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Consumers are abandoned in a landscape of misinformation.
 Our ability to produce, purchase and consume healthy, sustainable food is hindered.

At Sliced, we are committed to delivering a sharp, reputable take on the issues that matter. We are a monthly publication that offers thought-provoking, evidence-based takes on the food industry. We explore food from all angles — it's production, marketing, and consumption — to empower healthy and ethical eating.
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Issue #4

Watermelon Issue
It’s remarkable the olive is so popular. If you pick one straight from the tree, it is barely edible. When people first began cultivating olive trees between 6000 and 8000 years ago, just one bite would have revealed the bitterest of fruits, rendered impossible to eat by oleuropein—an incredibly bitter compound that protects against invasive species and animals.

Many millennia later, long gone are the empires that started the trade in olive oil and planting olive trees en masse, and what remains is a global olive oil market that’s worth more than US$11.2 billion, and projected to reach nearly $14 billion by 2027. 

And yet, there’s much we still don’t properly understand. Our olive oil often isn’t what it claims to be, hollowed out by adulteration and fakes and by exporters relabelling another country’s oil as their own. The climate emergency and a fast-spreading disease threaten olive trees across the world. What we know and what we can expect of this symbol of purity, resilience and renewal is far from certain. 

As we grapple with the radical changes transforming our relationship with the olive, ingenious solutions and novel uses for it give plenty of reason for hope. Despite the most bitter of first contacts with humans thousands of years ago, the Olive thrived. Who’s to say it won’t survive the challenges of this century?

Why the Olive’s Enduring Symbolism is Facing its Greatest Challenge Yet

Samantha Maxwell
Few foods communicate as much meaning as the olive. It symbolizes peace and virtue, resilience and conciliation. The olive has been appropriated by the Gods and by religion, by leaders at war and politicians negotiating peace. The olive has deep cultural roots, yet what the olive means for us today is uncertain. Notions of renewal, resilience and purity are undergoing serious challenges from conflict, the climate emergency and adulteration (to name a few). Samantha Maxwell traces the symbolic history of this bitter fruit, and ponders how the forces of this century will shape the olive’s meaning. Are set to see a symbol reborn as new, or merely transformed by the conditions of our time? Read on to learn more.

Jalpai Olive: From Folk Remedy to Hipster Favourite

Snigdha Bansal from the India Story Agency
Jalpai—an Indian-native olive—is known by many names. It’s called Jalpai in Bangla, Veralu in Sinhala, Veralikkai in Tamil, and Indian Olive in English. Today, it’s also finding different forms. The plant is common in ayurvedic medicine, a 5,000-year-old alternative healing system in India, and research today is proving its medicinal properties, from curing dysentery and diarrhea to soothing gums and warding off evil spirits. It’s also finding its way into commercial kitchens, as a new generation of chefs explore fascinating ways to use this mysterious fruit. In this piece, Snigdha Bansal takes a look at the Jalpai’s trajectory from folk remedy to hipster favourite. Read on to find out more.

In TV and Literature, Fictional Olives Reveal the Complex Nature Of This Bitter Fruit

Jenny Duffy
From Olive Oyl to Olive Kitteridge, fictional olives have occupied a special place in the past century. They are often complex and contradictory characters, embodying in their traits the tastes and flavours of the fruit that gives them their name, and its ideals and symbolism in their actions. In fact, the relationship between their names and the olive reveals hidden depths to these complicated characters.

Fake Olive Oil: An Ancient Problem Meets Modern Solutions

Solange Berchemin
Olive oil is just the juice that’s extracted from olives, right? Well, at least it should be. Olive oil is often diluted—or worse, substituted—with other cheaper oils and sometimes lower grade olive oil. Racketeers rake in huge profits while chefs and consumers use an inferior product. But, while the problem is pervasive and widespread, new reasons for hope are emerging.

