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Author Topic: Long Reads- Journalism, Essays, Fiction  (Read 33293 times)
HyperGlavin
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« Reply #80 on: May 22, 2015, 02:08 pm »

A Plea for Culinary Modernism - by Rachel Laudan

Quote
The Luddites’ fable of disaster, of a fall from grace, smacks more of wishful thinking than of digging through archives. It gains credence not from scholarship but from evocative dichotomies: fresh and natural versus processed and preserved; local versus global; slow versus fast: artisanal and traditional versus urban and industrial; healthful versus contaminated and fatty. History shows, I believe, that the Luddites have things back to front.

That food should be fresh and natural has become an article of faith. It comes as something of a shock to realize that this is a latter-day creed. For our ancestors, natural was something quite nasty. Natural often tasted bad.

Fresh meat was rank and tough; fresh milk warm and unmistakably a bodily excretion; fresh fruits (dates and grapes being rare exceptions outside the tropics) were inedibly sour, fresh vegetables bitter. Even today, natural can be a shock when we actually encounter it. When Jacques Pepin offered free-­range chickens to friends, they found “the flesh tough and the flavor too strong,” prompting him to wonder whether they would really like things the way they naturally used to be. Natural was unreliable. Fresh fish began to stink. Fresh milk soured, eggs went rotten.

Everywhere seasons of plenty were followed by seasons of hunger when the days were short. The weather turned cold, or the rain did not fall. Hens stopped laying eggs, cows went dry, fruits and vegetables were not to be found, fish could not be caught in the stormy seas.

Natural was usually indigestible. Grains, which supplied from fifty to ninety percent of the calories in most societies have to be threshed, ground, and cooked to make them edible. Other plants, including the roots and fibers that were the life support of the societies that did not eat grains, are often downright poisonous. Without careful processing green potatoes, stinging taro, and cassava bitter with prussic acid are not just indigestible, but toxic.

Nor did our ancestors’ physiological theories dispose them to the natural. Until about two hundred years ago, from China to Europe, and in Mesoamerica, too, everyone believed that the fires in the belly cooked foodstuffs and turned them into nutrients. That was what digestion was. Cooking foods in effect pre-digested them and made them easier to assimilate. Given a choice, no one would burden the stomach with raw, unprocessed foods.

So to make food tasty, safe, digestible and healthy, our forebears bred, ground, soaked, leached, curdled, fermented, and cooked naturally occurring plants and animals until they were literally beaten into submission.

To lower toxin levels, they cooked plants, treated them with clay (the Kaopectate effect), leached them with water, acid fruits and vinegars, and alkaline lye. They intensively bred maize to the point that it could not reproduce without human help. They created sweet oranges and juicy apples and non-bitter legumes, happily abandoning their more natural but less tasty ancestors.

They built granaries for their grain, dried their meat and their fruit, salted and smoked their fish, curdled and fermented their dairy products, and cheerfully used whatever additives and preservatives they could — sugar, salt, oil, vinegar, lye — to make edible foodstuffs.
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Yes, come on, get a dog up you, you rapscallion.
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« Reply #81 on: May 31, 2015, 01:08 am »

A great Web 2.0 read: "Rickrolling is sexist, racist and often transphobic in context"
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88FingersLouie
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« Reply #82 on: October 24, 2015, 12:55 pm »

Sea of Crises: A sumo wrestling tournament. A failed coup ending in seppuku. A search for a forgotten man. How one writer’s trip to Japan became a journey through oblivion.
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« Reply #83 on: November 12, 2015, 07:39 pm »

Somehow while being nothing I've ever previously cared about in the slightest that was one of the coolest articles I've ever read about anything.
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evilspud
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« Reply #84 on: December 03, 2015, 04:23 pm »

A breakdown of how gun industry lobbyists made it next to fucking impossible to pass gun control laws in the US.
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C'mon stop being a dick just screenshot the best bits for us.
88FingersLouie
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« Reply #85 on: January 10, 2016, 01:49 pm »


America's Iconic War Machine: The most feared bomber plane of the 20th Century is still going strong after 60 years in service in the US military - from Vietnam to Afghanistan. And she will keep on flying until 2044. How does this 1950s behemoth survive in the era of drones and stealth aircraft?
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Your mother is so fat, she couldn't fit on a FAT32 file system. We solved the problem by upgrading to a more modern format, but sadly it's acronym does not lend itself to this joke.
Chronicles
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« Reply #86 on: January 12, 2016, 01:16 am »


Holy moly. When you break it down like that, yeah.
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Joseph Nistal
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« Reply #87 on: February 02, 2016, 11:28 pm »

In Search of the Heart of the Online Cat-Industrial Complex

One journalists experience in meeting and dealing with some of the larger names in the cat video world. Special mention goes to Maru and Mugumogu who remain as aloof and mysterious as ever.

(click to show/hide)
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« Reply #88 on: April 05, 2016, 06:29 pm »

The Voyeur's Motel - Gerald Foos bought a motel in order to watch his guests having sex. He saw a lot more than that.
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Johnny Roastbeef
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« Reply #89 on: April 06, 2016, 10:05 am »

There are so many horrible people in that story, the author included, that I don't even know what to say.
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Because freshness is expected of any hip-hop artist, I avoid using traditional techniques.
evilspud
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« Reply #90 on: April 09, 2016, 08:59 am »

Why Men Love War.

"I don't know if I killed anyone in Vietnam, but I tried as hard as I could."
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C'mon stop being a dick just screenshot the best bits for us.
nameinuse2
Captain Nice!
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« Reply #91 on: May 25, 2016, 04:49 am »

(pdf) Big other: surveillance capitalism and the prospects of an information civilization
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spermos thermos
Internet Person



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« Reply #92 on: June 05, 2016, 12:10 pm »

An interesting piece of NSA whistleblowing history. It really lights the "should have used legal channels" argument on fire and pees on it.
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Fuck science and fuck Jesus.
Bettytron
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« Reply #93 on: June 24, 2016, 02:30 pm »

My Four Months as a Private Prison Guard

You guys, the prison-industrial complex in America is, and has been for a long time, irrevocably fucked. No person, innocent or guilty, deserves to be treated this way. And no employee of the prison should have to condition themselves to dehumanize other human beings this way. It's a cancer.
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Johnny Roastbeef
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« Reply #94 on: July 23, 2016, 09:54 am »

The role of social media in the deliberate self-stupefication of the populace through the media.
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Because freshness is expected of any hip-hop artist, I avoid using traditional techniques.
jimbob
AKA Billy
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« Reply #95 on: September 18, 2016, 07:52 am »

Good article. She doesn't really present a solution though. I certainly can't think of any.
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Joseph Nistal
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« Reply #96 on: September 27, 2016, 06:43 pm »

Almost joining the last two links together, here's a long read on Cop Twitter
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Frogbone
Captain Obvious


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« Reply #97 on: March 18, 2017, 01:07 pm »

Murder in the Lucky Holiday Hotel - a really neat read about Chinese political intrigue.
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« Reply #98 on: March 24, 2017, 02:26 pm »

That was fantastic. Most of these new BBC Magazine long form articles are worth the time. I love the formatting.
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