a look at his prodigious dining habits and the stream is frequently trolled by restaurant critics and travel writers searching for recommendations. He also shares general guidelines for choosing excellent and authentic restaurants:

  • The best Chinese restaurants are almost always influenced by Hong Kong-style cooking.
  • You don’t need a Chinatown to find authentic cuisine—look to the suburbs.
  • Vietnamese-Chinese restaurants or Thai-Chinese restaurants are fine, but avoid Japanese-Chinese which Chan says ‘mix like oil and water.’
  • Never eat at a restaurant that’s been open for more than two decades; by then they’ve lost their edge and are lagging behind newcomers

David Chan calls Koi Palace the best Chinese restaurant in America and he’s not alone in that estimation.
True to his guidelines, Koi Palace is a Hong Kong-style restaurant and it’s located in a suburban strip mall outside of San Francisco. You won’t find sushi or other pan-Asian dishes on the menu. But what of its opening in 1996? In 2012 Chan added 5 years to what was then his 15-year rule in order to keep the 16-year old Koi Palace on top of his best restaurant listings.

The next Koi Palace could be out there waiting to be discovered by David Chan.
What happens in 2016 is anyone’s guess, but there are still another 40,000 or so Chinese restaurants across America that he has yet to visit. 

 

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Food Storytelling: The (Old) New Genre

image via ManayunkDish.com

image via ManayunkDish.com

 

Everyone has a food story in them.
I don’t mean the tiresome chatter of conspicuous consumers of consumption who collect foodie trophies to post on their Facebook walls. I’m talking about the human narrative of food. It might be the gumbo your neighbor brings to every potluck; the pineapple upside-down cake you always request on your birthday; the skinned knuckles from grating onions when you make Bubbe’s chopped liver; or the pasta you learned to roll in Nonna’s kitchen.

There are always new food stories in the making.
The artisanal food movement has expanded the narrative by adding passionate and creative producers to the tale. We still celebrate heritage and traditions, ethnic and familial bonds, but now the food itself has a backstory, and our own relationship with its creator may be central to it.

It’s an evolution of food reporting. It’s also a longing for a kinder, gentler food era when food arrived on our tables through a series of interconnected, human relationships, not as the result of industrialized production.

Here are some places where you can explore the (old) new genre of character-driven food storytelling, and even a few where you can contribute your own food story.

Life & Thyme is home to what it calls ‘culinary storytelling.’ It documents the story of food from the farm, to the kitchen, to the table, with an emphasis on the people behind each of those phases. It mixes essays, interviews, film, recipes, photography, and even some offline events. The site accepts contributions from anyone with ‘an eye for beauty, a knack for storytelling, and a passion for food.’

The Stanford Storytelling Project is an arts program at Stanford University that explores the transformative nature of storytelling with a special emphasis on stories of food and the modern food movement. Students, academics, and food professionals have all contributed to the ongoing series of podcasts, radio shows, and live events.

American Food Roots asks what we eat and why we eat it. AFR combines original reporting, archival material from immigrant communities, and recipes and stories from home cooks. The site welcomes contributions that celebrate heritage in all its variants–regional, religious, ethnic, political, and familial–’because that’s how we know who we are.’

Food Stories wants to know how you celebrate food holidays. All of them. You probably thought February has little more than Valentines Day chocolate on its food calendar. In fact it’s the month of World Nutella Day (February 5th), National Tortellini Day (the 13th), and a full seven days for Kraut and Frankfurter Week (9th-15th).

Southern food is especially evocative, particularly for a Southerner. Diverse food cultures combined to set a common table for black and white, rich and poor. The Southern Foodways Alliance, based at the University of Mississippi, is the keeper of the flame for disappearing traditions. Spend a little time with SFA’s massive collection of oral histories and you’ll gain an appreciation and understanding of the American South’s unique food culture .

The next generation of food storytellers 
I’m keeping an eye on the Fulbright Scholars. The distinguished Fulbright Program that counts 43 Nobel Prize winners, 28 MacArthur ‘geniuses,’ and 80 Pulitzer Prize winners among its alumni has created fellowships for food storytellers. The first Fulbright class of Digital Storytelling Food Fellows will be announced this spring.

 

 

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Cookbooks: Where to View the Reviews

 

Exif_JPEG_PICTUREThe print cookbook is indomitable.
The post office, the music industry, network television—all decimated by the internet. And book publishing? Forget about it. Cookbook sales are one of the few bright spots. Take the 50 Shades trilogy off the bestseller list and you’re basically left with titles from celebrity chefs, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, and the latest from Gwyneth Paltrow.