2000 Years of Imperial Marketing: How Italy Came to Rely on Spain’s Olives

Aina de Lapparent Álvarez
Once upon a time, the citizens of ancient Rome consumed 50 liters of oil per year per person—and most of it came from one region in Spain. Millennia on, and the imperial centre still relies on this part of the Iberian Peninsula for its olive oil supply, yet claims it as its own. This is how ancient trade routes laid the foundations for Italy’s prized food culture.

Issue #3

Watermelon Issue
The challenges of eating food in space today are unrecognizable compared to those we first faced. 
Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin ate the first meal in space in 1961—pureed meat in a toothpaste-style tube polished off with a tube of chocolate sauce for dessert. In 1969, NASA increased rations to 2,800 calories per day, but a lack of quality nutrients was still causing astronauts to lose weight. 

By 1973, NASA began recognizing how eating meals together benefits astronauts’ wellbeing, so installed a communal eating area. Footholds replaced chairs to enable them to congregate together. The Skylab program saw the first fridge sent to space. These simple additions improved the culinary experience for astronauts as much as continuing innovation. 

If Yuri Gagarin was locking into a foothold today before a meal, he’d have already spent days tasting and rating the menu prior to lift-off. He’d recognize many of his foods as those he’d eat on earth. And he might be wondering how all his food would last long enough. 

Lunar and martian missions of the next few decades will be far longer than previous interplanetary journeys. Food will need to survive for years without spoiling, resupply trips may take weeks and, whether in the ISS or on the red planet, astronauts will have to start learning to feed themselves—with food they’ve grown in-situ. 
Fuelling the greatest leaps of humankind is about to get seriously interesting.

Space Food Innovation Has Reached A Crux Point – What’s Next?

Elizabeth Howell
Eating in space is a complex task. With NASA planning to send humans to the moon this decade and to Mars next decade, the challenges of eating in space are only going to get harder. But after so much innovation already, where do we go from here? We found out how researchers and space agencies are gearing up for a new era of space food.

Growing a Martian Menu: Inside The Race To Feed Missions To Mars

Hannah Sargeant
As humans explore the possibilities of getting to Mars, one question is crucial: how are we going to eat there? From traveling to Mars to potentially colonizing the planet one day, feeding people on Mars will be an extremely complex task. We’d need to transport food further than ever before, and create a whole new system of agriculture suitable for the red planet.

Food Security: Can Food Grown In Space Solve Hunger On Earth?

Amir Aziz
Innovations in space food technology don’t just aid space missions, but they could help remedy food security issues here on earth, too. Surely, if we can learn to grow food in space, we can learn to grow food in some of the most inhospitable environments on earth? While there could be some serious spin-offs, getting them to work on earth may be a different story.

Preventing Scurvy And Piling On The Calories: How To Feed Astronauts In Space

Sarah Starr
Environmental changes can have drastic effects on the nutrients we need. That’s particularly true for space, where radiation, temperature, and atmospheric pressures act on our metabolism and change astronauts’ nutritional needs. Drawing on the expertise of doctor and citizen astronaut Dr. Shawn Pandya, Sarah Starr reveals what astronauts need to eat in space, and how missions ensure that astronauts are fed properly.

(Powdered) Eggs and Bacon (Cubes)

Jonathan Shipley
Most people know the classic orange drink TANG, but few know it powers our astronauts while they’re in space. TANG is a favorite amongst crew members on the International Space Station. NASA devotes a lot of its research to food and feeding its astronauts, developing and supporting menus, research, packaging, food, and more for the ISS. We take a look at what they’re working on now.

Issue #2

Watermelon Issue
Early archaeological evidence suggests Homo Erectus first mastered the controlled use of fire nearly two million years ago. Fire scared off predators and enabled our early ancestors to come down from the trees. They began socializing around fires and cooking food. 

Fire made us human. Our brains expanded as cooking enabled us to derive more energy from food. Our intellectual abilities thrived as tending fires and performing rituals forced us to learn how to plan, cooperate and possibly even speak.

