What’s Your Local Food Culture?

Simon Preston noticed that most areas of Britain don’t have a vibrant food culture. Besides obvious place-tied dishes—things like Cornish pasties—few other dishes had a distinctive regional trademark. In an article at the Guardian, Preston writes that many Brits have developed a rather globally encompassing attitude toward food:

We’re a population that grazes dishes from across the world and, for the most part, we feel no more connected to a local dish than we do to a curry. When travelling abroad, we’re quite taken with the regional dishes that appear again and again, but closer to home, local food culture is still a fairly new idea, mostly driven by the trend-led efforts of creative chefs and encouraged by food hobbyists.

Eating international cuisine isn’t a problem—but, as Preston points out, there are benefits to having a local food culture, as well. So he asks this interesting question: is it possible to invent a food culture in the 21st century? He decided to try and create one in the rural Aberdeenshire town of Huntly:

I set up a dining table and chairs in the supermarket and used tea and cake to entice shoppers to join me. Chattering families, reminiscing pensioners and bemused workers who had raced in for a ready meal shared their stories: how they came to Huntly, why they stayed, places they had loved and lost, ghost stories and tall tales.
… A huddle of local chefs gathered and soon, my dossier of local anecdotes became dishes. The ancient standing stones in the town square were represented in the positioning of prize-winning local haggis bonbons on a plate. Barley appeared in a risotto, which in turn referenced the Italian connection found in so many Scottish towns. A schoolgirl’s tale of a JK Rowling manuscript locked in the local police station safe inspired a Huntly Mess, made with local raspberries and whisky, and the Deveron river – a place where the town goes to play, to think, to celebrate and to court – brought local trout to one dish and a river bend slick of sauce to another.

The dishes began to catch on as local restaurants and pubs served them. Customers were delighted to see their stories and memories take gastronomic form. The food culture can, it seems, be invented from scratch.

It’s an interesting idea, especially for many American who have lost the culinary cultures of their past, due to the burgeoning influences of other cultures and food chains in their homelands. Excepting certain cities with distinctive gastronomic traditions, like New York City or Philadelphia, many American towns don’t have dishes to call their own. But as Preston points out, it’s never too late to begin examining local ingredients again: our states, counties, and cities offer us a wealth of history, terrain, crops, and animals with which to build a local food culture.

In the Idaho town where I grew up, corn and onion fields had a distinctive presence. Farmers grew a lot of alfalfa and mint, and there were orchards …read more

Via: American Conservative

    

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World War I anniversary: The Great War and it’s great and terrible consequences

On June 28, 1914, a Bosnian-Serb student named Gavrilo Princip killed Austrian archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, the duchess. It was the shot-heard-round-the-world, unleashing a series of events that by August 1914 embroiled Europe in war. That deadly summer unfolded 100 years ago, and the world truly was never the same.

…read more

Via: Fox Opines

    

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What Americans should know about Ramadan

This year, Ramadan starts on June 29. Over 1.5 billion Muslims, despite their sectarian differences, will be united to reinvigorate their faith. I urge you, during this Ramadan, to get to know real Muslims.

…read more

Via: Fox Opines

    

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When a reporter’s story hits the White House wall

Lara Logan. Sharyl Attkisson. Judith Miller: all esteemed investigative reporters. They are all women who are under attack. Their crime? They dared to follow stories to their natural conclusions, instead of to a preferred liberal end.

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Via: Fox Opines

    

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Hillary Clinton and the wealth factor: Is she 2016’s Mitt Romney?

Hillary Clinton’s “Hard Choices” book tour was supposed to lay the foundation for her 2016 presidential run. Instead, it has exposed a fatal flaw in Clinton’s presumed path to the Democrat nomination: She has a Mitt Romney problem.

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Via: Fox Opines

    

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Childless Elite, Spouseless Poor

Traditional marriage has experienced a shift in popular culture from “cornerstone” to “capstone” of adult achievement. As a result, many young men and women are delaying marriage; indeed, today’s generation is marrying later than ever before.

For poor women, or those with low levels of education, late marriage has resulted in demographically unprecedented nonmarital birthrates. But for young female professionals, children during early life are often out of the question. And, unlike their counterparts of lower socioeconomic status, they have the means to both willfully prevent conception and push back the hands of the proverbial biological clock.

The odd thing is that early childbearing outside of marriage is culturally and economically incentivized for those of the lower class, whereas the same mechanisms operate to discourage childbearing at all for women of wealth and high social standing.

Among the poor, childbearing is still seen as a rite of adulthood, a chance to achieve some form of success and personal fulfillment. Olga Khazan quotes a Johns Hopkins sociologist, Andrew Cherlin, in an Atlantic article:

‘Many young women think they will be able to care for the kid—they have a mother who can help, a sister they can rely on,’ Cherlin said. Particularly among the very poorest Americans, ‘this is a way a woman or man can be a successful adult when all other paths are blocked.’

For the wealthy, however, children born outside of wedlock present a significant social and financial burden. Educational and career successes are the milestones used to judge success as an adult—meaning that young female professionals often choose to delay marriage and children.

Because marriage is no longer a moral prerequisite for reproduction, economics and personal preference are left to determine whether or not marriage occurs. As a result, those stricken by financial hardship have all but abandoned marriage. It demands resources they simply do not have: money, time, and long-term commitment.

Affluent women, however, have been proven to reap disproportionate financial benefits from delaying marriage and child rearing. Eleanor Barkhorn, in an article for the Atlantic, says that women “who marry later make more money per year than women who marry young.” There is a 56 percent increase in income for college-educated women who marry after 30, relative to the same group who married before age 20.