Cookbooks are evolving in ever more interesting ways.
They’ve learned to transcend their function. It’s no longer enough to be a vessel for instruction and recipes. The internet’s got a lock on that. Cookbook authors are experimenting beyond the traditional narrative structure of a recipe collection organized into categories like ‘Soups,’ ‘Main Dishes,’ and ‘Bar Cookies.’ They’re dazzling us with new visual formats and finding their literary voices.

Not that we don’t still need the internet.
By the time you finish reading this another independent bookstore will probably have bitten the dust, and national chain stores just don’t cut it when you want to do some heavy browsing. I’m talking about the old-fashioned kind of book browsing, well beyond the glossy, the popular, and the predictable titles; the kind of browsing that takes you on a journey of discovery, deep into the category where things get interesting.

There are a handful of places to go online for thoughtful, knowledgable reviews that look beyond the bestseller list. If you love cookbooks, you’ll want to bookmark some of these:

If I hadn’t found Cookbooks We Love, I would have never been introduced to Pork and Sons. Part cookbook, part travel guide, with a family scrapbook and great piggy pics thrown into the mix, Pork and Sons’ author comes from a long line of French pig farmers and butchers, and recipes are scattered throughout a very personal tale of small town life in his family’s home village. It’s the kind of obscure gem of a cookbook that we never know to look for but are thrilled to stumble across.

Food porn meets book reviews at CookBookKarma. It starts with extensive, professional reviewing, and I do mean extensive–the 100+ reviews from this past month included an all-gummi candy cookbook and recipes for midwives. Readers then try out recipes from reviewed titles and submit photos of the results along with their own reviews and other commentary.

The cook behind Cook that Book is not a professional chef. She is a home cook preparing family meals in a home kitchen. She tries recipes from old and new cookbooks and writes her reviews based on the nuts and bolts of index navigability, clarity and detail of instructions, and ultimately the overall appeal and success of the dish. Judging a cookbook on the cooking—how novel is that?!

Sadly we bid farewell this week to The Gastronomer’s Bookshelf. The review site, a collaboration between a small, international team of contributors, had a commendable five year run covering a wide range of global titles on food, wine, and gastronomy. The editors were knowledgable, their taste was quirky and eclectic, and there’s nothing else quite like it out there. Check out their parting lineup of reviews and you’ll see what I mean.

 

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Mobee Turns Smartphone Users Into Mystery Diners

image via OC Review

image via OC Review

 

If there’s one thing that unites us all as a people it’s a collective love of free food.
And of course everybody’s a critic. That’s why the life of an undercover mystery diner sounds so appealing. Mobee is offering it to all of us with a new app that rewards users who will visit retailers and restaurants incognito and provide feedback.

Mobee is looking to turn the secret shopper industry on its head with a social media twist.
Traditionally, secret shoppers are used by companies to keep tabs on the customer experience. Usually an outside consultant maintains a small army of shoppers and diners, some trained critics, some ordinary members of the public, and regularly dispatches them to client locations where they pose as customers. When it’s a restaurant, they’re there to report on everything from hostess greetings to over-salted soup to bathroom cleanliness. The visit may be tightly scripted, and there is usually a long and detailed questionnaire that the shopper completes after the experience. Discreet note-taking may be allowed, but the diner can’t bring the script or other paperwork to the table, and the turn-around time for the post-dining debriefing can be hours or days.

Mobee’s founder Prahar Shah looked at a multi-billion dollar industry that still runs on paper and pencil, and he saw an opportunity.
Research showed that each outlet of a dining chain like Panera or Starbucks can spend $200 a month for surveys from four or five mystery diner visits. Factor in the  millions of customers who are already offering free feedback through recommendation sites like Yelp and Urban Spoon. Shah founded Mobee on the idea that a phone-based model enlisting an army of unpaid critics can gather more data for less money, and do so with greater accuracy and faster delivery than the standard industry practice.

Mobee slices up a full-length secret shopper assignment into bite-sized visits it calls missions. Each consists of 5 to 10 questions focusing on a specific aspect of the customer experience, and might request a photo. Since ordinary customers incessantly tap and snap with their phones, it can all performed in the open and transmitted in real time (the target restaurant market is casual and quick-serve— the behavior is basically standard rudeness). Users aren’t reimbursed for purchases but are paid in digital credits of generally $5 or $10 that can go into Amazon, iTunes, or PayPal accounts.