We may owe our contemporary existence to the flame, but our relationship with fire is radically different from how it began. Rare are those people in modern developed countries who rely on fire to live. We cook by gas, electricity, and even induction. 

But fire’s relationship with food today is far more complex than summer-time campfires with s’mores, or drinking warm beers and eating burgers around a barbecue. 

The meat industry’s fires are destroying the Amazon. The escalating climate crisis is forcing indigenous farmers to ditch their traditional use of fire, while increasingly frequent wildfires threaten everything from crops to oysters. Fires regularly break out in meat processing plants, but few people take notice.  

It is therefore only right to interrogate the place of fire in our food lives today. It is our past and the making of us, but fire today also suggests a very different future.

Fire Up The Oyster Roast

Jessica Farthing
Outdoor oyster roasts are a coastal classic, but the climate crisis now threatens their habitats and the industry. Recent wildfires have decimated oyster farms, polluted rivers, and destroyed vital equipment. Oysters and oyster reefs could play a vital role in mitigating various effects of the climate crisis, as long as they can survive it. We look at how two very different kinds of fire suggest two very different futures for the oyster.

Eucalyptus’s Uncertain Future

Amanda Smith
Eucalyptus is well loved for its relaxing aromas, medicinal properties, and for providing a home and food to koalas. But few people know that this native Australian plant needs fire in order to reproduce—eucalyptus requires the heat of wildfires to release its seeds. Eucalyptus accelerates the very bushfires and wildfires that have ravaged Australia, so what kind of future can it have? We take a look.

The Meat Factory Is On Fire – Again

Dan Morrison
While the meat industry’s fires in the Amazon burn, another type of blaze rages unnoticed. In meat factories and processing plants across North America, fires keep breaking out. Yet despite a strong network of experts and advocates for working conditions in the meat industry, nobody can say what’s going on.

Slash And Burn: Learning To Farm Sustainably After Indonesia’s Wildfires

Sydney Allen
Slash and burn farming is used by hundreds of millions of farmers every year to manage land, and that’s no different for Indonesia’s indigenous farmers. But as wildfires become destructive and widespread in the country, the practice is coming under greater scrutiny—even if big corporate farmers have greater responsibility for the fires. Now, indigenous farmers are leading the change, turning to more sustainable methods suitable for the climate crisis.

The Freedom of Cooking with Fire

Natalie Dunning
Everyone behaves a bit differently when cooking and eating around fire. Reluctant home cooks become ‘expert’ chefs over a barbecue. We drink and eat more, excitedly egged on by the novelty of doing it all around flames. So, why do we transform around fire? It’s all down to evolution and culture.

Issue #1

Watermelon Issue
There are endless questions to ask about food and the complex journey it takes to reach our plates. From farmers and fast food chains to politics and technology, we need to step aside from common conversations about food, and break down barriers few of us know exist. What are the systems trying to feed us, and how do they work? 

Here at Sliced, we’re so excited to begin with our Watermelon issue. Few foods spark so much joy as the first watermelon in summer. Yet, beyond occasionally worrying about genetic manipulation, we rarely say anything more about it than how much we love this fruit—and possibly moan about the seeds. But, as you’ll see flicking through our metaphorical pages, the watermelon is as contested as any other food. Its history is complex and its future is up for grabs. 

After emancipation, recently freed black people often farmed, ate and sold watermelons in the U.S. South. The fruit had been a central part of their lives during slavery, and remained important in the new social order. But selling watermelons gave them more power, which southern whites saw as challenging the racial hierarchy. In quicktime they transformed the watermelon into a symbol to depict black people as messy and lazy. It became a racist trope which reinforced violent notions that black people were an ‘unwanted public presence’.

This idea exploded in cartoons and media, but depressingly still endures to this day. Not too long ago, the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in a previous profession as a columnist, referred to black people in Africa as having ‘watermelon smiles’. In 2014, Jacqueline Woodson described the pain of having her dislike of watermelon soup turned back on her as a racist joke by a friend on stage at an awards show. 

