Why Indestructible Food?

We’re looking at history, community, and nonperishable fare.

All food has permanence. But nonperishable food has a different kind of lasting power. This is food that is engineered to persist. On shelves, and in pantries, but also in memory. This project looks at how these foods spread, and why they become traditions.

Look, I know it’s popular to disparage packaged foods. Too much sodium! Too many calories! High fructose corn syrup! Point taken. I’m not here to advocate for any particular dietary choices. But you have to admit that Jiffy Pop is an activity as much as it is a food. And when’s the last time you made Vienna Sausages from scratch, anyway? These foods have their place.

Indestructible Foods sit at the crossroads of nutrition, science, advertising, and flavor. Which is a neat place to be. For this series, I draw shelf-stable food, research it, and write about it. Then I put everything here, in the hope that someone else is as entertained as I am.

(A note: If you comment [and I hope you do!] please be respectful of food preferences and traditions that are different from your own. Avoid blanket dismissals of a foodstuff in your comments. “Spam is not my thing.” is cool. “Spam is disgusting!” is not. Everyone should feel comfortable sharing their food stories. There is no shame in your food game.)