Grist Post #2

Check out my second Grist post: "Canvolution!"

This one engages with some ideas from my dissertation, so I'd particularly love feedback. Let me know what you think!

P.S. This is also my 200th post here at Dining and Opining! Thanks for being along for the ride...


  1. Can't comment on the Grist site without logging in...

    Anyway, as you may have expected, my question/comment has to do with, of all places, Korea. Food preservation here is quite a highly developed art, and yet it seems to have very little in common with food preservation as we know it back home. First, here, rather than glass or metal, they (traditionally, anyhow) use ceramic pots, which I have heard allow a little more air exchange. Second, it seems that, as well as preserving staple vegetables, they preserve a lot more sauces - soy sauce, soybean paste, pepper paste, etc. Third, preservation and fermentation often seem to go hand-in-hand here, whereas, in the States, canning often tries to leave the original food as unchanged as possible. Fourth, Koreans dry all kinds of stuff: eggplants, mushrooms, radish slices, pumpkins, persimmons, you name it.

    Is this all stuff that you're not focusing on because it's only tangentially related to canning, or because not much of it was/is going on in the US?

    Please email me if you answer this! I'd love to know what you think.

  2. Well, I guess the answer is both. I'm not focusing on Korean food preservation both because it's not directly part of the canning industry, and because I'm definitely writing for Americanist audiences (at least in the academic sense). I guess I'm trying to sell myself as an American historian, so although it leaves out many interesting comparisons and opportunities for bringing even more to the story by observing the kinds of differences you point to, I just sort of arbitrarily narrow in on this particular place and particular mode of food preservation.

    But that's just as far as the dissertation goes! As far as my own broader interests, all the points you mention are fascinating, and I'd love to think more about why and how these differences emerged, and what they say about our various food cuisines and cultures.


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