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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Paris in Translation: Eugène Briffault’s Paris à Table [excerpt]

“When Paris sits down at the table, the entire world stirs….” Eugène Briffault’s Paris à Table captures the manners and customs of Parisian dining in 1845. He gives a panoramic view of the conception of a dish (as detailed as the amount of coal used in stoves) to gastronomy throughout the city—leaving no bread roll unturned as he investigates how Paris eats. The below excerpt from Paris à Table (translated into English by J. Weintraub) provides statistics to capture the magnitude of the Parisian way of life.

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What’s the deal with genetically modified (GM) foods?

It’s complicated; but here is a quick summary of what the controversy over genetically modified foods is all about. GM engineering involves reconfiguring the genes in crop plants or adding new genes that have been created in the laboratory. Scientific modification of plants is not something new. Since time began, nature has been modifying plants and animals through natural evolution, meaning that the plants and ani­mals that adapt best to the changing environment survive and pass their genes on to their offspring. Those that are least fit do not survive.

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Is “food waste” really wasted food?

Food waste has become a major cause for concern in the United States. Or at least, that’s what some prominent organizations suggest. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations estimates that the United States wastes 103 million tons of food. The statistics suggest that food waste is a problem, but how do these organizations calculate them? And what, exactly, is food waste?

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Beer and brewing by numbers [infographic]

Beer has been a vitally important drink through much of human history, be it just as a drink that was safe to consume when water might not have been, through to having significant economic and even political significance. The earliest written laws included regulations on beer, tax income from beer funded centuries of British imperialist conquests, and beer is the subject of the oldest international trademark dispute.

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Cheese and wine pairings for the holiday season [infographic]

Cheese continues to be a staple of dining and entertainment. In 2012, cheese consumption in the U.S. was 33.5 lbs per capita— a number that is set to increase to 36.5 lbs by 2024. Referencing The Oxford Companion to Cheese and The Oxford Companion to Wine, we’ve put together a selection of cheese and wine pairings for the holiday season.

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What is Thanksgiving? A Brit’s guide to the holiday

Thanksgiving is one of the most important holidays in the US calendar. However for those who have never lived in America, the celebration can seem perplexing and often down-right bewildering. Here in the Oxford offices at Oxford University Press, we thought we may have understood the basics, but on researching more into the holiday, we have been left with many more questions than answers. For instance, what is a “Turkey Trot” or sweet potato pie, and if television is to be believed – do people actually go around the table saying what they’re thankful for?

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Four NYC-inspired sundaes for National Sundae Day

November 11 is National Sundae Day. To celebrate, we’ve created four New York City–themed sundae recipes, inspired by Greater Gotham: A History of New York City from 1898 to 1919. Take a look at the recipes below and get a taste of NYC—no matter where you are in the world.

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Hop heads and locaholics: excerpt from Beeronomics

Beer drinkers across the United States observe the National American Beer Day annually on 27 October. Over the last decade two IPAs, craft beer and microbreweries have taken over the American beer market and continue their steady growth. This extract from Johan Swinnen and Devin Briski’s Beeronomics discusses some of the strategies of the American craft beer movement.

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National Beer Lover’s Day playlist

7 September is National Beer Lover’s Day, a day to celebrate a shared passion for a drink that has been brewed for over 5000 years. Why not enjoy your favourite lager or ale with some beer-related music to get you into the spirit of things. Our beer-infused song selection takes you from the cheery delights of The Housemartins’ to Julian Cope’s “As the Beer Flows Over Me”. We have plenty of anthems, and plain old drinking songs to provide the soundtrack to your Beer Lover’s Day celebrations.

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Does “buying local” help communities or conflict with basic economics?

As summer approaches, picturesque roadside stands, farmer’s markets, and fields growing Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) dot the horizon from the Golden Gate to the Garden State. Consumers go to their local Farmer’s Market to keep spending local and to hopefully create jobs in the community. They “buy local” to reduce environmental impacts. Some believe interacting with neighbors builds trust within the community.

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How well do you know the foods of Ramadan? [quiz]

Ramadan is the ninth month of the lunar Muslim calendar and a period of 29 or 30 days each year in which practicing Muslims fast during daylight hours. The morning meal, suhur, must be finished before dawn, and iftar, the evening meal that breaks the fast (sawm), cannot occur until after dusk. While the commitment to prayer and hours of fasting build community, so do the extensive preparations for the breaking of the fast with friends and family at iftar each night.

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Why are world food problems so hard to solve?

More than 20 million people in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia, and northeast Nigeria are now facing extreme hunger, with the potential for not just widespread death, but also the deepening of long-term political and military crises in East Africa. United Nations humanitarian coordinator Stephen O’Brien has called this food crisis the world’s greatest humanitarian crisis since 1945.

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What to do in New Orleans during the 2017 OAH annual meeting

The Organization of American Historians is just around the corner, and we know you’re excited to attend your panels, debate American history with your fellow historians, and dive into some amazing new books. We also know you’d love to explore the beautiful city of New Orleans when the conference is done for the day. We’re here with a few suggestions on how to spend your leisure time!

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Concepts of Epidemiology

Why many wrongs make a right in the health sciences

Stories that link diseases to their possible causes are popular, and often generate humour, bemusement, and skepticism. Readers assume that today’s health hazards will be tomorrow’s health saviours. Rod Liddle’s headline in the Sunday Times is an example: “Toasties get you laid, fat prevents dementia and I’m a sex god.” Liddle starts with some fun statistics showing that those who ate cheese toasties had more enjoyable sex than those who did not.

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Do school food programs improve child dietary quality?

Over the past 70 years, school meal standards have become increasingly focused on raising the quality of school food rather than simply supplying food. But exactly how does the quality of a school meal compare to a brown-bag meal from home? Turns out, the answer isn’t as simple as comparing the average school lunch to the average sack lunch; we must dig deeper, far below and above the average child.

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