American Tuna… and Drinking: A Doubleheader

November 17, 2012

CHC/file
Cover of Andy Smith's book "Drinking History"

Andy Smith, one of our nation’s most eminent food historians, has so much information to dish out he’s going to give us a two-subject lecture based on his latest books: American Tuna—the Rise and Fall of an Improbable Food and Drinking History: 15 Turning Points in the Making of an American Beverages

Regarding tuna, he asks how a fish that was sold primarily as a fertilizer became one of the most commonly consumed fishes in the country in just a decade? How does a cheap fish become haute cuisine? And how does a fish become embroiled in U.S. foreign policy, immigration and environmental politics, and American dietary trends? He will also describe how the American tuna industry was decimated by concerns about toxic levels of methylmercury and over-harvesting. 
 
Offering a chaser to that talk, Smith discusses why Americans drink what we drink, how beverages—alcoholic and non-alcoholic—have changed American history and how Americans have invented, adopted, modified, and commercialized tens of thousands of beverages. 
 
Andy Smith teaches food studies at the New School University in New York. He is the editor of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, has edited or authored more than 20 books, and his written more than 1000 articles on culinary topics. In addition, Mr. Smith conducts acclaimed food writing conferences in New York City. 
 
Recorded Saturday, November 17, 2012 at Kendall College.