Link Buffet: Thanksgiving Links

Artist Hannah Rothstein plates traditional Thanksgiving dinners in the style of modern artists such as Mondrian:
by Hannah Rothstein

At NPR, the ever-sharp Linda Holmes has a delightful takedown of NYT’s list of Thanksgiving dishes meant to evoke each of fifty states:

The New York Times has examined the entire state of Minnesota and said, “You know what evokes your state? A bowl of grapes mixed with sour cream, covered with sugar, and heated up. That’s you. That’s how you are.” After this, I imagine them laughing, high-fiving, and a refilling a glass of chardonnay. We all have our preconceptions, after all.

Last year’s Thanksgiving links for more traditional holiday goodness.

At the newly launched The Butter, vertical of my beloved The Toast, Syed Ali Haider writes about family, religion, and pork. His poignant vignettes show that food practices can both create and disrupt a sense of belonging: first, his family’s religious refusal to eat pig products binds them together but creates tension in public and social spaces; then, Haider’s desire for the seductive intoxicant bacon shakes up his faith and family relationships.

On the subject of food, family, and tradition: I’ve seen this odd tool floating around Pinterest:


The quasi-Freudian Motherspoon by Yanko Design is not a purchasable or operable tool, just a concept design, but the concept taps into some broad cultural anxieties about cooking and care. The idea is like Shazam for recipes: when one user dips her spoon into a cooking pot to taste it, the spoon “decodes” the recipe and transmits it to the user of the other spoon. The design site frames this imagined tool as a means for families who live far apart to share knowledge and nurture through technology. (More specifically: mothers and children.)

More tech prototype shenanigans: MIT creates sensory fiction. The sense is primarily touch–the reader is strapped into a harness that is programmed to squeeze, heat, or vibrate as the story progresses. (FYI, the programmed story was sci-fi, not erotica.) This interests me as a food scholar because I’ve been reading up on ekphrasis, a form of graphic description that tries to simulate sense through text. Classically, the term refers to texts that describe works of visual art, but I’m just as interested in texts that simulate the sense of taste–take “The Word Plum,” which (if read aloud) mimicks the act of eating and enjoying succulent fruit. Words are powerful tools of sensory immersion: reading about fear or horror or beauty or pleasure is not exactly the same as feeling those emotions firsthand, but it can come damn close. Perhaps at times, imagined sensations are the more powerful for being constructed by the mind. A machine that creates physical sensations to accompany the imagined ones seems a bit redundant, but as with Motherspoon or any of the other concept designs I’ve covered on this site, I appreciate the questions it raises.

At National Geographic: peas, science, and ancient history.

Red wine is the drink of choice for television’s most powerful leading ladies, according to NYT.

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