The examples are endless, proving food is as powerful a symbol as any other, and that we need to discuss food in more detail. This is as true for issues in sustainability, agriculture, innovation, nutrition, taste and more, as it is for a food’s place in our culture and history. 

Sliced is here to facilitate such conversations. Interrogating and reimagining food seriously will enable us to value it properly once again; to drive change and innovation, and to use food as a positive force for more sustainable societies. 

In this first issue, stories about the watermelon’s dangerous history, its place in popular culture and why we overstate its nutritional benefits will help us to understand the ways we think about this food. Articles about the future of watermelon production and the forces shaping watermelon taste give us ample jumping off points to consider the watermelon’s future.

We’re excited to get started.

Watermelon Sugar: Reimagining Agency, Consent and Our Future

Kate Raphael
The watermelon evokes the essence of summer, and it has exploded as a symbol in pop culture. From brands that endorse its revitalizing qualities to Beyonce’s Drunk In Love, it’s captured our imagination. But Harry Styles has taken this to another level with his summer hit, Watermelon Sugar. Read on to learn how he deploys the watermelon as a powerful symbol for consent and sexual agency.

Dangerous History of the Watermelon

James Folta
Despite its light, refreshing appeal, the Watermelon has a dark, dangerous history. The Watermelon has started riots and caused international squabbles. Some are so prized that people have risked death just to get their hands on one. In 2011, Watermelons started combusting in China, and throughout the world watermelons are caught up at the weirdest crime scenes. This is the watermelon’s untold story.

Inside the Rind

Nikita Ephanov
Many cultures far and wide ascribe all kinds of cleansing, healing qualities to the watermelon. Some even claim it as an aphrodisiac. But amidst the superstitions and myths, it’s unclear how nutritious the watermelon really is. How healthy is the watermelon, and why do we often overstate its benefits?

The Future of the Watermelon

Lydia Carey
The watermelon has been coddled. As the climate crisis gets worse, the watermelon faces a struggle to survive in extreme conditions. But innovative approaches to genome mapping and farming could give the watermelon a fighting chance of thriving in these conditions. This is a report from the frontlines of the watermelon’s future.

Tastes Like Capitalism

Kate Raphael
Watermelon-flavoured drinks and sweets don’t taste much like the real thing. But the natural flavour is actually much like the artificial: the juiciest and most potent taste that can be created for the right price. We take a look at the economic forces that shaped the watermelon’s flavour, and why no watermelon flavour is really ‘natural’.
Explore Issues by Sliced
Booze, The Pig, The Orange and The Egg
April, 2018
The Shellfish Issue
Shellfish: They are ugly, lack charisma, and are rarely awe-inspiring.

Yet shellfish are also live signals that indicate larger trends within aquatic ecosystems and within our land-based culture. Trends such as animal welfare and the increasingly problematic or discriminatory nature of sustainable eating.

In this edition, shellfish also expose the battle between nature and science. As science takes ground on a timeless fatal illness, nature - dressed as an invasive alien species - continues to conquer territories across North America.

Yes, Shellfish are either plain or beastly but that does not mean they are basic, boring, or insignificant.
Holding On By A Thread
Eric Kukulowicz
Trippin on Acid
Mirjam Guesgen
March, 2018
The Chocolate Issue
Chocolate is more than food.

To the Aztec people, the cacao bean was a gift of Quetzalcoatl, the God of wisdom. They believed it offered aphrodisiac powers.

Nearly 8,000 years later, the cacao bean's sugary ancestor, chocolate, still holds significance. This product is not simply consumed, it communicates love and, at this time of year, symbolizes the generous gifts of an elusive Easter bunny.  

