Rachel Laudan on the History of Food and Cuisine with Rachel Laudan

Intro. [Recording date: July 28, 2015.]Russ:We're going to talk about your book

as well as an essay you've written on food and modernity. You book is a rather

extraordinary of food, its interaction with empire, nations, and culture. And

there's a lot to talk about there. I want to start with grain, wheat in

particular, but other grains as well. Why are grains so important in the

history of food, and why did they remain important?Guest:Well, let's go back to the

Paleolithic. Human beings, it's pretty clear, were incredible careful and

intelligent about inventorying the world's food sources. They knew what was

edible and what was not. They experimented and found out what was poisonous and

what was not. And the trick was to find something that was nutritious, that was

storable, that was transportable. And most foodstuffs just don't live up to

this. Most foodstuffs are available only episodically, in the summer, in the

harvest season, or, if they are big game, they are only available when you've

got a big catch. The really neat thing about grains is that they satisfy all

those criteria. They are highly nutritious because they are food [?] plants.

They are highly storable because they are hard and dry, and they don't rot and

go bad. And they are highly transportable because they have a high food-value

to weight ratio. Unlike, say, potatoes, which are very wet and heavy and

therefore are hard to store and transport. So you have these little things that

are potentially very, very useful year-round human food. The downside of them

is that they are absolutely the worst foodstuffs or raw materials in the world

to turn into something we can put into our mouths.Russ:Yeah; that was one of the mostfascinating parts of the book--the length you have to go to. We think, 'Oh,bread comes from wheat; isn't that nice?' But it's a little more complicated.Guest:Absolutely. It was brought home to mewhen my father, who was a farmer and who grew hundreds of acres of wheatdecided it would be interesting to make bread out of his own wheat. And inthose days, you couldn't just google and find out how to do it. So he set abouttaking these grains of wheat; and he beat them in a pestle and mortar, and heground them through a meat grinder, and he hit them on the stone floor of thekitchen. And all he got was squashed grains.Russ:Asopposed to flour.Guest:Youhave to use a shearing action--I learned that many years later when I moved toMexico, where people still grind grains. And you have to use a lot of weightwith both a vertical and a horizontal force to break up the outside husk andget into the flour in the middle. And that's after you've cleaned them, andwashed them, and threshed them, and done all the preliminary processes. That'sjust to turn them into flour.Russ:It'san amazing thing that someone thought to do that. I mean, I assume that in thebeginning people just chewed it, and it wasn't very good or very appealing.Guest:I think if they just chewedit--really the grains passed through you. Their cover was a little hard-skinnedon the outside. And you can't get much nutrition from them unless you breakthem up. And we have speculations about whether or not they were made intopopcorn by just simply eating a popped wheat, puffed wheat; whether they weresprouted and made into beer; whether they were ground; whether they wereboiled. You have to dooneofthose things. It's a really cute debate: Did humans start agriculture in orderto have beer because they wanted beer so much? But I think that misunderstandsthe extent to which people were experimenting. I think long beforeagriculture--by about 20,000 B.C., humans are experimenting with grains. And Ithink they did absolutely everything to them. They treated them, they heatedthem, they ground them, they treated them with lye, they popped them. Theyprobably treated them with acid. They sprouted them. Anything to be able to getaccess to that nutrition.Russ:Andone other thing I want to mention in passing that runs through the veryearliest part of the book is the power of that kind of transformative process.In particular, cooking. And I think modern people tend to think of cooking asit makes food taste better. We have a modest experience with raw foods: we eatsushi; we might have steak tartare; we eat raw vegetables with dip at cocktailparties. But you point out that the really important part of cooking is itsaves time in chewing. Can you explain that? Because that's remarkable.Guest:Both chewinganddigesting. Animals, if you think ofthe standard picture of a cow, they first of all spend a lot of time wanderingaround, chewing grass, which is tough. And then they have stomachs and theyspend much of the day digesting this food. It takes a huge amount of energy todigest food. So that when you cook, what you are essentially doing isoutsourcing digesting--chewing and digesting--into the kitchen. And doing itpreviously. And that saves a lot of energy for the humans who are lucky enoughto eat thecookedfood.

Of course, the energy has to come from somewhere, and part of it is from the

thermal energy of the fire; but part of it is from the energy of the people or

animals or later on wind or water or steam that are doing the hard work of

grinding.

