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How to Find Reliable Sources of Information

Gold Dust or Fool's Gold? How can we find reliable sources of information when writing about food at a time of information-overload?

Join biologist Jeremy Cherfas (Eat This Podcast), chefs and food activists Elizabeth Yorke and  Anusha Murthy (Edible Issues), and historian Ken Albala (Food: A Cultural Culinary History), to dissect who and what we can trust. This month's head of the table is Trustee Director Ursula Heinzelmann.

Bear in mind that we don't record these informal gatherings (what's said at the Kitchen Table stays at the Table): so to hear, see and join the conversation, you have to be there yourself.

Jeremy Cherfas is a biologist by training and by inclination, and his main joy is applying that to food and the agriculture and industries that supply it. He also has side interests in economics and many other things. He likes sharing what he has learned, which he does through Eat This Podcast and various websites. He has written a few books, published a few research papers, lives in Rome and has enjoyed sourdough baking since 50 years before the pandemic.

Elizabeth Yorke is a chef turned food researcher and an advocate for sustainable food systems in India. Together with Anusha Murthy she runs Edible Issues, a collective that fosters thought and conversation on the Indian Food System. Elizabeth was chosen as a OFS Young Chef in 2015.

Ken Albala is Professor of History at the University of the Pacific. He has published 27 books including academic monographs, food histories, cookbooks, reference works and translations. His has done two video series Food: A Cultural Culinary History and Cooking Across the Ages. His latest book is The Great Gelatin Revival.

Zoom Event Details

25th May 2022
5:00 pm BST

Reading list

In the proceedings from the 2015 Symposium Food and Communication there are a number of papers that engage with contested facts and opinions, or with unreliability:

Ray Sokolov’s paper “Secrets of the Great Chefs: Decrypting Untrustworthy Communications from the Kitchens of Careme, Escoffier, and Guerard” is an example of reading historical sources in context, and questioning long-standing assumptions.

Richard Shepro’s “The Rhetoric of Salmon: The War of Words, Images and Metaphors in the Battle of Wild-Caught vs Farmed Salmon” demonstrates one method for sorting through rhetoric and argument: establish some the background facts: are we all talking about the same thing?

Matthew Smith’s  “‘What if I smell your peanuts and die?’ Communicating Fact and Fiction about peanut Allergies” is another example of looking at a food dispute and trying to define and clarify the elements in it.

And here is Marion Nestle on the conflicts of interest in food research

Finally, just a reminder of a non-reliable source of information: remember “I Made My Shed the Top-Rated Restaurant on TripAdvisor”?


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