Encyclopedia of Food and Agricultural Ethics

2019 Edition
| Editors: David M. Kaplan

Food as Media

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-024-1179-9_596



The great performance artist Linda Montano once proclaimed, “Food is in the middle of everything” (2001, p. 181). In the opening montage to the Japanese edition of the pioneering cooking competition show Iron Chef, a judge exclaims, “I feel as if Iron Chef is speaking to me through the food!” These dual connotations of media – as middleness and as means of communication – aptly synthesize the complex and multifaceted ways in which food functions to mediate human experience.

At its broadest, food serves to broker the sensory, social, and creative layers of human experience. Such mediations occur at various points of the food cycle – from production to preparation to consumption – shaping individual and collective identity.

At its root, the term media points to an intermediate state in time or space. Indeed, media is derived from the Latin root medius, which in the sixteenth century was roughly equivalent to “the...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Basu, S. (2003). Curry: The story of the nation’s favourite dish. Stroud: Sutton.Google Scholar
  2. Boutaud, J.-J. (1999). Sensory analysis: Towards the semiotics of taste. Advances in Consumer Research, 26, 337–340.Google Scholar
  3. Curtin, J., & Heldke, L. (1992). Cooking, eating, thinking: Transformative philosophies of food. Bloomington: University of Indiana Press.Google Scholar
  4. Davies, D. (2005). Medium in art. In J. Levinson (Ed.), Oxford handbook of aesthetics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  5. De Certeau, M., Giard, L., & Mayol, P. (1998). Practice of everyday life, vol. 2: Living and cooking (Revised ed.). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  6. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, International Fund for Agricultural Development, UNICEF, World Food Programme, & World Health Organization. (2017). The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2017: Building resilience for peace and food security. Rome, FAO.Google Scholar
  7. Gabaccia, D. R. (1998). We are what we eat: Ethnic food and the making of Americans. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Gilbert, E. T., & Reynolds, J. T. (2005). Trading tastes: Commodity and cultural exchange to 1750. Upper Saddle River: Pearson.Google Scholar
  9. Hanson, M., & Mitchell, W. J. T. (Eds.). (2010). Critical terms for media studies. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  10. Kittler, F. (1999). Gramophone, Film, Typewriter. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, B. (1999). Playing to the senses: Food as a performance medium. Performance Research, 4(1), 1–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Krehl, W. A. (1983). The role of nutrition in maintaining health and preventing disease. Health Values, 7(2), 9–13.Google Scholar
  13. Lacy, S. (1979–89). “International Dinner Party.” San Francisco: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.Google Scholar
  14. Long, L. M. (2014). Existence of American cuisine. In P. B. Thompson & D. M. Kaplan (Eds.), Encyclopedia of food and agricultural ethics. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  15. Long, L. M. (2015). Ethnic American food today: A cultural encyclopedia. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
  16. McLuhan, M. (1964). Understanding media: The extensions of man. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  17. McMahon, P. (2014). Feeding Frenzy: Land grabs, price spikes, and the world food crisis. Vancouver: Greystone Books.Google Scholar
  18. Malone, R. (1981–1982). Autolocomotion – What bread does when left alone. High Performance 4(4), 70.Google Scholar
  19. Montano, L. M. (2001). Performance artists talking in the eighties. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  20. Philips, I., et al. (2004). Does the use of antibiotics in food animals pose a risk to human health? A critical review of published data. Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, 53(1), 28–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ritz, E., Hahn, K., Ketteler, M., Kuhlmann, M. K., & Mann, J. (2012). Phosphate Additives in Food—a Health Risk. Deutsches Ärzteblatt International, 109(4), 49–55.Google Scholar
  22. Rousseau, S. (2012). Food & social media: You are what you tweet. New York: Rowan & Littlefield.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Rousseau, S. (2013). Food media: Celebrity chefs and the politics of everyday interference. London: Berg.Google Scholar
  24. Sandars, N. K. (1995). Prehistoric art in Europe. London: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Sterback, J. (1987). Vanitas: Flesh dress for an Albino anorectic. First installed at Galerie Rene Blouin. Montréal: Galerie Rene Blouin.Google Scholar
  26. Sterback, J. (1996). Chair apollinaire. First installed at Barbara Gross Galerie. Munich: Barbara Gross Galerie.Google Scholar
  27. Trubek, A. (2009). The taste of place: A cultural journey into terroir. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  28. Uluisik, S., et al. (2016). Genetic improvement of tomato by targeted control of fruit softening. Nature Biotechnology, 34(9), 950–952.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Vannini, P., et al. (2010). Performing taste at wine festivals: A somatic layered account of material culture. Qualitative Inquiry, 16(5), 378–396.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Walker, K. (2014). A Subtlety. First installed at Domino Sugar Factory. Brooklyn: Domino Sugar Factory.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Cinema and CommunicationsDawson CollegeMontréalCanada