Russ:Now,you make a distinction between different kinds of cuisine. Obviously it's arough distinction, but you talk about high cuisine, humble cuisine, andmiddling cuisine. What do you have in mind with them and how have they evolvedover time?Guest:Ithink this is an absolutely crucial point, and it's one that we forget becausewe all eat so well nowadays. Far more than the adoption of the grain, beginningabout 20,000 B.C. and long before you get agriculture and then increasing withagriculture, one small group of people have been able to get hold of thisstorable wealth, the grains. And the philosophers and physicians who servedthat group developed a physiological theory that, according to each rank ofliving being, there was an appropriate kind of cuisine. And this was a verycomprehensive theory because at that stage the whole world was thought to beliving, from minerals up to the spirits or the gods. The spirits or the godscould live on aromas. Minerals just lived on water and stayed static. But if yougo to the humans in the middle, the idea was that basically--it's morecomplicated than this--there were two kinds of humans: there were thearistocrats, the rulers, the nobilities, who had delicate stomachs and had tohave highly cooked, highly refined food, the best, whitest bread or rice, thesauces and sweets and meats and alcohols, that characteristic of the highcuisine. And then the rest of the people, which would be 9 out of every 10people, had coarse, rough stomachs. They were closer to the animals. And theycould get by on dark breads, root vegetables. They did not need these finesauces and sweets. And this was a mark of hierarchy that didn't really begin todisappear until after the French Revolution.Russ:Weforget that in our time, for most Americans, food is a form of recreation. It'sa mix of art, sports, physical desire. But most of human history, that's notthe case.Guest:Absolutelynot the case. The main aim of 9 out of 10 of the population, there are folkssaying in every society, the test of what matters most is a full stomach. Ofcourse for the aristocrat, yes, foodwasanart form. And when I talk about middling cuisine, I talk about what happened inthe last hundred years, where essentially in the richer countries, with a fewexceptions of unfortunate people who kind of slipped into extreme poverty,everybody can eat the food of the aristocrats of the past. So, everybody caneat high cuisine, except now the difference, the striking difference betweenthe culinary philosophy of high cuisine in the past and of middling cuisinetoday is that in high cuisine you had thisphysiologicalthatthe upper classes were physiologically different from everybody else. Nowadays,we all eat a middling cuisine and we have a physiological theory that saysessentially, all human beings can eat the same food. So the USDA (U.S.Department of Agriculture), for example, can put out a Food Pyramid that issupposed to apply to the inter-higher[?] American population. And that'smiddling. And that's something that is radically new in human history.Russ:Of course, we don't all agree on whatthat pyramid should look like. An incredible time I think of trying to figureout what's good for us versus tastes good and what's healthy and what's not.Guest:Yes. Quite.

Russ:I wantto talk about three different types of globalization of cuisine that you talkabout in the book: British, French, and American. And I want to start withBritish. The British emphasis on bread and beef, to the near exclusion of everythingelse was fascinating. And I think of the classic phrase--and I don't know whyit's always male, but: 'He's a meat and potatoes man' is a phrase fromsomewhere in my cultural tool kit. Somehow the idea that British cuisine wasattractive spread around. It does not have the best reputation today. What wasthe bread and beef attraction and what role did the British play in spreadingit?Guest:Well, beef was supposed to be thestrongest of the meats. And bread was supposed the strongest of the carbohydratesthat you have. And it was widely believed, across Europe and the United Statesbut particularly in Britain, that one of the reasons why the British were ableto conquer the world, or to expand their empire enormously, particularly in thelate 19th and early 20th centuries, was that they were bread and beef eaters. Imean, you, as an economist know there are lots of theories about why theBritish were able to conquer so much of the world. The British at the time ofcourse had other theories that, you know--the British climate made them tough,or that there was sometimes intrinsic to the British character that made themstrong. For a lot of other countries, and you find this in Japan and in LatinAmerica, in particular, who want to develop strong modern nations, thenutritional theory has a lot of appeal, because it's very hard to alter theclimate of your nation, and it's very hard to alter the national character ofyour nation. But youcanalterthe nutrition of your nation. So, there was this widespread attempt around theworld in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to try to convert Mexicans orArgentinians or Brazilians or Japanese to bread and beef diets. Most of thoseefforts failed because it was economically an incredibly uphill job. But they didn'tfail entirely. The Japanese, you know, today eat bread. And so do most of theLatin Americans. And beef is valued in those places. We live with the resultsof that.Russ:Youare what you eat, I guess, is an appealing idea, and to some extent true. Butmaybe not to the extent they used to believe. So, we have the British having abig influence on world cuisine at the end of the 19th century. Somehow, Frenchcuisine becomes the standard of sophistication and high dining. How did thathappen? And it still persists, to some extent. It's lost some of its caché, I'dsay in the last 50 years. But it still remains a standard of high dining. Howdid that come about and why was it important?Guest:Ithink it's first important to say it's Frenchhigh cuisine,because

