Turkey Day ToM style: Food, Drink and Cultural Politics on Thanksgiving


So the last couple months haven’t been easy. International terrorism in Paris and Beirut along with the domestic variant in the U.S. (yes, shooting five people at a Black Lives Matter protest counts as does the slaughter of innocent church goers in Charleston, SC this summer to namely only two incidents), the first stages of a brutal (in nearly every way) 2016 election that promises to only get more debased, and well, Donald Trump. Be sure to throw in a depressing debate about Syrian refugees that seems like history is stuck in an endless hamster wheel of miserable repetition (see WWII and Jewish refugees and the Vietnamese in the late 1970s for two examples or you know the whole birth of Jesus Christ thing if one requires a Biblical reference). Needless to say, this kind of tumult can lead to heavy drinking.

So it is with open arms ToM welcomes Thanksgiving, a holiday built on communal sharing between English settlers and Native Americans to be followed by communal elimination of the latter by the former. Moral to this story, life is filled with troubling moral contradictions. Whatever Turkey Day’s admitted problematic cultural foundation, at least we can all get our eat and drink on in copious amounts without having to worry about Fitbits chiding us for over indulging: “We’re stressed people!” With food coma and a slight beer buzz in mind, ToM brings you a six course helping of our best pieces on food, drink and politics over the years; from labor strikes in El Monte by field workers in Depression Era America to a Big Lebowski infused cultural history of the grocery store. Life is complicated, so apparently even are its holidays, but sit back and try to enjoy TNT movies, NFL football, and whatever else might make you happy for an afternoon with the family.



A Primer for Your Food Interests:

“Ten Greatest Books in Food Studies” https://tropicsofmeta.com/2015/07/30/ten-of-the-greatest-books-in-food-studies/


Lo Yen City

The Politics of Food: From the Fallacy of “All Natural” adverts to Food Truck Controversies to alleged Dog Meat in a NAFTA World

“Why We Have to Stop Talking about Nature: https://tropicsofmeta.com/2013/01/22/why-we-have-to-stop-talking-about-nature/

“The Food Truck Conundrum: Urban Politics and Mobile Eats”: https://tropicsofmeta.com/2012/04/13/the-food-truck-conundrum-urban-politics-and-mobile-eats/

“Yellow Peril in a Globalized Tijuana: The Dog Meat Incident, NAFTA, and Chinese Immigrant Labor”: https://tropicsofmeta.com/2015/11/02/yellow-peril-in-a-globalized-tijuana-the-dog-meat-incident-nafta-and-chinese-immigrant-labor/


Would You like Wine with Your Turducken?

“In Search of the Incredible Cult Riesling”: https://tropicsofmeta.com/2015/04/30/in-search-of-the-incredible-cult-riesling/

“Sideways at Ten: Shut Up and Drink the Damn Merlot”: https://tropicsofmeta.com/2014/11/13/sideways-at-ten-shut-up-and-drink-the-damn-merlot/



From Farm to Table: Labor, Agriculture, and Demographics

“The Valley Paradox: Gentlemen Farming and Immigrant Labor in the Creation of San Fernando Valley”: https://tropicsofmeta.com/2015/10/22/the-valley-paradox-gentlemen-farming-and-immigrant-labor-in-the-creation-of-san-fernando-valley/

“From Small Farming to Urban Agriculture: El Monte and Subsistence Homesteading”: https://tropicsofmeta.com/2015/06/15/from-small-farming-to-urban-agriculture-el-monte-and-subsistence-homesteading/

“The El Monte Berry Strike of 1933”: https://tropicsofmeta.com/2015/03/30/the-el-monte-berry-strike-of-1933/


“Donald Trump’s (and America’s?) Latino Problem: Oranges, Immigration and Labor in Southern California”: https://tropicsofmeta.com/2015/09/16/donald-trumps-and-americas-latino-problem-oranges-immigration-and-labor-in-southern-california/



Shopping for your Holiday Eats: A Cultural History of Ralphs

“Retail California: Ralphs, the Big Lebowski, and the American Shopping Experience”: https://tropicsofmeta.com/2014/03/10/retail-california-ralphs-the-big-lebowski-and-shaping-the-american-shopping-experience/