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The Boston University Programs in Food and Wine have announced the following titles in the Spring 2016 Pépin Lecture Series in Food Studies, Gastronomy, and the Culinary Arts. Please see for registration information.


Monday, February 22, 6 PM: In the Matter of Food: Jewish Peddling in the New World

Hasia Diner, New York University professor of Hebrew and Judaic studies and history

The age of the great Jewish migration saw millions of European, Ottoman, and North African Jews leave their old homes to make new ones in new lands. Scores of men took their first steps in unfamiliar places as peddlers, selling house-to-house in non-Jewish communities. As they slept in these new customers’ homes, it was largely through food that they negotiated their Jewish commitments and engagements with those unfamiliar with their culture. Learn more in this lecture from Hasia Diner, who is a New York University professor of Hebrew and Judaic studies and history; Paul S. and Sylvia Steinberg Professor of American Jewish History; and director of the Goldstein-Goren Center for American Jewish History.


Wednesday, March 16, 6 PM: Combat Ready Kitchen

Anastacia Marx de Salcedo, author of Combat-Ready Kitchen: How the U.S. Military Shapes the Way You Eat

Did you know that much of the science used in creating processed foods was developed courtesy of the U.S. military? Armies have sought better ways to preserve, store, and transport edibles since the days of Napoleon, and, as part of this quest, the U.S. army spearheaded the invention of energy bars, restructured meat, extended-life bread, cling wrap, cheese powder, TV dinners, active dry yeast, instant coffee, and much more. After World War II, as part of our national policy of preparedness, the Defense Department enlisted the help of huge corporations such as ADM, ConAgra, General Mills, Hershey, Hormel, Mars, Nabisco, Reynolds, Smithfield, Swift, Tyson, and Unilever. But the help came with a catch. Anastacia Marx de Salcedo, the author of Combat-Ready Kitchen: How the U.S. Military Shapes the Way You Eat, instructs on the ways those traits most prized in soldier sustenance—imperishability, durability, affordability, and appeal to a broad range of palates—have ended up dominating our grocery store shelves and refrigerator cases, often to the detriment of consumer health.


Wednesday, April 13, 6 PM: Fast Food: A Global Perspective

Andrew F. Smith, culinary historian, New School

Fast food is the most pervasive culinary trend of our time, for better and worse. Large multinational chains run an estimated one million outlets in virtually every corner of the world, serving hundreds of millions of customers every day. Scathing exposés have charged that the industry harms the environment, undermines the health of customers, degrades the diets of children, and underpays its workers. So why has this industry remained so successful? What makes observers so critical? And what are the options for the future? Andrew F. Smith, a culinary historian who teaches in the Food Studies Department at the New School in Manhattan, explores these questions and more. He is the author or editor of twenty-eight books, including his latest, Fast Food: The Good, Bad and Hungry(Reaktion, 2016).