What It Means to Be American
A National Conversation

Identities

The Chinese-Born Doctor Who Brought Tofu to America

Yamei Kin Was a Scientific Prodigy Who Promoted the Chinese Art of Living to U.S. Audiences

By Matthew Roth

On a hot summer day in 1918, syndicated reporter Sarah McDougal paid a visit to an unusual laboratory of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Bureau of Chemistry, a predecessor to the Food and Drug Administration, in its Romanesque Revival building near the piers of New York City’s Hudson River. The bureau usually worried itself with detecting adulterants in imports, but its role had expanded during wartime to investigate “meritorious substitutes” for foods made scarce by the trade disruptions and hungry …

Identities

What Our Gargantuan Appetite for Meat Says About America

It Symbolizes Affluence and Social Status, Showcases Regional Differences, and Reveals Shifting Attitudes Toward Health

By Wilson J. Warren

Americans have always been distinguished by their love of meat. Where does that love come from?

One short answer: our ethnic heritage. Among whites, the English and Germans were two of the greatest meat-eating cultures in Europe.

But that answer is about as satisfying as an overcooked steak. So there is a longer and tastier explanation: Americans’ relationship to meat production and consumption is long-standing, and built on core beliefs that meat is not only tasty but essential to good …