Follow this link to learn more, sign up, and attend this webinar online.
Follow this link to learn more, sign up, and attend this webinar online.
Follow this link to learn more, sign up, and attend this webinar online.
By: Susan Brassard
This spring 2013 semester, the Gastronomy Program is offering a seminar course focusing on the agricultural history of America, taught by Professor Sarah Phillips. The format of the course is built around several core readings that take an in-depth, historical look into the agricultural heritage within settlements in the American Northeast, Midwest, and South. The broad relevance of the course gives it appeal not only students of the gastronomy program, but also those majoring in history, policy, and the environment. The diversity of students promotes a wide range of discussion during weekly course gatherings.
The opening reading for this course was Brian Donahue’s The Great Meadow: Farmers and the Land in Colonial Concord. The book offers an interesting look into the growth of agriculture and subsequent development of the land in Massachusetts. Readings expand from Concord’s wheat production to the tobacco fields of Virginia, from meat and grain industrialization in Chicago, to the cotton complex of the Mississippi Delta. Through readings and discussions, the course explores many interrelated themes including industrialization, expansion, crop selection, human labor, commodities, and government policy.
Students with an interest in current trends of organic foods, “green” business, and back-to-basics farming methods will thrive in this course. Deborah Fitzgerald’s Every Farm a Factory: The Industrial Ideal in American Agriculture describes how the American farm evolved into the industrial apparatus that we are ambivalently familiar with today. This text also reveals how small independent farms became susceptible to excessive financial risk through increased dependence on modern agricultural technology.
Whether you are interested specifically in agriculture, or more generally in food systems, US history, policy, or sociology, ML713 Agricultural History offers an excellent opportunity for a range of students to explore the interconnection of these topics. I’m looking forward to the remaining discussions of course topics as well as the prospect of delving into my final research assignment.
Susan Brassard is a first year MLA Gastronomy student, culinary arts and business instructor at Salter College in West Boylston, and the owner of The Violet Rose Cakes, Catering & Pastries (www.facebook.com/thevioletrosecakes).
by Caitlin Vanderbilt
I moved to Boston’s North End two and a half years ago, having just returned from a year living with a host family in Florence. I immediately loved the neighborhood because it felt a little like being back in Italy. So when I was choosing a paper topic for Dr. Carole Counihan’s food ethnography class, I knew I wanted to research food in the North End. While doing my research, I conducted interviews with six North End residents, attended neighborhood meetings, and did participant observation in local cafes and stores with the goal of understanding how residents interact with food and food institutions (restaurants/cafés/stores) in their neighborhood.
The demographics of the North End have changed dramatically in the last 100 years. Once a 100% Italian neighborhood, it is now only about one third Italian. There are just over 10,000 residents in the 0.21 square miles of the North End, and in that same space there are 91 pouring liquor licenses, 10 retail liquor licenses, and roughly 120 restaurants (almost all are Italian).
The fact that there are 120 restaurants in the North End shows how much the Italian community and identity is tied to food. While these Italian restaurants are the public face of the North End, every resident I spoke with also talked about the Italian food they eat at home. These homemade meals are often connected to Sunday family dinners, or the Italian feasts, and seek to reclaim or maintain an Italian identity. In his interview, Vincent Ciampa*, a 20 year resident of the North End, said, “People come to the North End because it’s Italian. They want to experience Italianness.” Steven Russo*, a 17 year resident of the North End, explained that people come to the North End to, “celebrate Italian culture.” Those seem to be the reasons that people stay, too. Despite current trends, Italian and non-Italian residents alike are working to preserve the small urban community that the North End is known for.
Boston’s Italian community no only manifests itself in the religious festivals and the popular restaurants on Hanover Street, but also in its informal cafés. During our interview, Bobby Eustace at Polcari’s Coffee (est. 1932) called his shop one of the “hearts of the North End”. My interest is this idea of “hearts” led me to ask every participant where they went for pizza and coffee in the North End, and their answers were nearly unanimous. The choice for pizza was Galleria Umberto, a small shop that is open Monday-Saturday from 11am to whenever they run out of pizza… “When the last slice goes, the doors close.” And Caffe Paradiso was the choice for morning coffee. Most people sit or stand at the bar and chat with their neighbors, occasionally in Italian. While Caffe Paradiso hosts the morning crowd, Caffe dello Sport is the place to be at night.
