Food

I Am What I Drink: Identity and Craft Beer

I Am What I Drink: Identity and Craft Beer

Long time readers of the blog will know the world of alcohol is one of life’s laboratories where our favorite theological themes are examined. Lord knows we’ve written a book’s worth of material on the subject of alcoholism, addiction, and the wisdom found in the world of recovery. Along with the very real and widespread issue of dependency, the bar scene is another petri dish where some of the most widespread identity-crafting techniques are employed. Chief among the questions of identity: what should I drink, and what will my order say about me.

For craft beer fans, the question of drink and identity is a…

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500 Miles from Bir-ming-ham: Umberto Eco and the New South

500 Miles from Bir-ming-ham: Umberto Eco and the New South

The New South aesthetic is farcical, but not irredeemably so.

Over pimento cheese fritters with bacon jam at a restaurant in South Georgia, I marveled at waiters in chambray shirts under plaid vests, distressed brick walls, and cocktail names like ‘rockin porch’. How, I wondered, had things down there come to such a pass? My companion, a Virginian who’d gone to a New England college, lightly objected to the rusty scythes and plows adorning the walls – wasn’t this a bit much?

The farm tools were almost a New South parody, the chiks comin’ home to roost. To the Georgian, it seems,…

What is Jim Gaffigan Obsessed with?

Comedian Jim Gaffigan is back with a brand new stand-up special, Obsessed, and it’s well worth checking out, full of his trademark self-deprecating riffs on food and parenting. For those who are unfamiliar, Gaffigan’s previous material has been remarkably well reviewed on here by Matt Schneider – suffice it to say, the man possesses a keen eye for the subtle ways we justify ourselves in everyday life:

Another Week Ends: Walser’s Wounds, Diet Supremacists, Homeless Christ, Hart’s Lament, Flat Circus, Mad Men, Parenthood, and The Secret Sisters

Another Week Ends: Walser’s Wounds, Diet Supremacists, Homeless Christ, Hart’s Lament, Flat Circus, Mad Men, Parenthood, and The Secret Sisters

1. Much of value comes across one’s desk during Holy Week, and this year was no exception. But the sources are seldom the expected ones. What stopped me in my tracks this week was an interview The European conducted with prominent German intellectual Martin Walser on “Kafka, Faith and Atheism” (and Karl Barth), which was picked up by The Huffington Post in 2012. Don’t gloss over! Despite the somewhat confusing allusion to Martin Luther–a generous read of which would surmise he’s referring either to the -ism that followed the man, or the way the Reformer’s understanding of vocation was culturally…

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Another Week Ends: Robots, Children, Busybodies, Grocery Store Flowcharts, Self-Hating Memories, Money-Burning Radio, Noah Dissent and Eight-Year-Old Guitar

Another Week Ends: Robots, Children, Busybodies, Grocery Store Flowcharts, Self-Hating Memories, Money-Burning Radio, Noah Dissent and Eight-Year-Old Guitar

 A quick update: we had some trouble with the Kindle version of The Mockingbird Devotional, but it’s now available here. It’s been tested with Kindle Fire and should work for older Kindles, too – Paperwhite compatibility is a little dubious (if there are problems, let us know so we can gripe to Amazon) – and it should work for iPad/iPhone and Android, too. 

1. The robots are coming: it’s a major upheaval we’ll see in the next few years, and one that’s flown relatively under the radar. So many avenues for exploring how we’ll relate to them, how they’ll change things – surrogate…

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Pseudoscience Shrines and Organic Bread Slicers

Pseudoscience Shrines and Organic Bread Slicers

It doesn’t get any, er, tastier than this. I’m referring to the amazing little piece (of m-bait) that appeared on The Daily Beast this past weekend, “Whole Foods: America’s Temple of Pseudoscience” by Michael Schulson. We’ve been down this road a number of times before, but Schulson outdoes himself here, highlighting the undeniable religiosity that lies at the heart of so much of our culinary and health culture these days. That is, food is much more than food–and always has been, though perhaps not to the current extent. Purity, Status, Mortality, Justification, even Atonement–these are the subjects we find ‘messaged’…

