Prior to reading this book I had done a bit of research regarding food inequality and “food deserts” but this book provided me with so much new information, starting with the issue of the term food desert and new terms such as supermarket redlining. Supermarket redlining really caught my attention and I began thinking about it more and realized the fact that I have seen this without realizing. Another term replacement for food desert that came up was food apartheid which I also found very interesting. This term allowed for further analysis of the factors leading to food inequality including race, geography, faith and economics, therefore incorporating more of the regional cultural context. I also thought how the book opened was very interesting with the portion about Mr. Johnson and his garden being his way of having access to fresh produce due to the lack of other sources and opportunities he was able to find a different source but many are unable to and must take what is fast, easy, cheap, and convenient and mostly as a result, unhealthy.
During the Great Migration many African Americans moved to Washington DC and Deanwood more specifically for greater opportunities but as time went on Deanwood would become a center of food inequality at the hand of many influences, notably industrialization which I find interesting due to the debate we had in class a few weeks ago. The argument for the idea that America has a cuisine was that it is not necessarily the cuisine but the process, the industrial process of working-class individuals eating the convenient, American cuisine of fast food. The biggest takeaway is that individuals in these food apartheids are that they are not choosing to not go to the supermarket for healthy, fresh produce but they do not have the means for this, for a variety of reasons including transportation, funds, location proximity, and opportunity these are reflective of the systemic racism that America is built upon.
The historiography of this book is something I really enjoy looking at, the idea of using oral history to expand the narrative of history has always been something I have looked towards so I enjoyed that Reese used this form of history to allow for the expansion of this field.