There is some tension between longtime residents and newer neighbors as well as restaurants goers, but every person I spoke with believed the North End is still an Italian neighborhood. My research revealed that Italian identity and community are complex concepts, changing depending on the time, place and situation. It also explained why you’ll find locals having a slice of pizza at Galleria Umberto right at opening time.
*Pseudonyms used to protect participants’ privacy, except for Bobby Eustace at Polcari’s Coffee.
Caitlin is a first-year MLA candidate interested in Italian food and culture. To read her full research paper, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Annu Ross
I have taken night classes before the Gastronomy program– four-hour night classes – and I had always just brought a protein bar or a large cup of coffee. But oh how that sad Luna Bar pales in comparison to real food – delicious, thoughtful, real food. Remembering myself sitting in the dark during a film class squirreling away a snack of pure function, makes snack times in my Gastronomy classes a glittery, magical, happy place.
For those of you who don’t know, many Gastronomy classes run from 6-9 p.m. on weekdays and feature a communally-shared snack during the mid-class break. Students and professors share the responsibility for providing the snack throughout the semester, so that at each class meeting one to three people will bring food for everyone else. In a program focused on food, this seems especially pertinent and necessary as the students spend three hours a night discussing food and all its attendant social, cultural, economic and political implications.
It was for these reasons I decided to explore the meanings and functions of snack time for students and professors in the Gastronomy program. I focused my study on the snack times in the two courses I took in Fall 2012: Anthropology of Food, taught by Visiting Professor Carole M. Counihan, Ph.D., and Experiencing Food Through the Senses, taught by Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Gastronomy at MET College Rachel E. Black, Ph.D. The study resulted in my final paper for Anthropology.
Snack time is a unique food event, sort of like a potluck, only a potluck that happens in increments of 10-15 minutes per week over a period of several months. Beyond sustenance (an essential function of the snack and the ultimate reason for its existence), sharing food and the social bonds it creates are at the center of snack time. Giving and receiving food is a form of gift exchange. Sociologist Marcel Mauss conjectured that the practice of gift exchange morally and spiritually binds participants together and implicates them in a cycle of reciprocal generosity; meaning to receive a gift is to be required to return the generosity at a later time. The exchange of food gifts through snack time forms a community within the classroom that depends on reciprocal generosity.
This being a food studies program, food is a regular object of intellectual as well as physical consumption. Hot topics of discussion in Gastronomy courses include: authenticity and cuisine; food policy, history and justice; the state of food and health in the U.S.; how food is tied to identity, memory and meaning; food systems (production, distribution, consumption and waste); and how food plays into class, race and gender hierarchies. As the students and professors contemplate the many meanings and functions of food in society and culture, the classroom snack time is a microcosm of what is being studied in the coursework (which, in all honesty, made it challenging for me to hone my findings down to a surmountable paper).
With all these weighty topics swimming around in students’ heads, it’s no wonder many students expressed some anxiety around sharing food with “a room full of foodies.” It seems this anxiety was centered mostly on acceptance. Reception by one’s peers was important to the participants and it was not just for fear of the discriminating “foodie.” There is a sense of vulnerability in the people who bring snack – that they are putting themselves out there to be judged and they hope to be accepted and given the stamp of approval.
Despite some anxious awareness around distinction and acceptance, the environment of snack time is affable, social and informal. All of the aforementioned social, cultural, economic and political factors are at play within snack time and there is no doubt that most participants are (anxiously or otherwise) aware of these factors in deciding what to bring for snack, monitoring their behavior during the experience, and observing their peers’ behavior. But it is my view, in particular in the two classes which I studied this semester, that the participants in snack time are focused, above all else, on creating and maintaining an agreeable, informal and egalitarian environment during snack and in the class.
Breaking bread with one’s peers corporeally binds us together and serves as a catalyst for interaction and the development of relationships, creating a rare space that melds the intellectual, physical and emotional.
Annu Ross’s favorite snack is cheese, honey and crusty bread. She just completed the Gastronomy program and relocated to Columbia, South Carolina. You can reach her at email@example.com.
by Korakot ‘Gab’ Suriya-arporn
“Five minutes! Food must be up front!” yells the male chef. A collective “Yes, Chef!” quickly follows, and students dressed in their chef’s whites hurry to bring heated dishes to the plating space, quickly sauté Brussels sprouts with crispy bacon, ladle the butternut squash soup into bowls, toss the mesclun greens with mustard vinaigrette, and reheat the perfectly seared rib-eye steak. With swift, decidedly meaningful, and efficient movements, plates are soon presented at the pass station. In contrast to the previous adrenalin rush, this is a moment of happiness, peace, and calm. All the food comes out beautifully and on time. This is another course nicely done.
As part of the Certificate Program in the Culinary Arts, the fascination of kitchen work is fully explored in the 14-week Culinary Arts Laboratory course. Students of various backgrounds come into the kitchen four days a week to learn about cooking techniques and gastronomic quirks— a great combination of lecture and hands-on learning. Daily lessons start with the foundations of preparing and cooking food, such as making stocks and butchering meat to different types of cooking methods and presentation.
All sensory tools are put to great use as we learn to watch, smell, hear, taste, and touch ingredients and dishes from a wide range of cuisines and cultures. Sensory knowledge is the most fundamental and perhaps crucial approach to food, as we feel the doneness of the grilled beef with our fingers, listen as the celery seeds pop in the heated pan, smell the fragrance of freshly chopped basil leaves, watch the sugar as it turns into amber-colored caramel, and taste the delicate texture of chocolate ganache and the crunchiness of hazelnut dacquoise. In addition, we learn to not only create delicious and aesthetically pleasing food, but a whole new perspective to see food that also promotes sustainability and self-sufficiency in the food system.
As part of the course, we learned from a number of renowned chefs from restaurants throughout the Boston area and beyond. Some — like Chef Jeremy Sewall from Island Creek Oyster Bar and Chef Chris Douglass from Ashmont Grill and Tavoloof — even arrange for students to visit their restaurants and learn to work in a professional kitchen. The connections made by meeting and getting to know these chefs are invaluable for those who want to submerge themselves in the Boston foodscape.
The course calendar is also marked with special events in which students participate. The biggest events last semester — the Julia Child Centenary events — united more than twenty chefs to celebrate the 100th birthday of The French Chef host and Gastronomy program co-founder. Students worked with these chefs, brushing shoulders as we helped to cook, prepare, and plate dishes, as if we are a part of their kitchen brigade. Of course, the biggest name chef would absolutely be Jacques Pepin.
As the program came to an end, we students set the menu and invited our friends and families to our graduation, which celebrates our learning, teamwork, and camaraderie. While we now each embark on our own food path, we have learned together, gaining more skills and confidence in cooking and baking and tackling the oft dreaded heat in the kitchen. We have learned some of the many ways to approach food and ingredients with deep respect, appreciation, and comprehension. The Culinary Arts Laboratory has truly changed our lives forever.
Korakot Suriya-arporn or “Gab” is a current Gastronomy student. He comes from Bangkok, Thailand, and has a background in journalism.
by Claudia Catalano
When I was 16 I had a dream of starting my own pie business. I was working a summer job in Maine and had convinced my boss to allow me to bake homemade pies and sell them by the slice at his “lobster in the rough” establishment. The customers went wild for them, and on my first day in business I sold out before the lunch rush even finished. Not knowing what he had gotten himself into, my boss brought my baking to a halt after the third day of sell-out success. He feared it was becoming too disruptive to his core business. I was crushed. Since then, there has been a renaissance in locally produced food. Publications like Edible Boston provide a steady stream of small-business stories featuring cooks, candy-makers, distillers, coffee roasters, cheese makers, chocolatiers, farmers, and various food wholesalers. Crop Circle Kitchen, a shared commercial kitchen and culinary business incubator in Jamaica Plain, MA, has launched over a hundred businesses since 2009 with a 40% success rate. My short-lived pie venture aside; I seek to discover the holistic experience of food entrepreneurs today. What motivates them? What sustains them? Is there a deeper meaning behind the work they do?
I recently completed a semester-long research project for the class Food Ethnography with Professor Carole Counihan (ML 642). With the aim of gaining a holistic understanding of this growing business group, my research explores the motivations, challenges, and operations of six food entrepreneurs in the Boston area. The methodology consisted of participant observation, 30-60 minute semi-structured interviews, photography and collection of visual artifacts such as logos, product packaging, and marketing materials. I was fortunate to meet several inspiring, Boston-area entrepreneurs that willingly participated in my research and welcomed me into their worlds. They include: Guy Rabinowitz of Guy’s Healthy Home Cooking, Alex Whitmore of Taza Chocolate, Lourdes Smith of Fiore Di Nonno, Alex Bourgeois of Alex’s Ugly Sauce, Poorvi Patodia of Biena Foods, and Sherie Grillon of NoLa’s Fresh Foods.
