Marion Nestle describes her new book as “a small, quick and dirty reader for the general audience” summarizing some of her biggest and most influential works. Let’s Ask Marion: What You Need to Know About the Politics of Food, Nutrition, and Health published September 2020 by University of California Press, was written in conversation with Kerry Trueman, a blogger and friend. Trueman’s questions served as prompts to organize Nestle’s 800-1000 word summaries in approachable and engaging prose. Readers familiar with Nestle’s groundbreaking Food Politics will recognize many of the ideas and information, but this new pocket-sized and affordable volume serves as an introduction for undergraduate students or readers new to Food Studies. However, Nestle does cover some new material in her explanation of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, especially the campaign for Zero Hunger. Nestle also summarizes how nutrition advice has changed in the last few years by thinking about food in categories ranging from unprocessed (corn on the cob) to ultraprocessed (Nacho Cheese tortilla chips). This reevaluation makes it easier to identify foods that are acceptable to eat without excessive focus on micronutrients. In the conversation, Nestle addresses the ethics of marketing food to children, food as a human right and access in the Covid era, the possibility of a National Food Policy Agency, the politics of food banks, and the promise of regenerative agricultural practices. Nestle concludes by talking about the pleasures of food and eating and how to establish a “loving relationship” with food that doesn’t include fear, guilt, or anxiety about nutrition.
Marion Nestle is the Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health, Emerita, at New York University, and the author of books about food politics, most recently Unsavory Truth.
Carrie Helms Tippen is Assistant Professor of English at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, PA, where she teaches courses in American Literature. Her 2018 book, Inventing Authenticity: How Cookbook Writers Redefine Southern Identity (University of Arkansas Press), examines the rhetorical strategies that writers use to prove the authenticity of their recipes in the narrative headnotes of contemporary cookbooks. Her academic work has been published in Gastronomica, Food and Foodways, American Studies, Southern Quarterly, and Food, Culture, and Society.
Lindsay Herring is a first-year M.A. Food Studies Candidate at Chatham University. She loves historical cookbooks, food policy and activism through history, and vegan baking. Personally, she enjoys theatre, singing and traveling (someday again!).
Archish Kashakar is a chef and culinary educator who is currently a second-year M.A. Food Studies Candidate at Chatham University. He works with the program’s research offshoot CRAFT as a Food Lab Graduate Consultant and also serves on the board of the Graduate Association of Food Studies as a Social Media Manager. He is currently working on his thesis that traces the history of Singaporean street food dishes and their development in a post-World War II era. Follow on Twitter @archishkash.
Carrie Helms Tippen is Assistant Professor of English at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, PA, where she teaches courses in American Literature.