Thus, we have a boom of single mothers among the lower classes and a scarcity of mothers altogether among our professional and upper classes. The poor are unable to manipulate biology as effectively and end up having children at roughly the same point in their life as they always have, albeit outside the stability of a marriage. But the affluent can afford to cling to the normative marriage-then-children pattern, using money and technology to delay childbearing until they have found a suitable spouse.

The pattern is cruelly self-reinforcing. Young women raised in the broken homes so common among low-income social circles often grow up to perpetuate the same destructive cycle. Young women raised among the elite, on the other hand, …read more

Via: American Conservative

    

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Why I can’t be both an economist and a liberal

In today’s America, I can’t be both an economist and a liberal. Economists should be bound ​by ​facts and reason. And I can’t do that and embrace liberal positions on the minimum wage, climate change and gender discrimination.

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Via: Fox Opines

    

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New Internationalism: Reax

Catherine Addington

Last week we convened some of the most significant thinkers in the country from across the political spectrum at George Washington University to address a way forward for American foreign policy, and to build on the emerging mainstream consensus that favors prudence, diplomacy, and the rule of law. If you attended or viewed the conference, we’d love your feedback.

Robert Golan-Vilella was there:

If there was an overriding theme to Tuesday’s event, it was about exploring the costs of the existing consensus strategy. Barry Posen, speaking about his new book Restraint, highlighted the problems posed by the incentives that this strategy gives to U.S. allies, who both free-ride on America’s defense spending and act more provocatively than they might otherwise, thinking that Washington will always have their back. A panel consisting of Adam Serwer, Marcy Wheeler and Conor Friedersdorf made the case that America’s pursuit of absolute safety from foreign threats had resulted in a security state that unacceptably impinged on its citizens’ civil liberties at home. And, of course, running throughout the conference was a recognition of the enormous costs in both blood and treasure of the past dozen years of war in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

What is needed instead, said Daniel McCarthy, editor of the American Conservative, is a “kind of counter-consensus.” It would be made up of a loose alliance of antiwar liberals and conservatives, realists and civil libertarians. It would seek to roll back many of the policies mentioned above, and replace them with an alternative model in which America spends less on its armed forces and uses military force only when its vital national interests—narrowly defined—are truly at stake.

Golan-Vilella wonders if even a foreign policy counter-consensus is desirable in the first place. Michael Dougherty, who participated in the conference, highlights the politics of Iraq, noting that Republicans simply need to admit they were wrong:

As panelists pointed out at the recent “New Internationalism” conference held by The American Conservative and (liberal-leaning) The American Prospect, popular opinion in England and the United States held Congress and the president from committing military resources to another regime change in Syria last year. The American people want a foreign policy that protects jobs, that promotes peace and prosperity. Four out of five Americans who Pew polled say that America should spend more resources concentrating on problems at home rather than abroad.

So let’s practice a little democracy at home and give the people what they want: a Republican Party that is chastened by Iraq.

If you missed the livestream last week, we’ve posted the entire conference to YouTube here, and by panel below. See C-SPAN’s coverage here.

Threats and Responses: How the U.S. can maintain stability in the long term without war, with William S. Lind, Daniel Drezner, Matthew Duss, and Daniel Larison.

The Case for Restraint: Barry Posen, author of Restraint: A New Foundation for U.S. Grand Strategy.

National Security State Overreach and Reform: Reclaiming civil liberties in the aftermath of the War on Terror, with Conor …read more

Via: American Conservative

    

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Is a Hillary Clinton Presidency Inevitable?

Looking back over the last century there were two great coalition builders in presidential politics: FDR and Richard Nixon. Franklin Roosevelt broke the Lincoln lock on the presidency that had given Republicans the White House in 56 of the previous 72 years. From 1932 to 1964, FDR’s party would win seven of nine elections. Nixon broke through in ’68 and built the New Majority that gave the GOP the White House for 20 of the next 24 years.

The Nixon-Reagan coalition, however, has aged and atrophied. In five of the last six presidential elections, the Democratic nominee won the popular vote. And no fewer than 18 states, including four of the most populous — California, Illinois, Pennsylvania and New York — have gone Democratic in all six of those elections. Also, four states crucial to victory and once regarded as reliably Republican — Florida, Ohio, Virginia and Colorado — have turned purple. The GOP is also facing a demographic crisis. White folks, who provide almost 90 percent of Republican votes in presidential years, are steadily shrinking as a share of the electorate.

Is Hillary thus inevitable?

With the cash she can raise and the support of the sisterhood, she may be able to clear the field in the run for the nomination. And in a general election it is hard to see which Republican today could take 270 electoral votes from her.

Yet the lady has vulnerabilities. If elected, Hillary would be, at 69, the oldest Democratic president ever. Husband Bill was nearly a quarter of a century younger when inaugurated, as was Barack Obama.

Her book tour for Hard Choices, with her tale of woe about having been “flat broke” in 2001, revealed a queen of privilege wildly out of touch with the hard realities of life in Middle America in 2014. Moreover, there is Clinton fatigue in the country and this capital. Americans under 30 never knew a time when she was not around. Her memoir looks likely to be remaindered long before it earns her publisher anything near the $14 million advance she is rumored to have received. Somebody at Simon & Schuster is going to the wall. And the Democratic left is pawing the turf.

Is her record in office impressive? The most critical vote she cast in eight years in the Senate—to take America into war with Iraq—she now admits was a mistake. And it’s not an insignificant one, considering the disaster that is Iraq today. Her record as secretary of state?

The most memorable moment was announcing the “reset” with Russia. How’s that working out?

Not only must Hillary answer for the failures that brought about the Benghazi massacre, and her absenteeism in its aftermath, but she must also defend a foreign policy that has left her country less respected on every continent. While most Americans support President Obama’s decisions to end the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, there is something about his leadership on the world stage that calls to mind the Carter era.

And while there is no end to …read more

Via: American Conservative

    

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