Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Guest editorial From: Nutrition & Food Science, Volume 44, Issue 4
It is perhaps timely that this special edition of Gastronomy appears now. In recent years, many issues have come further to public conscience in relation to our consumption of food and drink across the world. Our use and abuse of our resources have hit headlines around the world, and at last, there is perhaps the stirrings of unitary effort to try and feed not only ourselves but concerted effort to feed our neighbours in a sustainable manner. Consider though, food injustices for they are many.
We have witnessed nations that are unable to feed themselves, and have heard statistics compare previously unheard of levels of obesity with similar numbers who starve or do not have enough food. We live in a time of plenty for some who, through bureaucratic legislation, are forced to discard perfectly good fresh food – the North Sea Common Policies of “throwing back” fish because, for various reasons, it should not have been caught is one example of madness that surely our descendants will look back upon with incredulity. Our supermarkets stock out-of-season foodstuffs on a daily basis that costs countless thousands of food miles annually; yet, the paradox is that we have now engineered societies in developing nations who are dependant upon that business and income. Vast food-producing companies have developed such complex food supply chain systems that it is sometimes difficult to know the true origin of what we put into our stomachs. There are many others that could be listed, but this journal intends to inspire and highlight hope and positive endeavours.
Therefore socio-cultural, environmental, economic and scientific advances have contributed to further dialogue on the sustainability of food. Governments have responded; at times, belatedly to activist voices. But our food activists today are no longer a small easily ignored minority. Food movements and those who coordinate them do so in the knowledge that our legislators now have to listen, and even if we wish for a more rapid response at times, we do now know that food injustices and maladroit methods for dealing with our citizens concerns will not be tolerated.
However, there is still much to do, and education clearly has a pivotal role to play in helping us to help others to feed themselves and in a healthy manner. Education should not be the privilege of those who have the means to attend structured programmes that confer awards of attainment but needs to happen outwith those parameters. Those of us who are involved in teaching must recognize not only the additional implicit manner in which we can inform others but also the abilities we have to influence industrial practices and government networks. Those who have attained great knowledge and expertise of food and drink outwith formal educational walls must be encouraged to share their wisdom in any and all pertinent arenas.
So we come to this journal, and while reviewing the contributors and their subject matter, it is heartening to see such a diverse range of submissions not only by their content but also by their origins. For example, offerings from Indonesia on the sharing of tacit knowledge while preparing a local dish from Ignatius Jati to the consumerism habits on herbs and spices by Wang-Wei and Worlsey. Then, to Stefani et al.’s Italian consumers’ perspective on evaluating typical salami who consider local influences in relation to the consumer as the end user. Dobrenova et al. take a scientific approach to the stimulus inferences on the consumer in relation to “healthy” claims about food items. Joshua Amo-Adjei considers nutritional values and consumption of fruit and vegetables in Ghana, while Boonme et al. assess what may influence the customer in making fast food choices. Gastro-Tourism in relation to Scandinavian perspectives and the search for authentic local food experiences is provided by Kauppinnen and Bjork and is followed by Ana Tominc’s discussion of globalization and cookbook discourse and postmodernity. An educational view and the value of food education are provided by Maberley and Reid who discuss the approach to Gastronomy as a study programme.
In conclusion, we are fortunate to see an emergence of a global family with great interests in food and drink and its sustainable supply and delivery. We also see a cognisance of social injustices but also recognition that we still have much to do across all nations. It is claimed that the late, great Brillat-Savarin once claimed “tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are” – it is perhaps timely to review this claim and ask nations to consider what they are eating and what they have become.
I sincerely hope that you enjoy this special Journal edition and perhaps are able to contribute in future to food dialogue, education or can raise awareness of the plethora of challenges that still face us as global familial citizens.
Bernie Quinn and Claire Seaman