Participants were asked several questions regarding their personal and professional backgrounds, business ideas, motivations, challenges, goals, daily operations, marketing efforts, ties to local food community, and general outlook on life. What I found is that most food entrepreneurs in my study have different motivations than general entrepreneurs. While, of course, they all need to earn a living, most are not monetarily driven.
The desire to make others happy is a primary motivator and most entrepreneurs see that as an immense source of fulfillment. Below is one of the most telling quotes from my research:
“…I love seeing people smile when they eat something. It’s that… core. Food is love. Food is culture… it should bring pleasure… There’s some piece to me that wants people to be happy.”
Lourdes Smith, Fiore Di Nonno
Ubiquitous to food entrepreneurs is passion and hard work. Start-ups especially stated how hard it is to run a business—physically, emotionally and financially. Based on my research, there is evidence of a deeper meaning behind the work of food entrepreneurs. They are not just selling products to consumers, but making human connections, enriching lives, and in some cases making ethical or environmental statements.
Perhaps if I had persevered, my young pie business would have succeeded. But even in my three days as a food entrepreneur, I felt the power of bringing people happiness through food.
Claudia is a first-year MLA candidate who hopes to combine her background in design with her passion for the local food movement. To read her entire research paper, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is the first in a two-part series on the fall 2012 course, Culture & Cuisine: Québec.
by Brad Jones
Sitting around the long supper table of Pastaga, Alex Cruz from the Societe Orignal suggested that “to end a sentence in a question mark is the ultimate sign of intelligence.” I must say that I agree. A few days before, armed with but a few simple questions, we had turned to Quebec to seek out answers. Curiosity drove Alex forward (“I am motivated by curiosity”), much as it did acclaimed sommelier Francois Chartier (“I’m a curious man, I’m looking for the perfect model!”). So too, did curiosity drive my fellow students and I. In the end, though our trip remains punctuated with question marks of various sorts, there is no doubt that we are all the wiser for having experienced it.
The trip offered a rewarding glimpse into various approaches towards pedagogy. In the Concordia University rooftop garden, we learned that people tend to be afraid of plants, fearful that they may kill them if they do something wrong. This to me is unsurprising. From a young age we are taught in our schools that there are right and wrong answers; that there are passing and failing grades. We learn through lecture, passively, with the teacher speaking to us and rarely with us. But the learning that takes place in the rooftop garden is one of experience. It is an active engagement free from judgment or critique. Indeed, one learns to take care of a plant by having their hands covered in soil and regardless of how much attention is paid to it, there remains the possibility that the plant will die. To have this happen however, is not so much a failure, as a pedagogical success. Is there a better way to learn than through experience and failure? To accept failure, to appreciate it, is to engender resilience and creativity while to create the fear of failure is to harbor passivity, orthodoxy, and doubt. The growing of a plant, then, becomes an important way to wisdom.
Laura Stine, our greenhouse garden panel organizer, and scholar of the senses David Howes spoke of the importance of learning and socializing in a sensory rich environment. For Laura’s part, their organization attempts to bridge generational gaps by bringing the elderly in communion with the young over the shared task of caring for herbs. This is a form of knowledge transfer that is both unstructured and informal. It has the possibility of conveying information that simply cannot be contained in a book—that is, information acquired from a lifetime of experience. Moreover, to partake in this project builds human to human relationships and facilitates interaction amongst individuals. One learns to care, to love, to listen, to learn, and at times, perhaps to mourn. These are human faculties that one does not acquire from the classroom or the textbook. They derive from individuals sharing sensations with one another.
We who partook in the course were no exception. We learned and socialized, taught and created friendships, in the same way as the Quebecois from which we sought to study. Engaged with each other in a sensory rich environment we learned to know one another in a way the classroom could never afford. Indeed, I found it quite amusing that our group forged a whole new sense of what it means to “share” food together. At each and every meal plates were passed around and beverages, touched by the lips of many, went full circle. The cultural partitions that teach us to refrain from behavior of this sort were razed to the ground and in doing so we built relationships unique to true conviviality. In this course we experienced long trips, bitter cold, smelly barns, slippery eels, and clanging city bells. In the end, the pedagogical components of an immersion trip, the sites and spaces of learning, are hard to pen fully to paper. They flow fluidly from the act of experiencing and, undoubtedly, from experiencing together.
