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Food, Space, and Place in a Global Society

Edited By Carlnita P. Greene

Foodscapes explores the nexus of food, drink, space, and place, both locally and globally. Multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary in scope, scholars consider the manifold experiences that we have when engaging with food, drink, space, and place. They offer a wide array of theories, methods, and perspectives, which can be used as lenses for analyzing these interconnections, throughout each chapter. Scholars interrogate our practices and behaviors with food within spaces and places, analyze the meanings that we create about these entities, and demonstrate their wider cultural, political, social, economic, and material implications.

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11. Bodies, Places and Spaces for Food Taste and Waste (Leda Cooks)


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11.  Bodies, Places and Spaces for Food Taste and Waste


In a darkened auditorium, I project two images to the audience. In one, a picture of mass-produced, perfectly spherical, unblemished red tomatoes. In the other, a picture of some garden tomatoes: stretch-marked, unevenly shaped, blemished, and with slightly different coloration. I ask the group of students and community members assembled at this public talk: “Which tomatoes would you buy?” I have asked this question of audiences around the US, and surveyed distributors and consumers informally in Italy and Brazil. Another time, I show a photo of abundant piles of clean, fresh, perfect produce at one market, and a picture of another market where there are just a few of each item (though no less perfect) on display. Again, the question is posed: “Which would you buy?”

I have pointed out tomatoes or other produce and queried people in farmers’ markets, community centers, convention halls and classrooms. My reasons for the inquiry and the implications of the responses, while seemingly simple questions of taste and consumption, are the basis for my journey in this chapter into the complexities of taste, waste, capital and embodiment that prefigure a preference for tomato (and other food) consumption.1

To better clarify how these connections become so common sense as to orient us to the taste of our most “natural” of foods, I’ll first briefly discuss how critical geographers discuss...

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