Broccoli, Anthropology, and the Humanities

July 17, 2020

Caitlin Patton discusses how the work of Ted Fischer, an anthropologist focused on food culture, specifically the cultivation of broccoli in Guatemala, inspired her choice to study at Vanderbilt University.

Fischer’s book, Broccoli and Desire, spotlights an anthropological case study of food culture: the surprising webs of connection between American consumer culture and the traditions of the indigenous Maya people of Guatemala. At first blush, broccoli may not have seemed like an intriguing reading topic, but the book’s methods and message ultimately shaped the course of Patton’s own scholarship.