There is Something Fishy about this Privy

It’s official… the fish skeletal material recovered from the Saint’s Rest privy, the toilet associated with the first dormitory on campus contained walleye! Walleye. Image source. Walleye are the largest member of the perch family and can be caught in shallow bays and inland lakes. As there are plenty of inland lakes surrounding East Lansing, …

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Feast your Eyes on This: Banquets and Changing Cuisine at MSU (or: How I Wish I Could Time Travel to 1884 and Eat All the Cake)

During a recent visit to the MSU Archives, I was beginning my search through records pertaining to food and came across a rather interesting folder containing programs for various MSU and other local banquets. These programs all featured menus for the event, and demonstrate changes in taste and cuisine over time. Naturally, they piqued my …

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Getting Wasted

I have been meaning for months to raise the issue of the great waste ignored by us in this community. There are numerous reminders, but the one that sets me off the most is the ongoing construction near the MSU Federal Credit Union’s headquarters off State Road and US 127. Driving by the rising structure …

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Another Burrito

It seems that country music is a particularly rich source of food songs. The title of this week’s blog is a quote from Gary P. Nunn’s “What I Like about Texas.” I should have used this as the title two weeks ago. A fair portion of the food songs we’ve done over the years come …

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Eat ’em from the Can

What we eat reflects an ethic: a sense of what is right and proper. If beans are not for breakfast—a theme we explored last week—that’s because we (whoever “we” we happen to be at the moment) have adopted some culturally based presumptions about what to eat and when. For a lot of middle-class Americans, breakfast …

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Just Desserts

I was down in Atlanta last week and had a couple of dinners-out with some friends & fellow workers. The names of the restaurants have been expunged to protect the innocent (not that there are any innocent victims in this story). We started out a pretty good place, a bit high-toned and treadling the foodie vibe. …

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Overheard at Ellyington’s

It’s hard to avoid a little inadvertent eavesdropping when you are waiting for breakfast by yourself at a quiet restaurant. The two guys at the adjacent table are also waiting for their food, but they are engaged in an intense conversation over things like “core samples” and some sort of foibles that have occurred of …

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Pathway to Prosperity

One of my favorite thinkers/doers in the world today is British science writer and now activist, Colin Tudge. In a recent blog post on Groundhogs’ Day, Tudge comes out to show us there is a sane way out of the madness of  what he calls Neoliberal-Industrial (NI) agriculture “The Keys Ideas of Enlightened Agriculture”. In …

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Badges?

So pardon me for rambling on, but the title of last week’s blog was in fact derived from a blues song by Mississippi Joe Callicott that goes under several names including “Leaving Town Blues” and “Plow Hand Blues.” There are pretty similar lines in blues sung by Big Bill Broonzey and Leadbelly, though in those …

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Blues Ate My Bread

So picking up right where we left off last week, and switching directions 180° there are reasons why I decided to do another month of food songs this year. I often sit in front of my computer on Sunday mornings listening to songs from my music collection on i-Tunes. I’ve had to struggle with the …

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Shop Rite

Last week we memorialized the loss of a local Lansing area institution, Goodrich’s Shop-Rite. Apologies to those readers who felt that I did not take the closure of a commercial establishment seriously enough. Maybe I can work myself up to something more commensurate with the deep emotional attachment that people felt for Goodrich’s by considering …

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Goodbye Mr. Chips

My apologies to the legions of readers in my national and international audience, but the Thornapple blog is going local this week. We’re waving goodbye to a longstanding food institution in East Lansing: Goodrich’s Shop-Rite. Although Goodrich’s won’t be closing their doors until later this week, there were only three cans of chili left when …

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Soylent is for people

New Yorker: … I was relieved when factory-made Soylent arrived in the mail. It was basically Rhinehart’s formula, which I’d tasted in L.A.: a thick, tan liquid that is yeasty, grainy, and faintly sweet. Compared with the taste of my chocolate version, regular Soylent was pleasant. (Office taste-test results: “Naked protein shakes that are made …

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Ordinary Good vs. Crazy Good

I was down at the Fleetwood Diner eating their turkey dinner this week. It’s not that I’m stuck in off-season mode (like when I was writing about Halloween candy two weeks back). I eat turkey dinner at the Fleetwood every other month or so. I was really enjoying the dressing, gravy and cranberry sauce when …

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What did the Egyptians eat?

