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The Pitchfork

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James McWilliams is "a historian and writer who's books include Just Food: Where Locavores Get It Wrong, How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly and A Revolution in Eating: How the Quest for Food Shaped America. My writing on food, agriculture, and animals has appeared in the New York Times, Harper’s, The Washington Post, Slate, Forbes, Travel and Leisure, The Los Angeles Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Christian Science Monitor, and The Texas Observer."

  • On Chips and Microchips
    This past year, 2015, may go down as the year we admitted that our relationship with digital media was getting a little dysfunctional. Several recent books—notably Sven Birkerts’ Changing the Subject: Art and Attention in the Internet Ageand Sherry Turkle’s Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age—persuasively argue that (...more)
    8 Feb 2016 at 2:37pm       

  • Defending Henry
      In a recent New Yorker piece (“Pond Scum,” October 19), Kathryn Schulz takes a twenty-first-century hammer to a nineteenth-century nail, pounding Henry David Thoreau into submission. In addition to Thoreau’s supposed arrogance, self-righteousness, narcissism, parochialism, isolationism, and apparent embrace of every “ism” against (...more)
    4 Feb 2016 at 6:57am       

  • Putting An End To “Anti-Science”
      Now that the Food and Drug Administration has approved genetically modified salmon for human consumption, a timeworn debate over the safety and effectiveness of genetically modified food has once again resumed. Several lazy tropes drive this discourse—GMOs are “Frankenfood,” GMOs will feed the world, GMOs cause cancer—and none of them (...more)
    6 Jan 2016 at 9:17am       

  • Horse Meat in the Food Chain
      Exotic game meat is a specialty food item that’s becoming increasingly less special—currently it’s a $39 billion a year industry. This might be great news for consumers with a taste for bear, yak, lion, or beaver (you can place an online order with a quick click), but it’s not so great in terms of [...] (...more)
    10 Dec 2015 at 11:13am       

  • “Humane” Turkeys Come from Factory Farm
        In preparation for this year’s Thanksgiving feast, more consumers than ever before will seek turkeys that have been humanely raised. For these shoppers, optimistic messages offered by Whole Foods and other animal welfare–oriented food retailers will provide assurance that they’re making an ethical food choice. “Our birds live in harmony (...more)
    30 Nov 2015 at 6:57am       

  • Chipotle’s Food Safety Problem
      If your brand has anything to do with food, the last place you want it to appear in is the Food Poison Journal. But that’s exactly where the Chipotle Mexican Grill recently found itself, prominently placed in a headline confirming its most recentE. coli outbreak. Thirty-nine people in Washington and Oregon came down with E. coli O26 after (...more)
    12 Nov 2015 at 9:10am       

  • Citizen Monkey
      As a writer who covers animal issues, I routinely get alerts from public relations firms seeking ink on the case du jour of animal abuse. These press releases typically detail horrific instances of decrepitude—piglets being flung to the ground and tossed into the trash and the like. Earlier this month, though, I was brought [...] (...more)
    5 Nov 2015 at 3:45pm       

  • Approaching 50
      During mile 1 of my first 50-mile race, as darkness lifted from a perfect Vermont morning, I did what a lot of people do when they think they might be in over their head—I started talking to strangers. By mile 5, I had acquaintances. By mile 10, I had friends. By mile 12, I [...] (...more)
    30 Oct 2015 at 2:06pm       

  • Gourds
      A version of this piece ran in the New York Times in 2006.  This time of the year, the windows of America are beginning to be dotted with carefully carved jack-o’-lanterns, but in a week or so, the streets will be splotched with pumpkin guts. Orange gourds will fly from car windows, fall from apartment [...] (...more)
    26 Oct 2015 at 10:53am       

  • One Beautiful Sentence
    “It seemed to him that the grey dawn lasted so long here, the country was a long while in coming to life.” –Willa Cather, Death Comes for the Archbishop (1927)   Mark Rothko, “Black on Grey” (1970) (...more)
    22 Oct 2015 at 2:34pm       

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