the high cuisine of France that became the international standard was something

that most French people had never seen and never ate. It did not come, swell up

from the peasantry. There's a slightly complicated story about what happened

around 1650 when you get a rapid political change and the establishment of,

after the Peace of Westphalia, a series of nations in Europe, on supposedly

equal terms, combined with a shift of the scientific revolution and the

Protestant revolution. And in complicated ways these would act together to

produce anewcuisine that the world had never seen before.It's a really striking example of radical and rapid culinary change. The oldcuisines of spiced food that--ultimately stemming from Persia but that hadreally influenced China, dominated in the high cuisine of India, right acrossto Southern Europe, were displaced by this new Northern European cuisine. Andthe people who developed it in its most elaborate form, because they had thegreatest resources--the richest courts--were the French. And they developed itreally terribly rapidly between 1650 and 1700. And that's the point wherediplomacy is become important because of this national state system. And thenational state system needs something to use for diplomatic dinners, todemonstrate modernity, Europeanness against the Persian-type cuisines thatexisted before. And so French high cuisine becomes the cuisine of Europeandiplomacy in the 18th century, and then of international diplomacy and theinternational elite in the 19th century. So that by 1880 you could go to Tokyo,you could go to Santiago de Chile, you could go to Sydney, you could go to SanFrancisco and the thing to be eating was, if you were really rich or you werereally high in politics was high French cuisine.Russ:Tell the story of what happened inHawaii, because that's really rather remarkable.Guest:Oh, yes, itremarkable. It's really sad. The Hawaiian islands tried to remainindependent of the Western powers after they were opened to European influenceby Captain Cook in 1788. And King Kalakaua went on a world tour in the 1880sand he visited all the heads of state, in Japan, in Siam, in France, QueenVictoria, the President of America. Everywhere he went, they had high Frenchcuisine. That was what he was treated to. And he went back to Hawaii and itconfirmed to him that the policy the Hawaiian monarchs had been trying oftrying to use the kind of looking-like a European style monarchy had to becontinued. So he built a palace and he had a coronation dinner that cost reallyabout 20% of the state budget. And he had the misfortune to be doing this whenthere were many powerful Americans in the sugar business as merchants inHawaii. And they came from a quite different culinary tradition. And I won'tsay that the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy was just because of thebuilding of a palace and the giving of a coronation dinner, but it was kind ofsymbolic of a big debate going on in the late 19th century between these old,monarchical, hierarchic, aristocratic cuisines taken up by internationaldiplomats and the route that America was beginning to sketch out for itself.Russ:Talking about French cuisine, I'mreminded of Calvin Trillin's line. He says when you are visiting--I think he'stalking about a mid-sized American city or even a largish American city, andyour host says, 'You know, you'd be surprised: for a town of our size we have avery good French restaurant,' he said, 'They don't.' Really first-rate Frenchcooking, at least when he wrote the book I'm thinking of--it must be in the1970s, I think, maybe the 1980s--was limited to a handful of large cities inAmerica at least. But it's a statement really the fact that everyone wanted tohave that caché, that sophistication of French cuisine. And I guess Julia Childwas the high water mark of that in America. And bouncing off that was JacquesPepin, who emphasized more of a peasant French cooking--Guest:Right.Russ:which I always liked more than thefancier stuff. But that's partly--maybe I'm a little bit lazy.Guest:Yes, of course. No, I mean, you know,

there is that distinction in French cuisine.