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Finger-Wagging the Tofu Faithful

Finger-Wagging the Tofu Faithful

Perhaps this would fit under PZ’s “Religions that Aren’t Called Religions,” as an Ideology. Or perhaps this is simply its own religion, the religion of Health, the religions of Fitness and Nutrition, of Kale Chips. But it could be easily replaced with almost anything–Sound Investments, Good Hair, Child-Rearing–anything that promises we will never die, and thus leaves us missing out on what’s enjoyable about actually, really living. This comes from Capon’s amazing Health, Money and Love (and Why We Don’t Enjoy Them)

“Isn’t it true that the eating habits of most Americans are killing them?” My answer is no. People die…

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Another Week Ends: The Geel System, Secular Happiness, GMOs, the Faith of Malcolm Gladwell, and Bobby Petrino (Again)

Another Week Ends: The Geel System, Secular Happiness, GMOs, the Faith of Malcolm Gladwell, and Bobby Petrino (Again)

1) Aeon covers the small, “half-crazy” Belgian town of Geel, where the mentally ill have taken refuge and been given a family for over seven centuries. Given its reputation in the 1300s after the martyr Dymphna was killed by her mentally ill father, the town has become well-known by Belgians as a place of respite for the mentally handicapped, where they are brought into a family and treated as such. The tradition continues today, and people wonder where the lines have been drawn between “therapy,” whatever that means, and “belonging.” The people of Geel even built a hospital on the…

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5 Golden Themes (Again)! What We Loved (and Loved to Analyze) in 2013

5 Golden Themes (Again)! What We Loved (and Loved to Analyze) in 2013

Well, well, well. Here we go again, 2013 edition.

1) The Religion of Food. Well, as we might have said last year, and the year before that, it seems the foodie is here to stay. Of particular interest this year was the spirituality of food–things like Jay Z and Beyonce joining arms with the 22 Day Challenge. Jay Z pledges: “Why now? There’s something spiritual to me about it being my 44th birthday and the serendipity behind the number of days in this challenge; 22 (2+2=4) coupled with the fact that the challenge ends on Christmas day…It just feels right!” This…

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When a Cleanse Is More Than Just a Cleanse

When a Cleanse Is More Than Just a Cleanse

Well, this is about as interesting as it gets, especially during a week that so revolves around food. In the past 48 hours, I’ve been forwarded not one but four separate articles about the religiosity inherent in the juice cleanse phenomenon. It would appear that, after receding for a number of years following the boom in the early 00s, juicing has come back with a vengeance, especially in affluent circles. While each of the articles takes a slightly different angle, all of them agree that when someone pays close to $10 for a small bottle of green liquid, there is…

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Another Week Ends: OWL Pushback, Antihero Armstrong, Pearls for Gleason, New McCartney, Ambitious Slackers, Space Cowboys, Food-Profiling, and Dilbert’s Failure

Another Week Ends: OWL Pushback, Antihero Armstrong, Pearls for Gleason, New McCartney, Ambitious Slackers, Space Cowboys, Food-Profiling, and Dilbert’s Failure

1. Yesterday I mentioned the name-dropping op-ed that appeared on the Washington Post, Tullian Tchividjian’s “The Missing Message in Today’s Churches.” It’s fine little piece, notable as much for where it was published as what it is saying, most of which will be familiar to readers of this site:

“Too many churches perpetuate the impression that Christianity is primarily concerned with morality. As my colleague David Zahl has written, ‘Christianity is not about good people getting better. It is about real people coping with their failure to be good.’ The heart of the Christian faith is Good News not good behavior….

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Paula Deen Gets Her Just Des(s)erts

Paula Deen Gets Her Just Des(s)erts

Unfortunately, Paula Deen did not stop at fried okra and sweet potato pie in her glorification of the Old South, but distastefully resurrected a vision of antiquated race roles in a few comments that have recently been revealed to the harsh light of public judgment. While her expulsion from Food Network and the collapse of her career may come as good news to many and bad news for nation-wide butter sales, there are many conflicting ideas about the appropriate reactions and consequences. Joshua David Stein’s recent article in The New York Observer, which we covered in the latest weekender, says…

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