Brad Jones is a current Gastronomy student and Cheesemonger at Formaggio Kitchen. Read “Curiously Seeking Quebec: Gastronomy Students Learn Food Outside the Classroom – part 2″ in this Wednesday’s post.
Last month, Rachel Black’s Food and the Senses class and Gastronomy lecturer Netta Davis took a field trip to Taza Chocolate in Somerville, MA. The class participated in a factory tour, and each student had the opportunity to closely scrutinize the facility not only with their eyes, but also with all of their physical senses. Student Robert Haley recounts his experience.
by Robert Haley
Taza Chocolate Factory provides any visitor to their facility with a multi-sensory experience that ensures the guest will leave with greater knowledge of their product, as well as familiarity with all of the types of chocolates they offer through firsthand interaction. The first sensory experience takes place when you enter the door, and you go from a dilapidated factory exterior in a rundown area of Somerville to a cozy gift shop well-decorated in a Central American theme. The shop is adjacent to the closest production room, which can be viewed through the large picture windows located next to the register. Though the interior of the production room is quite commercial and unflattering in color, it does provide the visitor a chance to see instantly a part of the chocolate making process as it is happening.
Taza goes even further to ensure that your first moments at the factory are as connected with the coveted chocolate as possible, as throughout the shop area there are baskets of free samples containing a variety of their different types of chocolates. Unlike most tours associated with food items, Taza encourages sampling of their unique Mexican chocolates before beginning the factory tour. It seems that this multi-sensory exposure to the chocolate at the outset is beneficial for both Taza and its guests – the ingredients and processes behind the production of Mexican chocolate is different from what most Americans associate with more “traditional” chocolates. There are no dairy additives, and the resulting smell, flavor, and taste reflect this difference. The mouthfeel of the chocolate is grittier than its counterpart produced with dairy, and the flavor of the cacao is more defined here than in other chocolates. Taza seems to suggest that for the guest to fully comprehend the production process viewed on the tour, they should first expose themselves to the product using all of the senses.
While only a small section of the factory was in production while we participated in our tour, Taza Chocolate does an excellent job describing the process from farm to factory. As with the gift shop, Taza ensures the tour is a multi-sensory experience, where throughout the visit raw ingredients are made available for the guests to see, smell, touch, and taste. Our group was able to smell various cinnamon samples, handle a roasted cocoa bean, examine nibs created from the cocoa bean shell, and of course, sample many types of chocolate. The strongest sense experienced throughout the tour was smell, as even though production concluded for the day, the smell of the chocolate making process still lingered in each room, seemingly inviting the guest to experience more.
The Taza Chocolate tour is a welcome experience for anyone looking to learn the unique process behind the production of Mexican chocolate, and participate in a multi-sensory experience along the way. By allowing the visitor to experience all facets of the product at the outset, as well as throughout the tour, they ensure the guest has a greater understanding of what Taza is trying to achieve with their brand, and how they go about creating their product.
Rob Haley is working towards his Master’s in Gastronomy, and is also the Senior Media Producer at the Office of Distance Education at Boston University.
By Elizabeth Mindreau
The students of Kyri Claflin’s History of Food (ML622) class were treated to a lecture and cooking demonstration by scholar of Medieval Islamic cuisine and food writer, Nawal Nasrallah. Nawal discussed what historians consider the Golden Age of the Arab World, between the 8th and 13thcenturies. She described Baghdad as the center of the world during that period and made medieval Baghdad come alive with descriptions of a cosmopolitan city with a bounty of ingredients in its markets brought by the many caravans passing through. Baghdad was full of nouveaux-riches with a taste for fine cuisine and the means to buy it.
Nawal followed her lecture with a cooking demonstration using recipes from the 10th century Baghdadi cookbook, Kitab al-Tabeekh by Ibn Sayyār al-Warrāq. She translated this medieval work under the title Annals of the Caliphs’ Kitchens. Using these age-old recipes, Nawal transformed simple shredded chicken into an aromatic delight by adding sibagh, a dipping sauce made from ground walnuts and pomegranate juice. Additionally, soy sauce was used to replace a medieval Arab condiment made of fermented barley known as murri. The chicken and sauce were blended together and presented on a platter sprinkled with fresh pomegranate seeds.
Nawal prepared a few other dishes, like bazmaward, a pinwheel-type sandwich of cheese, nuts, mushrooms, and eggs, and badhinjan mahshi, a dish of boiled and chopped eggplant mixed with caramelized onions, ground almonds, fresh cilantro, chives, parsley, caraway seeds, cinnamon, olive oil, vinegar, and soy sauce. By the end of her demonstration, our appetites were in high gear. We filled our plates and dug in. So what does food from 10thcentury Baghdad taste like? The chicken and sibagh were bright and savory. The badhinjan mahshi was soft and succulent. The herbs in the bazmaward danced on my tongue while the finely minced ingredients of the sandwich melted in my mouth.
Recreating dishes from a medieval cookbook is an amazing way to immerse yourself into a sensory connection with the past. Of course, it can never be the same since the cooking environment, cooking technology, and taste of the raw ingredients (due environmental changes) are different. But, I believe that one can get close to the experience by physically recreating the movements that someone made so long ago to prepare the food and the final experience of tasting and eating it. It can bring us a new understanding of what life in the past may have been like in a very intimate way. It is also a thrill to taste flavor combinations that may not be available in the modern culinary arena.
Nawal’s lecture made me appreciate the rich, noble, and lengthy history of Arabic cuisine as well as of the Arabic culture in general. I am discovering that learning topics through a food-centered lens is highly effective. Because food is deeply embedded in one’s daily life, it can be an excellent vehicle for transmitting knowledge. As we ate, Nawal discussed the challenges of translating Medieval Islamic cookbooks into English. She said that so much more work needs to be done, particularly with the cookbooks of Andalus, (Medieval Islamic Spain). More scholars, particularly with foreign language skills, are needed. Time to sign up for Arabic class!
Elizabeth Mindreau is a former graphic designer and first year Gastronomy student. When not studying, Elizabeth is busy trying to feed her two young sons anything but chicken nuggets and Oreos.
by Lara Zelman
All Gastronomy students take the course Food and the Senses, a class that marries the humanities and scientific approaches to understanding the physical senses in relation to food experiences. Graduate student Lara Zelman questions and discusses the complex relationship between the senses, brain signals, and external influences on perceptions of food.
The article “Flavor and the Brain” by Dana Small defines flavor as “a perception that includes gustatory, oral-somatosensory, and retronasal olfactory signals that arise from the mouth as foods and beverages are consumed.” Small discusses that “although the sights, sounds and smells of foods that occur just before, or in the absence of eating, can impact ﬂavor perception, it is argued that these sensory signals exert their inﬂuence by creating expectations based upon prior associations.” The discussion touches on “top-down” influences including attention, expectations, and beliefs and how they impact neural and perceptual responses. For example, being told about the intensity of a flavor can impact the resulting response in the brain. In the context of her article, Small discusses how vision influences flavor, similarly to how verbal labels and cues might create expectations about the sensory experience. These top-down mechanisms bias “the neural code towards expected experiences.”
After reading the article I began to think about how flavor is influenced by expectation, specifically in the context of dining out at restaurants. What information influences and shapes the diner’s expectations, and how does this impact the diner’s perception of flavor? Is it influenced by expectations created before the dining experience as well as during? When information is readily available, how does this change the dining experience? If the diner is armed with photographs and descriptions prior to eating, will the flavor he experiences be different than if he just ordered off the menu with no prior knowledge? There are numerous ways to get information before dining out. Information on restaurants is available on websites, on television, in magazines, in guidebooks, and in newspapers. How does this impact the diner’s sensory experience? Websites like Tasted Menu and smart phone apps like Nosh let users post reviews and photographs of individual menu items at restaurants. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram allow users to post real-time accounts of their dining experience. How does this information and visual representation shape the diner’s expectations?
Information on food is also presented through both food advertising and television programming. There are numerous television programs that feature restaurant dishes, like Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. What impact does watching this type of program have on a viewer’s future dining experience? Viewers watch featured chefs prepare dishes, eat, and describe their experience. The viewer is getting a visual (and somewhat auditory) play-by-play of the sensory experience of the host – smells, texture, and flavor – but without actually experiencing them. Areas for future study could look at the impact that this prior information has on shaping expectations and the resulting brain response and perception of flavor. From a marketing perspective, restaurants and food companies could understand how this type of information either positively or negatively impacts the diner’s experience.
Lara is a BU graduate and works full-time as a marketing manager. She is currently taking the course Food and the Senses. Read her full post and follow Lara on her blog at GoodCookDoris.com.