Russ:Now,as you point out in the book, and American president who was hosting a foreigndelegation--I think I have this right--would serve the equivalent of a Frenchdinner until fairly recently, when it's now become fashionable to have our ownnative cuisine highlighted more directly. Somewhere along that way, thehamburger became a worldwide force, partly associated with McDonald'sobviously, but through a whole set of other forces. Talk about the importanceof the hamburger.Guest:Well,if I may I'd like to back up a tiny bit about presidents serving Frenchdinners, because the American presidency has had a terrible time deciding whatto do at diplomatic dinners from the get-go. There were those, like Jefferson,who said we've got to be part of international culture as well as the economy,and we should go with high French cuisine. But there is also thisextraordinarily strong republican--with a small 'r'--tradition in Americathat's part of what the Revolution is about. And the republican strain inAmerican thought said very emphatically that, 'No, we donotwant high French cuisine. We donotwant aristocratic dining. That is notappropriate. And they looked back to the Roman republic and to the Dutchrepublic and to other republican movements in Europe and said, 'What we need isa decent cuisine for all citizens.' And that is very much the origin ofThanksgiving, which isnotafancy French dinner for diplomats but a dinner that essentially all Americanscan afford and can cook, of American ingredients. It's a kind of strikingsymbol of the republican tradition exemplified in an American custom, and wasdeliberately designed to be so. But what happened--I mean the hamburger is justsort of amazing. People say, 'Well, the British had fish and chips.' Well, fishand chips don't cut it, because fish and chips are not this beef, bread, Frenchfry phenomenon. And what Americans managed to do beginning with White Tower butpulled off triumphantly by McDonald's is to make the food of aspirationworldwide something that in America everybody can afford, and in much of therest of the world the middle class can afford, namely a kind of ersatz piece ofroast beef or steak that is a beef hamburger on a piece of white bread with abit of fresh vegetable out of season, even in the winter, with a sauce which ispart of high cuisine, with French fries, which, you know, are popular--whichbecome really widespread with McDonald's and the frozen French fry, whichSimplot perfects--until then the French had said it was the apex of Frenchcivilized food--and washed down either with a sparkling cold drink or with amilkshake, sweet and rich and cold and foamy. That is just--it makes the foodof aspiration accessible to all, and you have it in this brightly lit diningroom that is clean, that you have access to. I think only if we understand howMcDonald's taps into all these competing traditions that go back so deep in ourculture can we understand why it became such a kind of fire point for andagainst modern American food.Russ:We'regoing to come back and talk about that in some detail, but just a clarifyingquestion: That bitter, out-of-season vegetable--is that a tomato?Guest:Oh, sorry. A bit of tomato or a bitof lettuce.Russ:Eitherone.Guest:Either of those, year round.Russ:I thought you said 'bitter.' Youmeant 'bit of.'Guest:Asmall piece.Russ:Yeah. As you point out in the book, I think mostAmericans who don't travel abroad, and when we do, we're not so likely to eatat McDonald's. But most of us, when we think of McDonald's we think that thesame menu gets transported to other places, because people want a McDonald'shamburger and the prices might differ and economists like to sometimes talkabout the price of McDonald's in different currencies is a form of measuringcurrency exchange rates and standards of living. But the hamburger that peopleare eating around the world at their McDonald's is not--is radically differentfrom the American products. Talk about the way that McDonald's overseasresponds to customer demand.Guest:Oh,they're very quick off the mark. Just to mention Hawaii again because I livedthere for a long time, I think it was in the 1950s: as soon as they got toHawaii they had to introduce rice because there's a large Asian populationthere and they did not want French fries. They wanted rice. That was theprestige thing. And so around the world, McDonald's has been adjusted to localtaste, whether it's the teriyaki burger or the very successful Filipino burger.And it's not just the hamburger has been adjusted in terms of itsaccompaniments and its taste, but that the whole experience of dining atMcDonald's, which we think of as simply fast food, varies with the society. InMexico it's a place where well-to-do women can go and have lunch where theirchildren can play safely out of the range of kidnappers. In China, I'm not surethis is still true but certainly 10 years ago, it was a place to take yourchildren to have a birthday dinner. And in Vietnam it was a place where aworking single woman could go and actually have a meal by herself in a publicplace without being thought to be a prostitute.Russ:It's rather incredible.