Through examining chocolate from multiple angles, a fact becomes clear.  The Aztec’s regard for the cacao bean teaches us of their religious views and social concerns. So too, time spent reading about today's chocolate production, marketing, and consumption also exposes some truths about our 21st Century civilization.
Pablo Escobar's Chocolate Factory
Chris Hergesheimer
1 Astounding Reason You Shouldn't Trust Clickbait Headlines on Chocolate!
Graeme Carey
March, 2018
The Chocolate Issue
Chocolate is more than food.

To the Aztec people, the cacao bean was a gift of Quetzalcoatl, the God of wisdom. They believed it offered aphrodisiac powers.

Nearly 8,000 years later, the cacao bean's sugary ancestor, chocolate, still holds significance. This product is not simply consumed, it communicates love and, at this time of year, symbolizes the generous gifts of an elusive Easter bunny.  

Through examining chocolate from multiple angles, a fact becomes clear.  The Aztec’s regard for the cacao bean teaches us of their religious views and social concerns. So too, time spent reading about today's chocolate production, marketing, and consumption also exposes some truths about our 21st Century civilization.
Pablo Escobar's Chocolate Factory
Chris Hergesheimer
1 Astounding Reason You Shouldn't Trust Clickbait Headlines on Chocolate!
Graeme Carey
February, 2018
The Booze Issue
Booze.  Hooch. Spirit. Liquid Courage. Poison.

Alcohol has many names. Which is fitting, considering its status in western culture. It is everywhere - playing a huge role in our economy, government policy, and our individual weekend activities. It is a character unto itself in films and TV shows and has a uniquely complex relationship with religion.

Unlike orange juice, kale or Oreos, Alcohol is perceived as more than just food. More than just a beverage. Yet, due to this perception, we forget to talk about alcohol as food.

Through articles that dissect the marketing of booze, the health effects of drinking and alcohol's immunity to the green movement, we ponder this dissonance. We remind ourselves that, in addition to its many names, alcohol has another descriptor: a  product for consumption.
Alcohol: An Environmental Toxin
Tyler Adam
Branded Booze vs. Taste Buds: Why Consumers Lose
Kathryn Helmore
January, 2018
The Pig Issue
A creature of intelligence, a slanderous phrase for gluttons and the police, a beloved construct in literature, and the essential element in a western breakfast, The Pig is always on the menu of conversation.

In this issue, we explore a few topics inspired by the quintessential farmyard animal, ranging from animal rights & pig hunting to the carcinogenic properties of deli ham. Always a source of inspiration, through diving into the pork industry we explore manipulative marketing and ask a question: what does 'tasty' actually mean and where does taste come from?
Taming Our Taste Buds with Pig Feet & Crickets
Courtney Pankrat
Pigs, Video Games, & Slaughter Houses Find Common Ground
Mirjam Guesgen
January, 2018
The Pig Issue
A creature of intelligence, a slanderous phrase for gluttons and the police, a beloved construct in literature, and the essential element in a western breakfast, The Pig is always on the menu of conversation.

In this issue, we explore a few topics inspired by the quintessential farmyard animal, ranging from animal rights & pig hunting to the carcinogenic properties of deli ham. Always a source of inspiration, through diving into the pork industry we explore manipulative marketing and ask a question: what does 'tasty' actually mean and where does taste come from?
Taming Our Taste Buds with Pig Feet & Crickets
Courtney Pankrat
Pigs, Video Games, & Slaughter Houses Find Common Ground
Mirjam Guesgen
December, 2017
The Orange
Facing assaults from The Market, formidable mother nature and fickle humanity, the Orange, once an entrenched staple of the western diet, is becoming a fruit from a bygone time.

From the downfall of the Tropicana and Minute Maid empire, to the rise of fallacious and frankly dangerous thinking, in this Sliced edition we come at the Orange from every angle. From analyzing the looming threat of a bacterial disease to critiquing the prioritization of real estate over Orange County, the edition asks two questions: Are we looking at a future without oranges? If so, why?
100% Pure, Natural and Wrong
Kathryn Helmore
Citrus Apocalypse?
Karla Lant
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