For more than four decades, a strange story has circulated both inside and outside of the academy concerning a 1970s experiment in which foods dyed strange colors were served under “special” lighting that made them appear normal. When the true colors of the meal were revealed, the experimental subjects became agitated and ill. This article explores the origins of the story and its proliferation in prominent newspapers, magazines, and peer-reviewed journals, and speculates as to the nature of its appeal and endurance.
“Blue Steak, Red Peas”: Science, Marketing, and the Making of a Culinary Myth
Joel Harold Tannenbaum is Assistant Professor of History at Community College of Philadelphia, where he teaches courses in Food History and the History of Capitalism and lectures in the college's Honors program. His previous work on the history of paid organ donation has been published in Configurations. He obtained his PhD in History from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa in 2013.
Joel Harold Tannenbaum; “Blue Steak, Red Peas”: Science, Marketing, and the Making of a Culinary Myth. Gastronomica 1 May 2020; 20 (2): 30–36. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/gfc.2020.20.2.30
Download citation file: