Why Study Food?
This chapter considers the increase in scholarly research on food within various academic disciplines, including public health, literary studies, sociology, and anthropology. It argues that the new research and publications about food mark only the beginning, and much more lies ahead. Of particular importance are two challenges. First, while participation by scholars and writers from a wide range of disciplines has significantly broadened our comprehension of the importance of food in different aspects of life, food as a topic has yet to become a coherent field of intellectual inquiry. Second, in spite of the fruitful efforts and insights of numerous food writers and scholars in this regard, scholarship on food as a whole has not sufficiently helped society recognize the centrality of food in human experience and history. The chapter also discusses the four sources of Americans's failure to appreciate fully the importance of food.
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