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‘Culling Tea’ (c1869), attributed to Lai Fong (or Afong, Chinese, 1839-90). Courtesy The Met Museum, New York

Essay/
Economic history
Tea and capitalism

The China tea trade was a paradox: a global, intensified industry without the usual spectacle of factories and technology

Andrew Liu

Photo by Barbara Alper/Getty Images

Essay/
Food and drink
Homo gluttonous

Humans have evolved with little resistance to abundant, easy food. Will we gorge ourselves and our planet to death?

Louise Fabiani

Roping calves, Paradise Valley, Nevada, in 1979. Photo by Carl Fleischhauer/Library of Congress

Essay/
Animals and humans
American bull

The story of American beef is like the story of the nation as a whole: a mashup of history and myth, bloody and contested

Joshua Specht

Photo by Roberto Muñoz/Getty

Essay/
Family life
When breast isn’t best

New parents face intense moral pressure from every quarter to breastfeed their babies. But sometimes bottle is better

Laura Frances Callahan

Apricots by Arnout van Albada. Egg tempera and oil on panel. 2011.

Essay/
The environment
What are natural foods?

The glass of orange juice at the breakfast table tells a tale about what’s natural, what’s whole and what’s healthy for us

Joseph LaPorte

Wrapped Oranges (1889) by William J McCloskey. Courtesy Amon Carter Museum of American Art/Wikipedia

Essay/
History
The flavour revolutionary

Henry Theophilus Finck sought to transform the modern United States, by appealing to Americans’ tastebuds

Nadia Berenstein

Limousin sow, Dordogne de Neuvialle (two years old), and her piglet. Photo by Yann Arthus-Bertrand/Getty

Essay/
Bioethics
The pig on your plate

That pigs are smart and sensitive is not in doubt. How can we justify continuing to kill them for food?

Barbara J King