Columbia University Press is pleased to announce that Sera Young, a research scientist in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University, is the recipient of the prestigious Margaret Mead award for her book, Craving Earth: Understanding Pica–the Urge to Eat Clay, Starch, Ice, and Chalk.
This year, Young was selected as the winner for addressing a unique topic of pica which revolves around the consumption of atypical foods such as clay, chalk and ice and how this affects our bodies. Through Young’s multidisciplinary research, she discovered that eating such earthy foods transcends borders and cultures. In addition, these foods may aid the body in some respects of detoxification but also lead to problems such as anemia.
Apart from writing about pica, Young is currently researching the effects of food insecurity among HIV-infected families in sub-Saharan Africa. The Cornell Chronicle also highlights the significance of this award with respect to its namesake, Margaret Mead. “The award celebrates skills similar to those displayed by Margaret Mead, who had a talent for fine scholarship and for making anthropology accessible to a wider general audience.”