Heldke Quoted in USA Today Article

Posted on December 23rd, 2014 by

Lisa Heldke '82

Lisa Heldke ’82

Lisa Heldke ’82, Professor of Philosophy and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies at Gustavus Adolphus College, was recently quoted in a USA Today article titled “We Are What We Eat.” Here is an excerpt from the article:

Some counter that there’s something cavalier about people outside of a food tradition modifying the cuisine.

“I don’t think food is trivial and immaterial,” says Lisa Heldke, a professor at Gustavus Adolphus College and author of ExoticAppetites: Ruminations of a Food Adventurer. The relationship between food and identity is enormous, yet people rarely treat it with the same reverence as other cultural pillars like literature and religious texts, she says.

And while drawing lines can go too far — “desires for authenticity can slip pretty easily into purity that can smack of, frankly, nationalism,” she says — a disrespect for food traditions isn’t the right approach, either, because foods can be “adopted into oblivion.”

Heldke recalls ordering tiramisu in an American restaurant and getting a highly altered creation instead of something that resembled the Italian dessert. “There was no part of tiramisu there anymore,” she said.

She thinks people should approach food — both when they prepare it and when they dine out — as an opportunity to learn about other cultures.

“Food is a wonderful vehicle for a conversation to happen,” she said.

The article can be read in its entirety online. 

Heldke is committed to exploring the philosophical significance of food, a topic about which philosophers historically have had very little to say. She has published numerous articles as well as the book that the USA Today reporter mentioned in the article excerpt. She has also coedited two books in this area: Cooking, Eating, Thinking: Transformative Philosophies of Food and The Atkins Diet and Philosophy.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


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