Food Cults: How Fads, Dogma, and Doctrine Influence Diet

Rowman & Littlefield
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What do we mean when we call any group a cult? Defining that term is a slippery proposition – the word cult is provocative and arguably pejorative. Does it necessarily refer to a religious group? A group with a charismatic leader? Or something darker and more sinister?

Because beliefs and practices surrounding food often inspire religious and political fervor, as well as function to unite people into insular groups, it is inevitable that "food cults" would emerge. Studying the extreme beliefs and practices of such food cults allows us to see the ways in which food serves as a nexus for religious beliefs, sexuality, death anxiety, preoccupation with the body, asceticism, and hedonism, to name a few. In contrast to religious and political cults, food cults have the added dimension of mediating cultural trends in nutrition and diet through their membership.

Should we then consider raw foodists, many of whom believe that cooked food is poison, a type of food cult? What about paleo diet adherents or those who follow a restricted calorie diet for longevity? Food Cults explores these questions by looking at domestic and international, contemporary and historic food communities characterized by extreme nutritional beliefs or viewed as "fringe" movements by mainstream culture. While there are a variety of accounts of such food communities across disciplines, this collection pulls together these works and explains why we gravitate toward such groups and the social and psychological functions they serve. This volume describes how contemporary and historic food communities come together and foment fanaticism, judgment, charisma, dogma, passion, longevity, condemnation and exaltation.
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About the author

Kima Cargill, PhD, is Associate Professor of Psychology at University of Washington, Tacoma. She is the author of The Psychology of Overeating: Food and the Culture of Consumerism, and has published numerous journal articles and book chapters.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Rowman & Littlefield
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Published on
Dec 1, 2016
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Pages
278
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ISBN
9781442251328
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Language
English
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Genres
Cooking / History
Social Science / Anthropology / Cultural & Social
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Ever wonder what it’s like to attend a feast at Winterfell? Wish you could split a lemon cake with Sansa Stark, scarf down a pork pie with the Night’s Watch, or indulge in honeyfingers with Daenerys Targaryen? George R. R. Martin’s bestselling saga A Song of Ice and Fire and the runaway hit HBO series Game of Thrones are renowned for bringing Westeros’s sights and sounds to vivid life. But one important ingredient has always been missing: the mouthwatering dishes that form the backdrop of this extraordinary world. Now, fresh out of the series that redefined fantasy, comes the cookbook that may just redefine dinner . . . and lunch, and breakfast.

A passion project from superfans and amateur chefs Chelsea Monroe-Cassel and Sariann Lehrer—and endorsed by George R. R. Martin himself—A Feast of Ice and Fire lovingly replicates a stunning range of cuisines from across the Seven Kingdoms and beyond. From the sumptuous delicacies enjoyed in the halls of power at King’s Landing, to the warm and smoky comfort foods of the frozen North, to the rich, exotic fare of the mysterious lands east of Westeros, there’s a flavor for every palate, and a treat for every chef.

These easy-to-follow recipes have been refined for modern cooking techniques, but adventurous eaters can also attempt the authentic medieval meals that inspired them. The authors have also suggested substitutions for some of the more fantastical ingredients, so you won’t have to stock your kitchen with camel, live doves, or dragon eggs to create meals fit for a king (or a khaleesi). In all, A Feast of Ice and Fire contains more than 100 recipes, divided by region:

• The Wall: Rack of Lamb and Herbs; Pork Pie; Mutton in Onion-Ale Broth; Mulled Wine; Pease Porridge
• The North: Beef and Bacon Pie; Honeyed Chicken; Aurochs with Roasted Leeks; Baked Apples
• The South: Cream Swans; Trout Wrapped in Bacon; Stewed Rabbit; Sister’s Stew; Blueberry Tarts
• King’s Landing: Lemon Cakes; Quails Drowned in Butter; Almond Crusted Trout; Bowls of Brown; Iced Milk with Honey
• Dorne: Stuffed Grape Leaves; Duck with Lemons; Chickpea Paste
• Across the Narrow Sea: Biscuits and Bacon; Tyroshi Honeyfingers; Wintercakes; Honey-Spiced Locusts

There’s even a guide to dining and entertaining in the style of the Seven Kingdoms. Exhaustively researched and reverently detailed, accompanied by passages from all five books in the series and photographs guaranteed to whet your appetite, this is the companion to the blockbuster phenomenon that millions of stomachs have been growling for. And remember, winter is coming—so don’t be afraid to put on a few pounds.

Includes a Foreword by George R. R. Martin
Michael Pollan, the bestselling author of The Omnivore's Dilemma, Food Rules, and How to Change Your Mind, explores the previously uncharted territory of his own kitchen in Cooked. 

Cooked is now a Netflix docuseries based on the book that focuses on the four kinds of "transformations" that occur in cooking. Directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney and starring Michael Pollan, Cooked teases out the links between science, culture and the flavors we love.

In Cooked, Pollan discovers the enduring power of the four classical elements—fire, water, air, and earth—to transform the stuff of nature into delicious things to eat and drink. Apprenticing himself to a succession of culinary masters, Pollan learns how to grill with fire, cook with liquid, bake bread, and ferment everything from cheese to beer.

Each section of Cooked tracks Pollan’s effort to master a single classic recipe using one of the four elements. A North Carolina barbecue pit master tutors him in the primal magic of fire; a Chez Panisse–trained cook schools him in the art of braising; a celebrated baker teaches him how air transforms grain and water into a fragrant loaf of bread; and finally, several mad-genius “fermentos” (a tribe that includes brewers, cheese makers, and all kinds of picklers) reveal how fungi and bacteria can perform the most amazing alchemies of all. The reader learns alongside Pollan, but the lessons move beyond the practical to become an investigation of how cooking involves us in a web of social and ecological relationships. Cooking, above all, connects us.

The effects of not cooking are similarly far reaching. Relying upon corporations to process our food means we consume large quantities of fat, sugar, and salt; disrupt an essential link to the natural world; and weaken our relationships with family and friends. In fact, Cooked argues, taking back control of cooking may be the single most important step anyone can take to help make the American food system healthier and more sustainable. Reclaiming cooking as an act of enjoyment and self-reliance, learning to perform the magic of these everyday transformations, opens the door to a more nourishing life.
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