Announcing the Fall 2017 Pépin Lecture Series in Food Studies and Gastronomy

Boston University’s Programs in Food and Wine and MLA in Gastronomy Program are pleased to announce the following lectures scheduled for the Fall 2017 semester. Lectures in the Pépin Series are free and open to the public, but registration with Boston University’s Programs in Food and Wine is required.


The Cooking Gene, with Michael Twitty

Tuesday, October 24 at 6pm
College of Arts and Sciences, 725 Commonwealth Ave, Room 224

Renowned culinary historian, Michael W. Twitty, offers a fresh perspective on our most divisive cultural issue, race, using the popular but complicated lens of Southern cuisine and food culture. To do so he traced his ancestry—both black and white—through food, from Africa to America and slavery to freedom. Southern food is integral to the American culinary tradition, yet the question of who “owns” it is one of the most provocative touch points in our ongoing struggles over race.  His mission, to re-create the culinary genius of Black colonial and antebellum chefs sits side by side with revealing truth that is more than skin deep—the power that food has to bring the kin of the enslaved and their former slaveholders to the table, where they can discover the real America together.

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“The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South” by Michael W. Twitty. HarperCollins

Food on the Page, with Megan Elias

Wednesday, November 8 at 6pm
College of Arts and Sciences Building, 725 Commonwealth Ave, Room 224

What’s in a cookbook? More than repositories of recipes, cookbooks play a role in the creation of taste on both a personal and national level. From Fannie Farmer to the Chez Panisse Cookbook to food blogs, American cookbooks have commented on national cuisine while also establishing distinct taste cultures. In Food on the Page, Megan Elias explores what it means to take cookbooks seriously as a genre of writing that is as aspirational as it is prescriptive.

Food on the Page Elias
“Food on the Page: Cookbooks and American Culture” by Megan Elias, University of Pennsylvania Press

Remembering German-Jewish Culture through its Culinary Traditions, with Gabrielle Rossmer Gropman and Sonya Gropman

Wednesday, November 29 at 6pm
College of Arts and Sciences, 725 Commonwealth Ave, Room 224

What happens to a food tradition when its culture starts to vanish? The advent of the Nazi era brought about the demise of 1000 years of Jewish life in Germany and its cuisine, which differs greatly from the Eastern European one that is generally the accepted definition of Jewish food. This food tradition lives on in the kitchens of some German Jews and in the memories of many others around the world. This talk, by a mother-daughter author team with a German-Jewish background, will address issues of food and memory, food as cultural identity, and preserving and documenting traditional recipes.

German Jewish Cookbook
“The German-Jewish Cookbook: Recipes and a History of a Cuisine” by Gabrielle Rossmer Gropman and Sonya Gropman, Brandies University Press

 

 

A Fresh Crop of Gastronomy Students for fall 2017

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 “What We Get to Eat in The Country” (Puck magazine, 1906). Library of Congress image.

It is just about back-to-school season, when the Gastronomy Program will welcome a new group of students.. Here a fresh batch of their bios and photos. Enjoy getting to know them!

Ariana Gunderson grew up in the Boston area and looks forward to returning for her Ariana GundersonGastronomy MLA at BU. After graduating with a BA in Egyptology from Brown University, Ariana biked to brunch as often as possible while working in DC as a strategy consultant. She then completed a yearlong State Department fellowship in Germany, studying anthropology and excavating a medieval castle. Most recently, Ariana lived in Mexico City, where she continued her consulting work and ate many a tamal. While at BU, Ariana hopes to study refugee and migrant foodways.

 


Justine MartinOriginally from a small bilingual mill town in Northern Maine on the border of French-speaking Canada, Justine Martin inherited her deep love of food and bringing people together from her grandmother. Over seemingly endless buffets of food at countless holidays, family gatherings, and town celebrations, she saw how her grandmother’s French Acadian cooking brought people from all walks of life together.

It was this upbringing and her relationship with her grandmother that first sparked her interest in the powerful role food plays in our lives and in our interactions with others—next door and around the globe. Now, Justine spends nearly all of her spare time cooking, eating, researching, and talking about food and is excited to join the Gastronomy program this fall to connect with others who share her passion. In bringing together her love of food, writing, and culture, she seeks to contribute to the world of food writing and journalism in a unique and meaningful way.

Justine earned her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from the University of Maine at Fort Kent and spent two years as a 2nd grade and health teacher in Southern Maine. She then moved to the Boston area, where she works as a university development writer and lives with her husband and two fur balls: Ambrose, the moody yet secretly affectionate cat, and Mabel, the crazy-pants clown of a Boston Terrier.


Meghan Russell grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and went to Penn State University,Meaghan Russell graduating with a degree in History. Since then she has lived in Washington D.C. and Boston working in consulting and technology.

Meghan always enjoyed helping in the kitchen and going to the grocery store and famers market with her mom growing up, but her passion for food really took off after graduating college. After years of cooking for friends and family, she started her own blog (vegetableway.com) a few years ago as a way and is excited to get back to posting on it more regularly.

As a way to get more involved in food advocacy issues, she started volunteering at the Daily Table, a grocery store in Dorchester, MA. At BU Meghan plans to focus on policy and business, looking for ways to address food access issues and promote local, sustainable food choices through awareness and education.

 

Welcome, new Gastronomy students!

peaches and corn

It is just about back-to-school season, when the Gastronomy Program will welcome a new group of students.. Here a second batch of their bios and photos. Enjoy getting to know them!

 


Ashley LopesAshley Lopes grew up in San Francisco, California and earned her undergraduate degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management at New York University. As a food enthusiast with a bottomless stomach for carbs, she enjoys watching cooking shows and making food from scratch. While at NYU, Ashley wrote and edited content for culinary magazines and interned in restaurant kitchens and at the Institute of Culinary Education. Most memorably, she tested and evaluated kitchen appliances as a test kitchen intern at Good Housekeeping Magazine.

After graduating, Ashley worked at a startup in Cape Town, South Africa, before directing her passion for travel to a full-time career at TripAdvisor. Since then, she’s traveled extensively and seen first-hand how food and culture intersect. Most recently, she ventured on a solo backpacking trip through the vibrant food scenes of Southeast Asia and through the spectacular mountains and fjords of New Zealand.

Ashley is excited to move to Boston and join the Gastronomy Program at BU, where she aims to combine her love of food with writing and travel. She looks forward to studying food on a deeper level and connecting with like-minded foodies. Her goal is to pave a meaningful and colorful career in food publishing and culinary tourism.


NormaTentoriNorma Tentori’s fascination with food has been kindled from a young age in Central America where she grew up constantly involved in the kitchen during meal preparation, thanks in great part to her Hispanic and Italian family’s passion, appreciation, interest and enticing diversity in food culture. From there, she called Boston home as she completed her BSBA this past spring in Business Administration with a minor in Nutrition at Simmons College.

As her next career move, she wants to deepen her knowledge in a field that is perfectly aligned with her interest in food, its industry and its prospects in business. She was thrilled to encounter that there is such a program at BU, combining graduate studies in gastronomy and entrepreneurship, right in the city that she has always loved. Norma is confident that this master will satisfy her craving for expertise in gastronomy, as well as provide her with the skills required to intertwine this expertise with brand building and marketing success with a focus in the food / beverage industry

 

 

 

A Fresh Crop of Gastronomy Students

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“Farmeretts Harvesting Crops” from the Library of Congress

We are looking forward to welcoming a fresh crop of Gastronomy students to Boston University this fall. Here is the first batch of their bios and photos. Enjoy getting to know them!

Becca Berland is a self-proclaimed ice cream aficionado who was born and raised in BerlandSylvania, Ohio. She attended the University of Pittsburgh and graduated in 2016 with a Bachelor’s degree in Linguistics and minors in French Studies and Religious Studies. During her four years at Pitt, Becca acted as Editorial Director of Pitt’s chapter of Spoon University, as well as a National Editorial Intern and Elite News Team Member for Spoon HQ in NYC. After she spent a summer interning for Delicious Israel, an Israeli culinary food tour company based out of Tel Aviv, Becca realized that pursuing a career in food media was basically inevitable.

Currently working out of Boston as a Social Media/Content Manger for one of the top fitness coaches in the country, Becca is thrilled to join the Gastronomy program at BU where she can connect with like-minded food enthusiasts (have we mentioned that she named her dog Basil?). Becca plans to hone in on her writing skills in hopes of one day becoming the editor of a food magazine.


Mollie Braen was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She graduated with a BA in BraenArt History in the spring of 2015 from the University of Denver and spent her final semester studying abroad at the University of Glasgow in Glasgow, Scotland. Mollie, an avid traveler, eater and cook, moved to Boston in 2015 to pursue work in the art and non-profit community. But her passion and true love was always food, wine and beer. Mollie will be pursuing her masters in gastronomy, concentrating on food policy and business. Her goal is to gain knowledge about the current and past agricultural climate in the United States and to use this comprehensive liberal arts degree to work within the progressing tech and biomedical fields to create healthier, more accessible, and organic produce and products for all. She currently lives in Cambridge with her very funny and mischievous cat, enjoys eating any and all cheeses and is excited to be back in school.


Born and raised in New Jersey, Carolyn Grillo moved to Boston to attend college. She Grillograduated with a BS in Studio Art from Boston College and then attended culinary (pastry) school in Paris, France at Le Cordon Bleu. When Carolyn returned from Paris she worked as a baker at Flour Bakery + Cafe in Boston for two years. Carolyn has been working at America’s Test Kitchen in the Tastings and Testings department for the last two years. Carolyn’s job affords her the opportunity to work in different areas of the company including both print and online content, television, and cookbooks. As time progresses Carolyn has become more interested in the business side of the food industry. Through this experience Carolyn hopes to expand her knowledge, challenge herself, and gain tools to progress in her career.


Swarnata Prabhu was born and raised in Mumbai, a city known for its culinary indulgence and abundance of savors. She believes her childhood had a huge impact and influence in her relationship with food, as there was a lot of cooking, eating and entertaining at home.

Swarnata earned her Bachelor’s in Management Studies from the University of Mumbai prabhu.jpgand then went on to pursue her graduate degree in Human Resources and Industrial Relations at the University of Minnesota to attain an international perspective in her field. She worked for a few years as a human resource professional and then decided to take a break to spend time with her family. During this period, she not only reconnected with her hometown Mumbai, she also decided to pursue her passion. Swarnata started her home based baking venture in Mumbai and went on to learn pastry arts from finest pastry Chefs in India. She says her culinary journey has just started. Swarnata has worked in the pastry department of a five star hotel in India, mentored and taught culinary students, indulged in food photography and explored unusual food sources (protein packed bugs in Cambodia). She not only enjoys experiments in her kitchen but has utmost fun eating, exploring and learning about new foods.

Swarnata feels confident that the gastronomy program at Boston University will equip her with a fulfilling career in the ever changing and challenging food world. She wants to focus on food policy and communications to make an impact as a food advocate, chef and educator.

The Importance of Hospitality in Kazakhstan

We continue our series of posts from the Anthropology of Food class (ML 641) in which students reflect on current issues, discuss assignments they have worked on, or address topics of particular interest to them. Today’s post is from Kaitlin Valli.

When I first started looking into Kazakhstan for my final project, I wasn’t sure what I’d find—I chose it a bit haphazardly, simply because the country was huge and I had realized, looking at the map, that I knew almost nothing about it. But as I looked into it, I was interested to see that a strong culture of hospitality developed there centuries ago and is still an identity marker today. The importance of sharing food and drink is a common theme across cultures, of course, but in Kazakhstan it seemed to take on another level of significance. The Kazakh language has dozens of words for different types of guests, and many proverbs referring to the blessing a guest brings to the family, which range from reverent (“If a guest comes, abundance comes with him or her”) to cautionary (“A guest sits briefly, but notices a lot”) to outright threatening (“If you don’t accept the guest, there won’t be any happiness or abundance in your home.”)

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Source: “Kazakh Cuisine” from Tours to Kazakhstan

That a culture of being a good host and gracious guest evolved makes practical sense—back when people were nomadic and spread across the vast steppe, it was wise to be generous with a visitor, as a host did not know when they would need that same kind of hospitality themselves. But a guest was more than that—a visitor also meant entertainment and an excuse for a feast, as well a very necessary connection to the outside world. A guest was harbinger of nourishment of all kinds.

The russification of Kazakhstan means that even today, after attempts at language revival, only 74% of its citizens understand the spoken Kazakh language, while 94% understand Russian (Lillis 2017). And yet, after years of adapting to Soviet rule, the traditional value of hospitality persists. It has become a deeply intertwined aspect of Kazakh identity and culture, to the point where the ability to be a good host or hostess is considered an important criteria for judgment.

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Photo by Ryan Bell, NPR The Plate

Though the importance of hospitality has persisted, the customs around hospitality have naturally changed over time. Today, to cut down on time required, Kazakh women may turn to prepared foods instead of making their own, and alcohol consumption has decreased as a result of the increased cost of entertaining. But though traditions have evolved, especially in big cities, they are still vital. Guests should not leave without having at least tasted the meal offered, and hosts will at the very least offer tea. Using beautiful dishware is still common, and hosts will pour a little tea at a time, as pouring a large cup at once would signify that they want their guest to leave sooner.

The studies and ethnographies I encountered conclude the same thing—Kazakh people “cannot live without hospitality, without guests, without a table set and ready to receive guests” (Charkyroglu 2014, 127). But I think a woman profiled in one of my readings expressed it best: “If you can’t make a big party to celebrate your son’s engagement, then why live on this earth” (Michaels 2007, 157)?

 Works cited:

Chakyroglu, Altynshash Kurmanali, and Botagoz Suiyerkul. 2014.  “Representation of the Concept “Hospitality” in the Kazakh Language.” Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences 136: 124-128.

Lillis, Joanna. 2017.  “Kazakhstan: Astana Wants Kazakhstanis to Speak Kazakh.” EurasiaNet.org. Accessed July 21, 2017. www.eurasianet.org/node/62424

Michaels, Paula. 2007. “An Ethnohistorical Journey through Kazakh Hospitality.” In Everyday Life in Central Asia: Past and Present, ed. Jeff Sahadeo and Russell Zanco, 145-159. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.