Mobee is live in Boston, where more than 30,000 missions have already been performed, and a national (and later international) roll-out is in the works.

The Mobee app is available for the iPhone, with an Android version coming soon.

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The Best Twitter Feeds for Food Lovers

[image courtesy of City Food Magazine]

[image courtesy of City Food Magazine]

 

The name Twitter was chosen by its founders because the dictionary defines it as “a short burst of inconsequential information.”
With a seven year history and a half a billion users no one’s calling Twitter inconsequential, but its tweets remain as relentlessly random and trivial as ever.
But Twitter opens a portal to the inner life of the food industry—the chefs, kitchens, patrons, and dishes—better than any other form of social media.

Twitter blurs the line between amateurs and professionals.
It gives a six-degrees-of-separation kind of connection to friends, strangers, and celebrities. It provides access, takes you behind the scenes, and invites you to join conversations that would be otherwise unavailable to you. The talk can be inane, aggravating, and inappropriate. It’s uncensored and often filled with more typos and grammatical incorrectness than you would think is possible in 140 characters. But there are also plenty of twitter feeds in the food world that are filled with focused, cogent, impassioned talk. 

Time Magazine just released its annual roundup of the best Twitter feeds. 10 food feeds made this year’s list.

  • Time calls the cookbook author and New York Times food writer Mark Bittman Twitter’s most-followable food wonk (@markbittman)
  • We can always use a little more snark from the author and TV personality Anthony Bourdain (@Bourdain)
  • The former food critic for the New York Times, former Editor in Chief of the late, great Gourmet Magazine, Ruth Reichl has a way with words and food (@ruthreichl)
  • Combine Ruth Reichl’s stylings with Anthony Bourdain’s profanity and you get the parody mash-up Ruth Bourdain (@RuthBourdain)
  • Sure, he tweets about food, but celebrity chef and Top Chef  judge Tom Colicchio is also passionate about ending hunger in America (@tomcolicchio)
  • Foodimentary’s fun facts and food trivia provide a daily dose of esoteric web weirdness (@Foodimentary)
  • Pioneering food critic Gael Greene keeps the legend alive (@GaelGreene)
  • Jordana Rothman is irreverent, irrepressible, and knows everything there is to know about eating and drinking in New York (@jordanarothman)
  • She’s Alice Waters. That’s reason enough, but now you can also follow the effort to rebuild Chez Panisse after its devastating fire (@AliceWaters)
  • Pete Wells brings imagination and quotability to his role as Dining Editor at the New York Times while regularly unleashing the critical hounds of hell on New York restaurants. He shares even more in short form on Twitter (@pete_wells)

Oops, they missed a few.
There’s plenty of expertise out there; a good Twitter feed informs and entertains. The author that can cloak knowledge in humor and personality is the one I want to read. And if they can regularly accomplish all of that in under 140 characters, that’s a Twitter feed I want to follow. Here’s a few feeds that were overlooked by Time but made the cut for Gigabiting:

  • You can’t talk west coast food without including the San Francisco Chronicle’s Michael Bauer. He’s in his third decade at the Chronicle where he heads the nation’s largest newspaper food and wine program, and he tweets great pics (@michaelbauer1)
  • Jonathan Gold is another essential part of that west coast conversation. He’s quick and quippy and relishes his role as the self-named ‘belly of Los Angeles’ (@thejgold)
  • Follow Food Curated’s Liza de Guia’s tweets like a trail of breadcrumbs through what’s new and happening in the Brooklyn artisan food scene (@SkeeterNYC)
  • I love you Amanda Hesser, and I feel like you love me too. That’s because the Food52 founder gets personal, accessible, and interactive with her feed (@amandahesser)
  • You’re on Twitter because you want to be connected. Nobody understands that better than Danielle Gould, the force behind Food+Tech Connect (@dhgisme)

You’ll find dozens more food-related feeds worth following among the Shorty Awards nominees. This is the fifth season for the awards recognizing the best in social media, and the food category leaders are jostling for the top prize. Winners will be announced in April, so there’s still time to nominate your personal favorite, cast a vote, or just look for some new folks to follow.

 

 

 

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They Call Themselves ‘The Opposite of Yelp’

 

image via F*ck You Yelper.tumblr.com

 

It seems like everyone is on Yelp.
And by everyone we mean the uninformed, the unqualified, and the perpetrators of unchecked spelling and grammar.

