Featured Video: Food Fight

I love discovering the history of food and nutritional anthropolgy. I think it’s a great way to explore history and other cultures, especially with kids. I recently came across the video, Food Fight, a short film by Stefan Nadelman. I found myself completly engrossed (not to mention grossed-out). The film is an “abridged history of American-centric war, from World War II to present day, told through the foods of the countries in conflict … as traditional comestibles slug it out for world domination [through] chronologically re-enacted smorgasbord of aggression. (1)”

“Smorgagsbord of aggression” is a great way to describe the cinematography of the film. As I mentioned, I found myself engrossed as Nadelman recounted different American military conflicts, and at the same time I was taken aback by the hostilities, as represented by the decimation of food. Signs of a good film maker!

I don’t feel the film is appropriate for my 6-year old, but older students exploring World and American History might benefit from watching this short film (parents should screen first before allowing their children to watch to determine if age appropriate). Conflicts represented include World War II, the Arab-Israeli War, the Korean War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, Viet Nam, the Cold War, the Intifada, the Gulf War, 9/11, Afghanistan, and Gulf War II.

Can you guess which countries the following foods in the film represent?:

  • pretzel & bratwurst
  • matzah (matzoh, matzo)
  • croissant
  • fish ‘n’ chips
  • burger ‘n’ fries
  • sushi
  • beef stroganoff
  • kebabs (kebobs)
  • bagel (w/cream cheese & lox)
  • kimchi (kimchee)
  • dumpling & egg roll
  • Cuban sandwich
  • spring roll
  • falafel
  • chicken nuggets
  • fried chicken sandwich

I first watched the film without knowing which conflicts were being played out nor which countries each food group represented. Families might find it more useful from a home-study stand point to first review which country the food represents before viewing. A cheat sheet can be found HERE.


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