The Conversation

Readers Respond to the June Issue

Something to Crow About 
Comments about our cover story, “How the Chicken Conquered the World,” reigned over our mailbox. Among the detractors was Karen Davis of Machipongo, Virginia, who is involved in rescuing chickens: “Given that poultry is a common cause of food-borne illness in consumer households, reflecting the conditions of industrial poultry production, and given that no one needs to eat the flesh of chickens or any animal in order to be healthy, the triumphalist tone of this article is unsettling.” But Christina Cassidy of Gainesville, Florida, said the article was worth sharing: “I told my 12 hens about it. They were very proud.” Timothy Archibald’s photographs accompanying the story struck Jennifer Skelton of Sparks, Nevada, as in poor taste. “I will never be able to eat chicken again without thinking of those poor headless, featherless birds in people clothing,” she wrote. On Facebook, some said the pictures were “very bizarre” and “disturbing”; to those readers Rebecca Wilson said, “I was entertained by the article. Lighten up, people!”

Mama’s Gumbo
Lolis Eric Elie is a Southerner after my own heart [“The Unified Theory of Gumbo”], and we’ll enjoy Mrs. Elie’s gumbo recipe soon. Both okra and filé powder? I’ve always used one or the other, but on expert advice I’m willing to try both.
Jack Vines
Spokane, Washington

It always amuses me when I go out of the South Louisiana region and see gumbo on a menu. In a sort of sadistic way, I make a point to order it, to see if it measures up. It never does and I in­evitably refer to what I call true gumbo made by my mama. We here in South Louisiana are proud of many things that are unique to us: our gumbos, our cooking styles and of course our rich traditions. Claiming my mama’s gumbo as the best is a tradition I hold proudly.
Online Comment

Accounting For Taste
I am just an old farm boy who has been around food production all my life. I would not qualify as a “foodie,” as my likes are not numerous and my preferences are centered around grits, fried chicken, corn bread, pies (any kind) and corn chowder. It was a great issue and one of the few that I have read from front to back.
Jim Brown
Columbia, Missouri

Devil’s Food
I just don’t think we have any chance of saving ourselves from a health crisis by making tiny, incremental changes [“Can Technology Save Breakfast?”]. These companies aren’t trying to bring change, they are instituting stalling tactics. A newly published study on U.S. teens by the Centers for Disease Control showed that 23 in every 100 were pre-diabetic or diabetic. Spikes in blood sugar are poisonous whether they come from orange juice, toast or dry cereal.
Deanne Roberts
Victoria, British Columbia

Perfect Pairing
Thank you, Ruth Rei­chl, for a lovely article about my hero, Julia Child [“Sur la Table”]. You gave us a peek inside the marriage of two artistic and immensely talented people, and it was a pleasure.
Randi O’Brien
Online Comment

I met the Childs at a book signing over 30 years ago. They were charming. It was slow, so I was able to tell them about a disaster I had with one of her recipes. They laughed heartily, and Julia told me what I had probably done wrong. Paul said, “And never make it in anger!”
Sarah Nealis
Williamson, Georgia

On Twitter
@brentdanleyI’ve discovered a new science hero: Alfred Wegener [“When the Earth Moved”], a tough, brave iconoclast and original thinker.

@MamaPyperExcited to the 10th power over the Museum of Mathematics [“Do the Math”].

@SudhaKanagoA beautiful story of a beautiful marriage [“Sur la Table”].

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On Facebook
With all the trillions of dollars that circulate the country, the shelter programs, recovery services and churches..., why are there still homeless people [“A Roof of One’s Own”]?
Bristol Eastwood

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