Yelp struck a blow for democracy.
The user-submitted reviews—60 million and counting—turned us all into food critics. In the aggregate it’s the collective wisdom of the mob. But you don’t really want to look too closely at that crowd. There are fresh voices and knowledgeable citizen journalists, but you also get plenty of Yelpers bringing quirks, biases, grudges, and ignorance. This is hardly a crowd that’s always going to get it right.

Taste Savant is a new restaurant discovery and recommendation site that aims to get it right.
The basic model resembles Yelp with its sortable, searchable database of restaurants, but where Yelp is an inclusive, digital free-for-all with a cacophony of voices sounding off on every corner deli, diner, and taco stand, Taste Savant touts its exclusivity:
“We give you reviews from people who matter for restaurants that are worth your while.”

People who matter; restaurants that are worth your while
There is nothing democratic going on here. Taste Savant is unabashedly elitist. It presents a range of dining experiences from Michelin-starred palaces to Chinatown noodle houses, but there’s a selective, curated approach to content, so unlike Yelp there’s no slogging through the mediocre and mundane.

The reviews are curated and tightly edited as well, sorted by source: Critics, Users, and Friends. Critics are food industry insiders like professional restaurant reviewers, food bloggers, and chefs (Taste Savant calls them “people who really know what they’re talking about when it comes to food“). Users are anyone who submits (approved) content to the site, and Friends are discerning Users that you let in to your inner circle. There’s also a live Concierge service that you can tweet for personal recommendations.

Savvy or snobby?
Yes and yes.
If this sounds like so much foodie pretension taking potshots at populist dining, then Taste Savant is not for you. But that’s the point. Until the rise of social media, restaurant reviewing, like all forms of cultural criticism, was an elite enterprise. It was undertaken by individuals who brought disciplined tastes and cultural and contextual perspective to the table, and it was precisely because they were not one of us that we valued their opinions.

Taste Savant has launched its public beta site and blog covering New York City with additional cities on the way.

 

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You Too Can Be A Food Blogger

image via If Only She Applied Herself

 

The instructional book publisher For Dummies has announced its newest title: Food Blogging for Dummies.

Come on in, the water’s fine.
It’s been estimated that a new blog is born every half second, and an awful lot of them are food blogs. Blogging continues to redefine the way information is exchanged, and its influence is irrefutable. Political blogs have the power to oust political leaders, video blogs create instant celebrities, and food bloggers moved no less a mountain than McDonald’s when they got the fast food giant to shrink the french fries and add apples to its Happy Meals.

Food blogs have grown up.
Food bloggers took their knocks in the early days when the category was overrun with the tedium of the hyper-personal ‘Today I had a cheese sandwich‘ genre (bear in mind that the whole of the blogosphere seemed to then be powered by cute kittens and homemade porn). While tedious, navel-gazing scribblings can still be found, many more food blogs are serious endeavors that inform, entertain, and edify. They’re increasingly authored by chefs, cookbook authors, and other food industry professionals, and are essential reading for every restaurateur, purveyor, grower, and policy-maker. Food bloggers are followed assiduously by editors, publishers, and journalists of all stripes (who often envy their readership) and are courted by publicists and marketers, agents and manufacturers.

Food Blogging for Dummies is the latest title to join a literary lineup that includes primers on ferret-keeping, programming your TIVO, buying property in Spain, and how to feng shui your garden (or home or office). While it’s authored by a totally legitimate and talented food journalist, early word (the book’s release date is still a month away) has it that chapter titles include How to Write a Top Ten List and Using Words Like Toque, Delish, and Drool-Worthy For Fun and Profit. Really.

Here are some other resources to visit for a look at the world of food blogging:

Yes, we have them. It’s the Food Blog Code of Ethics.

Saveur publishes one of the internet’s more definitive lists of top food blogs.
The magazine has also created A Brief History of Food Blogs.

It all started here in 1997.

 

 

 

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This Blog Has Been [Redacted]

Internet Piracy Proposals in Congress
It’s a cause that got those bitter rivals, Google and Facebook, to put aside their differences and join forces.
It inspired a coalition of internet giants that includes Facebook, Google, Twitter, eBay, LinkedIn, Mozilla, Yahoo, AOL and Zynga, to jointly draft an open letter to members of Congress. The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times have both officially come out against it, and even the Wall Street Journal ran an anti-legislation opinion piece this week.
Obviously, it’s a big deal.

Congress introduced the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) on October 26th. It sounded like a good idea; who wouldn’t want to stop piracy? Let’s do something about all those rogue websites operating outside the U.S. that traffic in scams and counterfeit goods. Let’s fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property so that the creators get their due. But if you dig a little deeper, you’ll find that it’s not such a good idea. In fact the introduction of SOPA sent a chill down the spine of all of us who pay attention to these things.

Some call SOPA the end of the internet as you know it.
Perhaps that’s a tad dramatic. But just a tad.

SOPA creates insanely over-reaching new standards of liability for copyright violations. The upshot is that any website could be sued or shut down for any copyright infringement found in any of its content coming from any of its users. Facebook would be responsible for every entry posted by every random user. User review sites like Yelp and Rotten Tomatoes would be held to the same standard for each comment and review posted to them. Sites like Vimeo and YouTube would find that their liability extends to even copyrighted music playing in the background of home-made videos.

SOPA backs up the new standards with a deeply flawed system of enforcement. When a copyright is thought to be violated, the rights holder can sue the website for infringement. Internet service providers would be compelled to shut down servers, and search engines would have to block addresses. Advertising networks and credit card processors would have to disengage. An entire website could be shut down for  a single bit of material unknowingly uploaded to the site, and all of this could take place in advance of a court hearing or trial.

The bill moved through the House Judiciary Committee in mid-November, and will be introduced to the floor for a vote before the end of the year. Both sides have strong bipartisan support, so the outcome is anybody’s guess.

If you’re just waking up to this issue now and want a complete analysis, a good place to start is The Center for Democracy and Technology which has published The Stop Online Piracy Act: Summary, Problems and Implications, or go see the key points boiled down in the summary infographic produced by AmericanCensorship.org.

You can read the full text of H.R.3261 Stop Online Piracy Act at the Library of Congress website.

If it comes to this:
Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a staunch opponent of the bill, will add the reading of your name to a filibuster to stall the vote.

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The Edible Stay-cation

You haven’t booked your Michelin tour yet?

That’s right, Michelin, publisher of the eponymous hotel and restaurant guides, bestower of stars to the crème de la crème of restaurants worldwide, has created a set of world-wide culinary vacations. The drool-worthy itineraries include cooking classes with renowned chefs, wine tastings in celebrated cellars, and of course plenty of Michelin-starred dining.

Are we forgetting something?

Oh yeah; time and money. But don’t despair. With a little online browsing, you can find recipes and ingredients for any and all of the world’s culinary traditions.

International Recipes.net is a recipe exchange with more than 34,000 members in 90 countries. I’m not sure what this means, but it’s a little disconcerting to see that the most requested recipe from the U.S. is Olive Garden’s tiramisu.

Food in Every Country covers culinary history, traditional holiday dishes, mealtime customs, and the political, environmental, religious, and economic factors that define each cuisine. The database is broad, although every country is a bit of an overstatement.

In Mama’s Kitchen focuses on authentic, home cooking from around the world.

Soup Song and Rice Gourmet focus narrowly on these two, universal foods.

Say it like a local– Forvo is a pronunciation guide for 258 of the world’s languages.

Sometimes they do things a little differently. Worldwide Recipes has conversion tools that adapts weights, measures, and temperatures for the American kitchen.

Ethnic Foods Co. sells a global selection of spices, pantry goods, prepared foods, cookware, and even some fresh herbs and produce.

Massachusetts blogger Sarah Scoble Commerford began her world tour in April, 2010. She is cooking her way through each of the world’s 193 countries (give or take, depending on the dynamism of national political agendas). Working alphabetically, beginning with Afghanistan, she is preparing a representative meal from each country’s traditions and ingredients. She just started cooking her way through the T’s (goodbye St. Kitts; hello Thailand). She documents one or two meals each week in her blog,  What’s Cooking in Your World? At the current pace, the ETA for Zimbabwe is spring of 2013.

Why not put away your passport, save on airfare, and indulge in some kitchen table travel?

 

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Fish Out of Water: Expat Food Bloggers

image via Listicles
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Don’t hate me because I live in Paris (or Istanbul, or Athens, or Shanghai, or Lucca….)

You’re an American living abroad.
As a food lover, your senses are attuned to the gastronomic potential. The new, the exotic, the unfamiliar; you’re like a kid in a candy shop. There are markets to explore, street foods to brave, unknown traditions to embrace, and cooking techniques to learn. […]

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