Thursday, December 12, 2013

I had never heard the term “foodie” before moving to San Francisco. As a former fat kid, I couldn’t understand this pride with which San Franciscans declared themselves gourmets, or “foodies.” What was this strange world in which people were so invested in what we eat?

As the days grow shorter and plastic bins are filling with canned goods, many have begun to overindulge in holiday treats and diet options plaster the news. I am reminded again that food is much more than sustenance.

Food is a cultural experience, an ethical dilemma, a health hazard. Food is delight and nostalgia and shame.  The breadth and complexity of this week’s special “Food Issue” is proof.

Our writers have scoured The City for culinary treats and now share their reviews and personal holiday recipes.  (Try saying “feuerzangenbowle” ten times, fast.) We’ve got tips for your holiday cookie-decorating party, and our resident “Science Mom” writes a funny and heart-warming piece about her husband’s forays into making organic baby food.

In these pages, we also present the darker side of food culture.  The ethical debate about genetically modified (GM) foods rages, and the obesity epidemic leads UCSF’s anti-sugar warriors to call for a ban on sugary beverages.

While some struggle with consuming too much, others may go hungry in light of recent cuts to the federal food stamps program. Others still face psychological battles over food, as one student explores in a courageous personal essay about bulimia.

This holiday season, in this city of foodies, I hope we can take a moment to reflect on that which sustains us, whatever that might mean.

The Monsters in My Fridge

Cuts to SNAP Benefits Threaten Food Security in UCSF’s Backyard

This Thing Is Gluten Free: Does that mean it’s good for me?

New Precision Medicine Lecture Series Wraps Up

From Test Tube to Kitchen Table: OBR-Bay Debates GMOs


AIDS Exhibits at the UCSF Library

Cirque du Soleil’s Amaluna is Other Worldly

Mama M.: Beating the Winter Blues