Russ:Theother aspect of world cuisine that I learned about from your book that I didnot realize was the incredible market effectiveness of ramen, the dried noodlesthat are then reinvigorated with boiling water and a little bit of flavor. Therewas a period of my life where I probably ate them every day--for lunch withparmesan cheese, definitely a culinary mixed metaphor, but I went through along time when I ate them a lot. I haven't had them in a while. But I did notrealize how popular they were. So, talk about that.Guest:Well, in fact, this is the kind oflower middling cuisine because it has the same ingredients as the McDonald'shamburger, essentially. What you have is wheat flour again--this time it's as anoodle, not as bread. You've got a meaty taste, which is what everybody wants.And you may have a little few specks of something green floating on the topthat are supposed to be dried vegetables. But it's much more inexpensive than ahamburger. It can be reconstituted very easily. And once it was invented it waseasy to manufacture. So, you can--manufacturing plants sprung up in places likeIndonesia and India, which you might expect, as well as Japan. But then, Nepal.Nepal as a center exporting ramen noodles to India? That really surprised mewhen I realized about it. But it has been a huge success.Russ:And similarly the flavors are oftentailored to the local population.Guest:Oh,yes, absolutely.Russ:Ijust want to add I would also often add an egg to it. Talk about convenience:if you don't want to spend much time over your meal, bringing water to boil,dropping the noodles in, adding the flavor packet, and then breaking an egg inthere until it became solid is very easy. And is very tasty, of course.Guest:Yes. And actually that's not badfood. It's not complete; you probably do need something green or yellow ororange at some point. But you know, you've got protein, you've gotcarbohydrates, you've got fat.Russ:Well,that's what the M&Ms at the end are for, that's the green, yellow, andorange. The other thing about it, I have to just say, is there's somethingphysically beautiful about the shape of the noodles. They look like mattresssprings. Which is not an image you usually associate with nutrition or food.But there's something aesthetic I always found about the way those noodles werecreated. I don't know who invented that, so that they could be all, you know,coiled up like that. But they can be very beautiful.Guest:That's something nobody has said to

me before. But I like it.

Russ:So,let's shift gears. This is a good transition--we are talking about McDonald'sand ramen, which are very fast foods whether you are buying them in arestaurant or you are preparing them, a hamburger or a ramen packet at home.You have a fascinating essay on what you call culinary modernism. And I want tostart by--since we are talking about fast food--talk about the slow foodmovement and how it got started and why are you critical of it.Guest:Well, let's start by saying that

often yesterday's successes are today's problems. And what had happened, I

think, between, say, the French Revolution and the end of WWII was that the

great overriding problem of modern nations, how to get a middling cuisine for

everybody, had been basically solved. I mean, not completely solved: there were

pockets of poverty; there were inadequate foods, and so on and so forth. But by

the 1960s and 1970s, people were not dying of typhoid, they were not dying of

pellagra in the United States as they had done in the thousands in the 1930s.

They were well fed. The same was true of Europe once they had recovered from

WWII. And so the kind of diet that I'm calling the republican/democratic

culinary modernist philosophy that had dominated for nearly 200 years--suddenly

it all looked easy. And people began instead to take it for granted and begin

to perceive problems with it. So, people began to say, 'Well, maybe there are

troubles with large corporations producing food.' Or 'Maybe there are troubles

with animal welfare,' or with the environment. And I don't think this is to be

discounted. For many people, if everybody is eating a middling cuisine, how do

you distinguish yourself? How do you show yourself to be one of theprivilegedifeverybody can have a hamburger? And so you have, beginning in the 1960s and1970s, a series of cookbook authors and then organizations--I think ElizabethDavid in England, as a cookbook author was incredibly influential in this, andof course Alice Waters of the famous Chez Panisse in California is a followerof Elizabeth David. You begin to get slow food in Italy reacting against fastfood--that's a slightly more complicated situation. But what they are alltrying to do is to find some alternative to this small, republican or culinarymodernist, culinary philosophy that says the big, big job is to get a middlingcuisine for everybody so that we can have a strong nation. And they turninstead to another of the ideas that was developed in the mid-18th century whenall this was being kicked around: the Romantic Philosophy of Rousseau, whowrote a lot about food and what kind of food there was. And Rousseau did nottake the republican line at all. Nor did he take the other alternative, thesocialist or communitarian one. He said, if we don't want aristocratic foodwhat we've got to do is to look to the foods that are close to nature. The foodof the peasants. Imagined peasants, I would say, because the real peasantsdidn't have these foods. And these were to be fresh fruits and vegetables,milk, unprocessed foods; you didn't want to go to state banquets or torestaurants with flunkies who waited on you. You would have the simple food;the ideal food was a meal was not a family dinner at Thanksgiving but a picnicin the open air. Or if not a picnic, a meal with fresh foraged foods that camedirectly from either tiny farmers or from the forest. And this becomes, by thebeginning of the 20th century, an enormously appealing idea because it fits inwith the environmentalist ethic; it fits in with the idea that we have gone toofar with industrialization, the corporate world, all those kinds of bigenterprises that seem to be unmanageable and threatening. And so this becomesvery rapidly in the early 21st century the dominant culinary philosophy ofthose who care about food. Fresh, natural, organic, slow.Russ:Local.Guest:Local.Russ:Unprocessed.Etc.Guest:Unprocessed. They forget--I mean,processing just gets kind of written out of the agenda.Russ:And that sounds nice. I'm not--my

