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Season 1.1: What Happens Next? An Introduction to Culinary Systems.

Updated: Jul 31, 2020

This season examines the existence and creation of current culinary systems and their significance both culturally and commercially. As we contemplate what we want from a new culinary system we will examine how change can be enacted. The ingredient for the inaugural season of Sourced will be origin.


Written in 2007 this book is still highly relevant, it is possibly shocking how little has changed. It does what it says on the tin, tracing global food systems, including the media and societal pressures such as body image, and how these fit into our food systems. It is a great overview and a starting point to kick off your own research, depending on what interests you. Also recommended is Patel’s chapter in Letters to a Young Farmer.

Collingham is a natural storyteller and with this book she takes the reader through time one dish and a time, tracing the history of that dish, it’s ingredients and the people who eat it. It clearly demonstrates that the capitalist world we live in is embedded, based on, food systems. Colonialism happened because of food. This book could do with being a bit more robust in its interrogation of those systems, it is a bit light of the damage the quest for food caused (and therefore has continued to cause), but at the same time it doesn’t sugar coat. A good starting point to understand why food and colonial history is entwined.

by Michael Twitty

Part memoir, culinary history and cookbook, Michael Twitty writes poetically about Black foodways in the United States. As an exploration of his own culinary journey, Twitty explains the Black history of American cuisine through a personal lens. With his own story intertwined with the history, Twitty gives insight to how dominant culinary narratives impact the descendants of people they erase. This book is a great example of the power of personal reclamation and why it is important that we examine culinary history when we consider the culinary future.

by Robin Sloan

This work of fiction is a delightful weekend read that will make you rethink what we consider as culinary ‘progress’. The narrative centers around Lois Clary, a software engineer who is employed by a San Francisco tech company to develop a robot arm that can cook with human dexterity. Lois’s interest in cooking doesn’t go beyond her programming tasks until she suddenly becomes steward to an ancient and seemingly sentient sourdough starter. Lois becomes so entranced by the heaving sourdough starter that it eventually transforms her personal and professional life. A creative look at tensions present in the conversation about culinary progress and tradition.

By Akala

Food and drink are part of a system, we can’t understand the system without understanding the context. Although British focused this book unpicks race and class that are relevant globally; there are very few countries untouched by colonialism and empire and therefore there is shared history. It is a contemporary book, with the history of the empire as the constant backdrop.

By Soleil Ho

This article is a touchstone piece for both SOURCED founders. Soleil Ho (formerly of the podcast Racist Sandwich, currently part of the San Francisco Chronicle) carefully articulates the relationship between assimilation and food for immigrant families. As our culinary landscape incorporates more ingredients from around the globe, it is important that we recognise the human ingredient in culinary innovation. Ho looks beyond the temptation to call this food 'fusion' and instead points out the roles nostalgia and access play in assimilation food.


Point of Origin

From Whetstone Magazine's excellent podcast, this 2-part series looks into the history of black farms in the US and the political history of farming while black.

Take A Bao

This episode looks at the marginalised community of Chettis in Malaysia through their food. It traces the ancestry of the community, from their trader rots through to current day cuisine and makes the reader think about how to address the idea of food changes and develops.

Our header image is taken from this episode of Take a Bao. We thought this work by Trisha Toh and Calvin Goh was indicative of how ingredients are layered into our food traditions through culture, history and taste.

The Partnership of Gender Equality are hosting a summer salon series, the first one is Tuesday 4 August 12pm Eastern time and is exploring the speciality coffee industry.


Minas Gerais, Brasil

Season 8, Episode 7, Parts Unknown: Minas Gerias, Brazil (avaliable on Netflix)

This episode of Anthony Bourdain's popular CNN show, looks at the minerio cuisine and how it has been influenced by the history of its people and movement - Portuguese, African and indigenous cultures. This history is complex and violent, and is seen in the culture today.

The Invisibles: Inhumane Conditions of Italy's Migrant Farmworkers

Doha Debates

A short film about the migrant farm works in Italy who are keeping the country functioning during COVID-19. Through an interview with union leader Aboubakar Soumahoro it documents the inhumane conditions of the workers, mostly from Africa, of a food system that has been in place for years and was deems "essential" overnight, with no change in conditions.


A global platform for Black and non-white people in the food and hospitality world that advocates for recognition, visibility, equity, equality and wealth creation. They are currently running an eight-week session of talks on decolonising the food industry. These will be available online after the talks have finished. For information on how to register for the talks, live go to their instagram, and sign up on the website to find out about news.

Community fridges

An idea that stared in Germany, community fridges are now a global initative. They are 'fridges' set up in public spaces where people are able to donate food and/or take away food. This both helps with food waste and support those within the community that are vulnerable.

Here is a list of UK community fridges

Here is a report on community fridges in the US

An online cookbook with recipes from 100+ cooks of migrant heritage that is raising money for UK BAME COVID-19 victims. Donate £10 or more to receive an e-book with an amazing array of recipes that explore a diverse way of looking at how food travels, creates comfort and builds community.

Part of the UN this programme is a huge, global programme that assists countries in emergency with food, as well as assisting with developing nutritional levels and building resilience. They are currently looking for donations and engagement, particularly with the affect of COVID-19.

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