food·scape (noun): 1. The aspect of gastronomy characteristic of a particular place. 2. The art of depicting natural scenery using food as a medium.

In a May 20 post on its food blog, Grub Street, New York magazine reported on the type of concessions envisioned at the upcoming Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn:

When the basketball arena opens on the Atlantic Yards site in 2010(ish), Nets fans can expect a mythic Brooklyn foodscape. "There will be counters and stands with knishes, pizza, hot dogs, egg creams, cheesecake — the goal is really to provide a distinct Brooklyn flavor,"

Foodscape is frequently used in academic discourse on food, culture, and society. In the anthology Food and Culture: A Reader, Gisele Yasmeen writes in a chapter entitled "'Plastic-bag Housewives' and Postmodern Restaurants?: Public and Private in Bangkok's Foodscape,":

I have proposed the term "foodscape" to emphasize the spatialization of foodways and the interconnections between people, food, and places. "Foodscape," drawn from "landscape," is a term used to describe a process of viewing place in which food is used as a lens to bring into focus selected human relations.

New York Times reporter Kim Severson recently noted the emerging use of a variation on foodscape -- placeless foodscape -- in the food lexicon: "Latest addition to food activist-speak: 'placeless foodscape.' That means most of America's groceries and restaurants, apparently."

The phrase has been used by academics to describe places where food systems are not grounded in the local culture. Roberta Sonnin writes in the Anthropology of Food 

The concept of embeddedness, borrowed from economic sociology, is widely used to characterize these two different types of food systems: at one end, there is the dis-embedded globalized food system, the ‘placeless foodscape’ (Ilbery and Kneafsey, 2000: 319) of countries such as the UK and the US; at the other end, there are the more embedded, localized food systems of countries such as France and Italy, where food products appear to be forever rooted in a particular place.

Foodscapes are also found in the world of art.

Pictured above is a foodscape by the the photographer Carl Warner, who assembles extremely detailed landscapes created out of food. The Telegraph collected 14 of Warner's images in this gallery of foodscapes.

Warner was preceded by Icelandic artist Erro (Gudmundur Gudmundsson), who in 1974 created Foodscape (below), an oil painting filled chockablock with foodstuffs.




This one seems to have plenty of Google hits. Fine research on it, too.

There are plenty of "-scape" words. I remember watching a sci-fi tv show called "Farscape."

Looks like a keeper!


Greetings Josh and thanks for quoting my work!

I first published an article using the concept of foodscape back in 1992 in the Journal of Social Research (a publication of Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok). At the time, I could not find any other references to foodscape in scholarly literature so I fancied myself - back then - as one of the originators of the concept. I've published several articles and a couple of books on this stuff (one entitled Bangkok's Foodscape published by White Lotus in 2006 and another entitled Feeding Asian Cities published by the FAO. I would be pleased to receive comments from food section readers...


Gisèle Yasmeen


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