Letter from the Editors
The WAR issue
Our second issue, WAR, is here, exploring the gendered dimensions of food in times of conflict. With stories of ingenuity and resilience coming everywhere from Kashmir to occupied Paris in World War II, you won’t want to miss it.
War. A state of armed conflict between different countries or different groups within a country. It has reshaped nations, merged and split peoples, and changed the course of human history. Feminist Food Journal’s second issue, WAR, considers how gender and food intersect during times of conflict, when food is both a weapon and a lifeline and women fight not only on the front lines but also from kitchens, supermarkets, and the streets.
In wartime, looking at food is a window into broader societal dynamics, one that reveals how women are constrained not only by acute conflict but also by chronic oppression. It also illuminates how we fight back. The pieces in this issue explore and celebrate the resilience, ingenuity, and power of women and our food practices in conflicts both historical — the French Revolution, World War II — and contemporary — the Kashmir conflict, the occupation of Palestine, #EndSARS in Nigeria, and the global war on fatness. Through diverse perspectives and with vivid prose, our writers bring to life characters whose stories are often overlooked in times of war, despite the centrality of their actions to resistance and reconstruction. We’re proud to bring you:
Dying For Sardines: Gender and food politics in occupied Paris (audio) | Isabela Vera
House of Meat: In Bethlehem, the tomato tells of steadfast resistance | Rachel Hobley
When we started planning for this issue, we had no idea that for many people, war would suddenly be closer than ever. It’s a critical time for intersectional perspectives on gender, food, and conflict, as headlines from Ukraine on the struggles of trans and non-binary, non-white, pregnant, and elderly people have reminded us. Meanwhile, driven by the same war, a global food and cost-of-living crisis is unfurling — destined, like all crises, to punish women and people with marginalized identities most harshly. With this publication, we want to acknowledge the horror of the current moment in Ukraine while honouring the grim reality that many people in this world have lived in the shadow of war for some or all of their lives.
So where do we go from here? What we’re taking away most from this issue is the resiliency of the human spirit and the myriad ways in which food nourishes it. It may sound contrived, but during an editing season when reading the news brought much despair, researching the role of French communist women in undermining the Vichy regime by throwing sardine cans, how a housewife in Kashmir runs a groundbreaking women-only political club from her kitchen, or the ways in which actions as (seemingly) simple as choosing a tomato in occupied Palestine can constitute meaningful resistance, filled us with a cautious sense of hope. Even in the face of the most adverse circumstances, people have persisted, and although they shouldn’t have to — especially not so hard and for so long — they will do it again. And the centrality of food, materially and symbolically, means that it will continue to form the backbone of this persistence, embedded in our habits, meals, and domestic and political spaces.
We hope you enjoy the issue and that it lifts your spirits as it did ours. Please let us know on social media, in the comment thread below, or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) what you thought; we’d love to connect with you.
Finally, please consider supporting Feminist Food Journal if you can. Unlike our first issue, MILK, which was freely available in full, two pieces from this issue are behind a paywall. We run Feminist Food Journal as volunteers, and for now, this is fine. On volunteering, Cheryl Rivera, one of the editors of Lux, a magazine that we deeply admire, put it perfectly in her interview with Kerry Cardoza at Study Hall:
“I consider it a sort of world-building project. It’s necessary work.”
But we need to be able to pay our writers fairly. We increased our rates from USD100 to USD130 per article between our first and second issue, and we’d be grateful if you would consider supporting us to continue this upward climb — so if you haven’t yet become a paid subscriber, please consider doing so for as little as $3.75 per month. (If this is not possible for you but you’d still like to read the full issue, please reach out!)
With that, we’re now going to be (rather dramatically) switching tracks: pitches for our third issue, SEX, closed last week. We’re busy reading through all of the juicy ideas that have come our way and can’t wait to share what is sure to be a thoughtful, creative, hot, and horny third issue with you soon.