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Articles in Culinary Geography

India: Milk in the Northwest; Meat in the Northeast

By Martin W. Lewis | February 8, 2016 | One Comment

But milk drinking and the consumption of other dairy products is by no means uniformly distributed across India. Instead, as the maps posted here indicate, the country has a strong longitudinal gradient in this regard.

The Regionalization of California, Part 1

By Martin W. Lewis | January 12, 2016 | 2 Comments

Like all US states—and indeed, virtually political units—California is divided into a number of informal and special-purpose regions. Regional designations in California are used ubiquitously in the media, in academic reports, and in everyday conversation. They are unavoidable and necessary. But as is generally the case with regionalization schemes, the numbers, names, and spatial outlines of California’s regions vary widely …

The Lost World of the Sago Eaters

By Martin W. Lewis | November 4, 2015 | 6 Comments

The previous GeoCurrents post mentioned the Manusela people of the Indonesian island of Seram, who evidently incorporate elements of Hinduism, animism, and Christianity in their religious beliefs and practices. The Manusuela rely on the sago palm for their dietary staple, as do many other peoples of eastern Indonesia and the lowlands of Papua New Guinea. (I am referring here to …

Asparagus Land: Coastal Peru’s Fruit and Vegetable Export Boom

By Martin W. Lewis | July 17, 2013 |

The global market for temperate fruit was transformed several decades ago when Chile began to take advantage of its Southern Hemisphere location by massively exporting off-season produce to North America and Europe. When I was young, table grapes were only available in the United States during the summer and fall; now they are found in almost every grocery store year-round. …

French Wine Consumption and Other Intriguing Maps from Vintage Printables

By Martin W. Lewis | March 5, 2013 | One Comment

In conducting a simple internet search for geopolitical maps, I was surprised to see multiple returns of a map of French wine consumption in 1873. The map in question is found on a site called “Vintage Printable,” which aims to:

provide free, public domain/out-of-copyright images for you to print or download. Most of the images are vintage naturalist or scientific illustration, …

Slovenia’s Sausage Struggles

By Martin W. Lewis | August 24, 2012 |

The small country of Slovenia is often noted as the most prosperous former-communist state. The Economist, however, is concerned about a possible Slovenian financial meltdown, warning that “if Slovenia succumbs, it would be the first former communist country in the euro area to need aid. And once again the badge of honour of joining the zone would have become a mark of humiliation.” Recent news reports on the former Yugoslav republic, however, are more inclined to fret about the sausage struggle currently pitting Slovenia against both Austria and Croatia.

Hot, Caffeinated, and Expanding: The Global Geography of Coffee, Tea, and Yerba Mate

By Martin W. Lewis | July 31, 2012 | 5 Comments

It is difficult to exaggerate the importance of the global trade in coffee and tea. Among commodities, the $80+ billion international coffee market is sometimes said to trail only that of oil. Coffee is an essential source of revenue for many countries, with Burundi making more than half of its export earnings from the crop, even though it does not …

Japan to Encourage Deer Hunting and Venison Eating?

By Martin W. Lewis | June 18, 2012 | 4 Comments

The sika deer (Cervus nippon), once widespread across eastern Asia, has been eliminated from virtually its entire range. The animal is extinct in Korea and barely hangs on in China and far eastern Russia. In Japan, however, the deer population is exploding, resulting in major agricultural and forestry losses.

The Cherry Export Boom In Chilean Patagonia

By Martin W. Lewis | April 24, 2012 |

FreshPlaza—the global fresh produce news service—recently reported on the surge of cherry exports from Chilean Patagonia to Asia and Europe. The small town of Chile Chico (population 4,400) alone exported 270 tons of cherries this year.

Beer Consumption and Regional Trends in U.S. Alcohol Use

By Martin W. Lewis | August 19, 2010 |

Our third and final post on the geography of U.S. alcohol consumption begins with beer. The first map, from data provided by the Beer Institute, depicts per capita consumption in 2009. Montana, North Dakota, and New Hampshire come out on top, although in the case of New Hampshire the figure again reflects sales to

The Regional Convergence of Wine Drinking in the United States

By Martin W. Lewis | August 18, 2010 | 2 Comments

As we saw yesterday, regional disparities in alcohol consumption in the United States have diminished significantly in recent decades. But “alcoholic beverage” is a broad category, and in different parts of the country, people favor different drinks. Have beverage preferences converged as well? Today’s post examines wine consumption in the United States, again pairing

The Convergence of Drinking Habits in the United States, 1970-2007

By Martin W. Lewis | August 17, 2010 |

The United States has experienced a major rifting of its political landscape in recent decades as the Democratic Party has solidified its position in the Northeast and Pacific Coast, and the Republican Party has done the same in the Southeast, Great Plains, and much of the mountain West. Scholars debate the intensity of the

The Guinness Phenomenon in Nigeria and Cameroon

By Martin W. Lewis | August 6, 2010 | 4 Comments

Nigeria and Cameroon may have their differences, but they share a passion for Guinness Stout. Guinness ships out unfermented wort extract from Dublin, but the beverage sold in Africa is brewed on the continent, and has been for decades. While Guinness sells strongly throughout West Africa, it is wildly popular in Nigeria and Cameroon

Coke vs. Pepsi; Venezuela vs. Zulia

By Martin W. Lewis | February 5, 2010 | One Comment

Although Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has been able to secure relatively high levels of electoral support, his campaigns have faltered in the northwest. In the Andean highland zone, closely linked to neighboring Colombia, the states of Táchira and Mérida both voted “no” on Chavez’s constitutional referendum in 2009. Anti-Chavez sentiments also run strong in the

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