listeners know, I have a strong tendency to push back against what I consider

romanticism. But one person's romanticism is another person's deep truth. So,

on the surface, it seems like a good thing. What's wrong with natural, local, unprocessed,

close to the earth? And I should add, you talk about it in the book: there's a

certain Garden of Eden aspect to this as well; it taps into another cultural

ideal that we have. There's something idyllic about the way we imagine peasants

or simpler folk ate, and there's something romantic about going back to that.Guest:Yes.And there's also a sense of self-fulfillment and closeness to nature, that youfeel reunified with something bigger.Russ:That

said, of course, by someone who has never killed a chicken. But of course there

is also a strong movement toward vegetarianism, which avoids that problem.Guest:Yes.Russ:Sorry, I interrupted.Guest:Well, I think the problem is that the

appeal is very obvious. I'd say the problem is two-pronged. But the fundamental

problem is that the people who subscribe to this view have not worked out the

economics and the technology of how you can--and I know people hate the phrase

'feed the world'--but feed the world, with this kind of food unless you have a

massive return to small-scale agriculture and to laborious processing. Which

there doesn't seem to be a huge rush to do. There is some move to small-scale

farming. But there's no sign at the moment that it can be scaled up to produce

food in the quantity that the big mid-Western and Californian farms can

produce. And so, what's happened is that there has been a series of attempts to

give some particularity to this. We want to do organic. Well, then it turns out

that organic is a little more complicated because it still involves pesticides,

that just natural pesticides, that just organic does not produce safer or

tastier food. And it has the lower yields. So, okay, sort of the organic--put

to one side slightly and we change to local. And local, supporting your local

economy sounds wonderful. Until you work out that you are supportingyourlocaleconomy and not supporting the one down the road. And that when you count inthe effects[?] of modern transport--Russ:Youfaded out. You figured out their--when you count in what?Guest:The efficiencies of moderntransport--container-style transport and railroads and container ships. It canin fact be very possible to take advantage of the comparative advantage of theclimate in New Zealand to have New Zealand lamb sold in the United States andEurope. And then you go from organic and local and you try slow. Or you trysome other effort. And each one comes accompanied with a scare. And I thinkpeople are becoming a little weary of the successive scares of the food movement.That's just a sense I've had in the last 6 months. Partly as a result of thereaction to the reprinting of this article I did. When it first came out, ithad no reaction at all. When it was reprinted in, I think, 2010, in theNew York Timesand Art New Reader[?], there was anincredibly hostile reaction.Russ:Yes.There would have been.Guest:Andnow, although there are plenty of hostile comments, there is a much greaterinterest in thinking about alternatives to the Romantic vision that come toterms with the fact that wehaveachieved abundance, and we need to move on to new

kinds of problems.

Russ:So,the other criticism you make, though, is that it's not--we can debate, people,reasonable people can disagree about whether local cuisine can be scaled up, besuccessful, whether organic can be scaled up, whether processed foods areattractive enough to people, whatever you mean by unprocessed--because as youpoint out, every food is processed, almost, in some fashion. But the otherpoint you make which I found fascinating is that this Romantic vision of thepast is inaccurate. That this idea that peasants ate "healthier food"than we do; that slow food is somehow, when it's truly accurate, isappealing--is in fact, it's not. It's the equivalent of saying, 'I want to beself-sufficient, so I'm going to do my own roof.' But are you going to makeyour own hammer? No. You are going to buy a hammer. You are going to cheat. Soyou are really not self-sufficient--because self-sufficiency is the road topoverty.Guest:Exactly.Russ:So,talk about why dishonoring or being inaccurate about the history is important.Guest:For just the reasons I think that you

have said. That if we--I think it has repercussions at all kinds of levels. If

we say that peasants in the past ate healthier and safer food, it's easy to

translate that into the world of development and say, 'We really want people to

stay in small farms on the land. We want women in South Africa to continue

pounding their maize in a mortar with a great big pestle.' And to condemn them

to the kind of poverty that our ancestors escaped. [more to come, 51:20]

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