Gastronomy at BU is proud to announce that student Giselle Kennedy Lord was recently selected as the James Beard Foundation National Scholar Northwest.
The JBF National Scholars Program “provides ten high-impact scholarships of $20,000 each to food-focused candidates of exceptional talent.” Winners are chosen based on academic standing, personal recommendations, and professional recommendations.
“My application for the scholarship was centered around my focus in the BU gastronomy program, which is how people express home and identity through food and cooking. My thesis research, which I will do in the Spring of 2018, will be a deep dive into that theme as it relates to the Lebanese diaspora in Argentina and the Americas,” says Lord.
Giselle lives in the Columbia Gorge area of Oregon, where she launched her small business, Quincho, in 2015. In the years before launching Quincho and becoming a Gastronomy student at BU, she worked as a freelance video producer specializing in food and agriculture in the Pacific Northwest.
Giselle now hosts pop-up, food-culture-focused events with Quincho and she is currently working on launching an online shop of cookware and kitchenware connected to distinct food cultures and artistic traditions. According to Lord, “Quincho is about culture, community, and cookery. It’s a celebration of foodways and culinary tradition the world round. It’s a call to gather with like-minded people to learn something new, be inspired to explore, and empowered to create.”
Giselle will travel to Argentina in January to conduct ethnographic research for her thesis. In between interviews and kitchen sessions, she will be on the lookout for unique cookware and working to forge connections with local artisans. She also plans to eat a lot of empanadas, peruse every street fair, and hunt for vintage cookbooks.
Read on for a sneak peek into some of the Gastronomy classes we will be offering this Spring. Registration information can be found here.
Food and Art
Laura Ziman will teach Food and Art during the Spring 2018 semester and has prepared this Course Spotlight.
Looking at the earliest images, tableware and sculpture of food from the Ancient World to the contemporary, we will see the historic changes in objects and artwork that refer to cuisine. Discoveries will be made in the purposes and meaning of imagery and three-dimensional objects through time from a variety of cultures.
Artists’ lives will be explored through their work, the time they worked in and their country of origin leading to greater understanding of the art they created.
Posters, cookbooks, advertisements, films and models of food all contribute to the visual cornucopia we will explore.
This course includes trips to The Museum of Fine Arts, which contains food art from Mesopotamia to the 21st century. Ancient Greek oil pitchers, an American dining table from 19th Century Dorchester to 20th Century table settings will be visited.
We will visit a food market and view the artistry in food arrangement and packaging. Food artists will be visiting the class to share the inspiration and discussion of techniques used in making their art.
Gender and Food
Dr. Megan J. Elias will teach Gender and Food during the Spring 2018 semester and has prepared this Course Spotlight.
Can a woman eat a Manwich? Can Dad produce Mom’s home cooking? And how is the movement away from gender binaries reflected in foodways? In Food and Gender we will explore ways in which language and behaviors around food both reinforce and challenge gender hierarchies and restrictive norms. Using frameworks developed in gender studies we will interrogate our contemporary foodscape through close readings of many media, including food blogs, magazines, TV shows and advertisements. We will also include our own cooking histories and habits in our research and discussion, taking note of when and how cultural assumptions about gender restrict our choices in the kitchen.
The course will include reading, research, field work, discussion, and cooking to help us understand why and how food has been gendered and how the process differs across place, time, and culture.
Students will be responsible for developing a group project together as well as working on individual investigations of gender and food.
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.
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.
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.
“The German-Jewish Cookbook: Recipes and a History of a Cuisine” by Gabrielle Rossmer Gropman and Sonya Gropman, Brandies University Press
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.”)
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.
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)?
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.
Dr. Karen Metheny will teach Food and Society (MET ML 712) on Thursday evenings during the fall 2017 semester, and has prepared this overview of the class.
»How do social institutions shape the way we think about food? Our ability to access food?
»How do work schedules and family dynamics shape or constrain the family meal?
»Do social classes and institutions affect the way we shop? The food we prefer?
In Food and Society, students will examine these kinds of questions and look specifically at how social groups, categories, and institutions shape, structure, or are structured by food-related practices. We will look at multiple contexts of food production, access, procurement, and consumption, including rural agricultural sites, urban homesteads, grocery shopping, CSAs, and food assistance programs. We will also examine the intersection of food practices with class, ethnicity, race, age, and gender.
We will engage in a range of exercises to explore methods (visual sociology, food chain analysis, surveys and questionnaires, interviews) that can be applied to a final research project. The research project offers students a wonderful opportunity to pursue in-depth analysis of key topics in food studies. A sample of past projects includes:
focused analysis of the role of ethnic food trucks as potential agents of taste expansion, authenticity, or cultural appropriation
food as cultural capital among millennials
a comparative study of Haymarket and Boston Public Market in the context of creating social well-being and a ‘sense of community’
the mission and sustainability of The Daily Table
the food landscape of Jamaica Plain
dinner on demand services as cultural capital
functional foods and grocery shopping through the lens of yogurt
Students have utilized Pinterest, Snapchat and Instagram as sources of data, conducted surveys through Facebook, created photo essays and videos, and collected oral interviews to complete their projects. Students will also have the opportunity to hear from a number of area food scholars and activists, and we will work with Dr. Bob Cadigan from the Applied Social Sciences department to create and implement surveys and questionnaires. Hope to see you in class!
MET ML 712, Food and Society, will meet on Thursday evenings from 6:00 to 8:45 pm, starting on September 7, 2017. Registration information can be found here.