Why We're Serving Up Summer Recipes with a Side of Food Politics

By: Jessie Price, EatingWell Editor-in-Chief

At EatingWell, we've been publishing delicious food stories—and food politics—since day one. And that's not going to change.

two farmers in a field with bison

Can you take a little dose of food politics with your ­EatingWell magazine? I ask, because I recently got a letter from a reader scolding me to "just give me the recipes, lady!" I promise you (and that reader) that our new July/August issue—and our website—is chock-full of delicious recipes and ideas for summer parties. I tasted all of our new recipes when they were cooked in our Test Kitchen. My favorite item: the corn & fennel chow chow from chef Vivian Howard's pickling party. I'm about to finish my second quart-size mason jar of the stuff. I've had it on a tuna salad wrap, over cheese grits, with eggs, on a hot dog. What is it not good on? And there's plenty more besides that—so if it's recipes you're after, you're set.

But I want to go back to the politics for a sec. Here's the deal: part of why I believe deeply in EatingWell is that we tell the ­stories behind our food, explain how it's produced, and hopefully help you better understand complex issues ranging from GMOs and food additives to animal welfare and farmworker justice. I recently looked through stacks of EatingWell from 25-plus years ago, when we first started. The issues had articles on topics like pesticides on produce, better ways to farm fish, and organic label­ing. In other words, not only do we inject our pages with food politics today, but we've been doing it since day one.

corn and fennel chow chow

Pictured Recipe: Corn & Fennel Chow Chow

So while I'm excited for you to try the recipes in this issue, I'm not going to shy away from pointing you to our second ­annual list of American Food Heroes, written by our features editor, Shaun Dreisbach. It includes 12 people, each of whom is working on challenges facing our food system. There's a congresswoman who's worked tirelessly on the farm bill. There's an ag expert from The Nature Conservancy, leading a program to restore nutrients and improve soil health on at least half of all row-crop acreage in the U.S. over the next several years. There's an innovator who's built the largest indoor farm in the world in Newark, New Jersey, and the CEO of a multinational packaged-goods company who made the list because he not only pledged his company would end packaging waste by 2025, he also compelled his cohorts from McDonald's, Mars and more to commit to the same promise.

The list goes on. But I don't want to give it all away. Read it for yourself, then email me to let me know whether you give it a thumbs-up or -down. Me, personally? I love these stories. They inform me, inspire me and make me hopeful. But I totally get it if you tell me, "Just give me the recipes, lady." That's fair. May I recommend starting with the chow chow?

–Jessie | Instagram | Twitter | Email