There’s something mystical and wonderful about Ancient Egypt. It is one of the first historical eras that really captured my imagination as a child. In many ways, I think this mystique surrounding the era is due more to the fact that there is so many gaps in our understanding and knowledge of this great civilization. …

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What did Genghis Khan eat?

Everyone knows something about Genghis Khan. His story and empire is part of the basic history of the world we learn growing up. He came into power by uniting disparate tribal groups of Northeastern Asia. His Mongol invasions over the early 13th century AD resulted in the massacre of thousands of people and unification of …

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A Crock

We’re sitting underneath a ton of snow and cold weather here in Michigan this February. It’s a good idea to fill up the calendar with annual events to tick off during the long wait for Spring. Punxsutawny Phil, the wonderfully-fantastic excrescent bowl, the North Michigan Small Farm Conference that we talked about last week, Valentine’s …

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Reality

I’m checking in this week from the Northern Michigan Small Farms Conference in Traverse City. The theme of this year’s conference is “Small Farms Are Real Farms.” I’m a bit put off that they didn’t ask me to speak at the conference because after all who would be better equipped to speak on the subject …

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New Publication: Defining Food Fraud Prevention to Align Food Science and Technology Resources

The EU Food Fraud resolution just passed from committee for a full European Parliament vote in early 2014.  Defining Food Fraud and a focus on preventative actions are no longer just academic exercises.  That said, our new article is perfect timing, with very important insight for implementing regulations and industry best practices. Focus Research on …

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Hungry Lansing

The Lansing State Journal has a major section devoted to hunger today. A pair of articles come from Joe Wald, executive director of the Greater Lansing Food Bank and Rev. Nicolette Siragusa, pastor at First Congregational Church in Grand Ledge. Wald is encouraging people to make a cash contribution to the food bank, while Rev. …

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Comida Auténtico

Some blogs back (actually it was 2012) I posted a particularly obscure blog about Jean-Paul Sartre’s waiter. Sooo concerned about playing the role of the waiter to a tee, he was, in Jean-Paul’s existential lingo, trying to be a thing. And in doing THAT he was denying his authentic self, which is to be in …

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New Publication: Defining the Public Health Threat of Dietary Supplement Fraud

If you thought Food Fraud prevention was challenging… take a look at Dietary Supplement Fraud (DSF)!  There are probably 100 times more products, 100 times more ingredients, and 100 times less regulation and enforcement.  As a purchaser or consumer, the same principles apply:  “know your supplier” and “trust but verify.”  Our new publication will be …

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The Impact of Prevention Defines the Value of Enforcement and Prosecution

Reflections on my week here at the Interpol 2013 International Law Enforcement Intellectual Crime Conference, Dublin, Ireland Food Fraud is a focus of Interpol, and the next big food crime Operation Opson  already has 32 countries participating.  The increasing impact on public health is being felt, which is providing a significant opportunity to further understand food crime. …

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Standards

I’m not sure who it was who said, “Standards! The young folks today just ain’t got no standards!” But the thrusts of today’s blog is to assert that in the world of food at least, people today have more standards than at any time in history. There are ‘fair trade’ standards, good agricultural practice (GAP) …

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Gras List

Now that “food songs month” is behind us it’s time to get serious again in the Thornapple blog. And so to demonstrate just how serious we can be, we turn from the hit list to the grass list. This turn of mind was brought on by John’s comment to the last entry in food songs …

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Hit List

The last two Septembers have been “food songs” month in the Thornapple blog. Truth to tell, it gives me a bit of relief from thinking up a new blog every week. Contrary to a sentiment I attributed to Doug Anderson in an entry last year, there are hundreds of food songs. I haven’t even had …

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Place Prosperity

I woke up this beautiful June morning after three days of academic conferencing that was both grueling and deeply satisfying. I would normally be traveling for the Agriculture, Food and Human Values Society, but this year the meeting was at the Kellogg Center on the Michigan State University campus in East Lansing. One of the …

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Hello Dolly

I remember the worst speech I ever gave. Or at least it was the worst received speech I ever gave. I was standing up in front of a bunch of scientists who were working on cloning adult mammalian cells in about 2001. This was the line of research that gave us Dolly, the celebrated sheep. …

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Industrial Ethics

I think most Americans think of agriculture as just another sector in the industrial economy. The economy has an energy sector, a health-care sector, a manufacturing sector, an entertainment sector and an agricultural sector. When it comes to ethics, there’s nothing special about agriculture either. Every sector in the economy gets evaluated equally when it …

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