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For millennia, gastronomy has concerned itself with the deceptively simple question of how best to eat and live. This article proposes gastronomy as a fertile discourse, practice, and site of scholarly inquiry for thinking about the social and sensual pleasures of eating and living well across species difference. Based on ethnographic fieldwork with a cheesemaker in southern Australia, this article asks what it means to take seriously goats as gastronomic subjects and to consider what a ruminant gastronomy might look like within the web of creaturely relations that make cheese possible. The article highlights the cultivation of practices of attentiveness, focusing on the use of Obsalim, a system for managing ruminant health by interpreting the “language of the rumen.” Thinking about and responding to the rumen’s microbial communities offers productive possibilities for understanding how goats bring their evaluations to bear on the quality of their nourishment. This counternarrative to Western gastronomy’s humanist orientations proposes a re-imagination of the multi-species liveliness on which the practices and politics of eating well depend.
Environmental Humanities – Duke University Press
Published: Jul 1, 2022
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