FERN’s Friday Feed: The alt-meat gold rush

Welcome to FERN’s Friday Feed (#FFF), where we share the stories from this week that made us stop and think.

Alt-meat speculators want to save the world—or get rich trying

The Baffler

“Alt-meat optimists who are excited by the science but remain ambivalent about who controls such technology misunderstand the nature of exploitation and the reasons so many animals are killed, forests cut down, and workers abused,” writes Charlie Mitchell. “The voracious insatiability of global capital created the industrial slaughterhouse, the confinement animal system, and the chicken breeding technology that puts farmed animals in terrible pain their entire lives. When the chips are down, fiduciary obligations will always privilege profit over the moral aspirations of these patent-clutching geniuses.”

The Super Bowl diet: Brady vs. Mahomes

The Washington Post

“Your Super Bowl party may feature hot dogs and chili, but you can bet that’s not what quarterbacks Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes and their teammates are eating on game day,” writes Cara Rosenbloom. “Longtime great Brady, 43, now playing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, has promoted his Mediterranean-style TB12 diet. Less is known about the dining habits of relative newcomer Mahomes, 25, who leads the Kansas City Chiefs, though he has made his fondness for a certain condiment clear.”

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Why Vilsack is the wrong person to fix our broken agricultural system

The New Republic

“Somewhere on Earth 2, President Boe Jiden, after committing to a thorough review of the groaning, creaking, top-heavy agriculture industry, has decided that the time has come to start fresh,” writes Nick Martin. “There, the Jiden administration is setting its sights on breaking up the corporations that, during a global pandemic, forced workers back into the aptly named slaughterhouses and demanded their farm laborers work the fields while smoke from the largest wildfire in American history filled their lungs, and that, for decades, have crafted policies that incentivize the consolidation and corporatization that long ago buried the family farm … Meanwhile, here on Earth, we start our week with the Senate confirmation of Tom Vilsack.”

The misguided obsession with ‘authentic’ Mexican food


“Americans especially pine for ‘authentic’ Mexican food – something [author Gustavo] Arellano contends does not exist, ‘except as a money-maker for anyone who uses it.’ Restaurants have been touting authenticity since the 1940s, but it became a foodie obsession in 1972 when British ethno-gastronomer Diana Kennedy published The Cuisines of Mexico,” writes Stephanie Elizondo Griest. “But while Arellano credits Kennedy with convincing Mexico’s elite to finally take pride in their regional cuisine, she was ruthless in her pronouncements, particularly concerning the Tex-Mex dishes of my childhood. (It plays ‘havoc with your stomach, with your breath, everything,’ she once told Texas Monthly.)”

It isn’t just what and how we eat, but also when

Knowable Magazine

“[A]n increasing number of researchers think there is more to the rising rates of obesity than endless grazing. What also matters is timing: We eat when we shouldn’t, and don’t give our bodies a long enough break in between,” writes Andreas von Bubnoff. “We didn’t evolve to eat many small meals day and night, says Dominic D’Agostino, a neuroscientist at the University of South Florida who studies the effects of nutrition on the brain. Instead, people evolved to deal with regular fasts: Until the dawn of agriculture around 12,000 years ago, we subsisted on hunting and gathering and often had to perform those activities with empty bellies.”