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Food Scholarship and Food Writing

Smith, Andrew, Pilcher, Jeffrey M., Goldstein, Darra
Food, culture, & society 2010 v.13 no.3 pp. 319-329
mass media, publications, writing skills, food research, foods
The food publishing world has been reeling from the demise of Gourmet magazine, slashed budgets for newspapers' food sections, and a pervasive fear that only cookbooks by Rachael Ray, TV personalities or celebrity chefs will ever be published. The world of academic food publishing has witnessed no such decline, and is flourishing as never before, with new series from university presses, expanding sessions in disciplinary conferences and, of course, journals like the one you are now reading. Has academic food writing filled a gap abandoned by the “dumbing down” or the popular media? Have scholars merely sold out to the popular food frenzy and thereby lost some scholarly rigor? Or has writing in a clear and accessible style been responsible for the wider appeal of recent food research? On the other hand, serious food writing also flourishes in the trade press, despite the dire predictions. Does this signal the narrowing of distinctions between academic and popular food writing? If so, is this a good thing? We posed these and related questions to three food scholars at the forefront in their respective fields. Their ruminations follow.