Author Archives: atrubek

Gastronomica: 19.2 and the Launch of a New Editorial Collective

University of California Press is proud to announce that Gastronomica, a leading food studies journal, has just published the first issue under new leadership – an editorial collective of food scholars from around the world who represent numerous scholarly disciplines and perspectives. This issue (19.2) explores what our collective and contributing authors have imagined is what’s new and what’s next in food studies—it reflects tremendous changes since the beginning of the field, as well as the future of a multidisciplinary field that depends on academic and public engagement.

Gastronomica represents the space where the breadth of academic scholarship on food cultures meets a public that is increasingly interested in questions of food, gastronomy, and the culinary arts. With a long history of accessible scholarship, exceptional production values, and varied, long-form writing, Gastronomica is uniquely positioned to enable food scholars to interact with our profession and the public.

For this issue, we highlight ‘New Voices’ (including young scholars, dedicated activists, and  varied artists) to identify exciting new areas of inquiry, methods, forms of presentation, and approaches. Compelling pieces include Leigh Chavez-Bush’s investigation of the new digital mediascape of food culture and fame, and how it has transformed what it means to be a chef today. And as China intensifies government scrutiny of ethnic minorities, Rick Halpern’s images of a Muslim market in Xi’an prompts us to consider the potential and pitfalls of street photography.

Editorial Collective co-chairs Daniel Bender, Simone Cinotto and Amy Trubek agree that the engaged collaboration of the new collective allows for an expansive vision and creative offerings. They also acknowledge that “we are new eggs in a basket – that new lifehatches from old. As we consider the future of the study of food, we turned to our two ‘editors emeriti’ – Darra Goldstein and Melissa Caldwell – and asked them to share their stories. The new Gastronomica emerges from their efforts.” Almost two decades since it was founded, Gastronomicais poised to be the leader in the ever-expanding field of food studies, a must read for scholars, food practitioners, food activists and the general public. “As a field,” notes Dan Bender, “the study of food in universities, colleges, cooking schools, and secondary schools recognizes the vital connections to what is happening in fields, kitchens, markets, and food factories. Gastronomica is a crucial place where essential and open conversations about the past, present, and future of food can happen.” Those conversations begin with this issue, highlighting new voices in the study of food, and continues with the next issue: a provocative special issue about “saving food” – the ways we seek to preserve food (as both ingredients and as traditions) and as well look to food for personal and community salvation.

To learn more about Gastronomica, go to our website, www.gastronomica.org, where you can find details on how to submit and subscribe for print or digital access to the journal. You can also follow the journal on Twitter at @gastronomica, on Instagram at @gastronomica_food_studies or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Gastronomica.

Leave a comment

Filed under anthropology

Abstracts still accepted: Cook and Health Conference

The 3rd Cook and Health Conference is organised by CUBE, the Research Unit of Católica-Lisbon School of Business and Economics, and will take place at the Campus of Universidade Católica Portuguesa, located in Lisbon-Portugal, on October 17-18, 2019.

This event will bring together international experts, scientific researchers and practitioners to share up-to-date knowledge and debate key research findings regarding the impact of home cooking and its replacement by away-from-home food preparation on individuals’ nutrition, health, economic and psychosocial status.

The deadline for abstract submissions is June 21, 2019. http://www.cookandhealth.org/submission/

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under anthropology

The Message(s) In the Bottle (or Keg)

Amy Trubek with Elisa Ascione and Manuel Barbato

Why am I in Umbria spending time with craft brewers and tasting beers such as an American Red Ale and a Porter infused with Coconut? There are any number of reasons this seems absurd. First, I am not an enthusiastic drinker of beer, let alone a connoisseur. Second, Umbria is one of Italy’s wine growing regions, with two internationally known Designation of Controlled Origin Guaranteed (DOCG) wines, Sagrantino di Montefalco and Torgiano Rosso Riserva, as well as other well-known wines. Personally and professionally, a visit to the wine regions of Torgiano or Montefalco and a conversation with the owner of Lungarotti or Terre Margaritelli vineyards, is much more in my wheelhouse. Third, I live in Vermont, one of the hubs of the American craft brew movement, where hipsters and bros from New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts will drive up and wait in line for hours to purchase growlers of beer made by Hill Farmstead (named the World’s Best Brewery for the past five years)– or to hunt down the elusive Alchemist’s Heady Topper.

I had never researched beer, anywhere– until my colleagues, Elisa Ascioneand Manuel Barbato, asked me to join them in a research project. Both live in Perugia, work at the Umbra Institute (a study abroad program with a Food and Sustainabilityconcentration), and study the regional food and drink culture. They have witnessed a growing interest in craft beers among the younger generation of Italians, both those who want to produce them and those who want to go out for an aperitivo and choose from more than the long-time standards of Peroni, Moretti and Heineken. Who am I to say no? I am here for a short time and my knowledge is thin; theirs is thick and intimately connected to people and places.

Local beer is increasingly important to the culinary culture here. Umbria has local histories of making and drinking beer but these are not part of the food, drink and cultural heritage narratives crucial to the identity of the region, especially in relation to tourism. Those narratives celebrate Umbria’s wines, DOP olive oil, farro long grown in the region (which now also has protected denomination), and, of course, the salumeria and cheese. But, in the past 15 years, over twenty craft breweries have opened in region. When you go to a bar, trattoria or ristorante in the city of Perugia, there are now featured lists of local beers, almost an impossibility, in, for example, the late 20thcentury.

So, why is this happening? And what is the significance?  These are our questions. For us, anthropologists with previous research on culinary culture, cultural heritage, the connection to place and concepts of authenticity and quality, Umbrian craft brewers and craft beer are not reproducing or replicating other powerful narratives orpractices of this locality. The region is part of the identity, but it is not the primary inspiration. This is an intervention into a globalcraft beer culture, a transnational network of young people (primarily men) with a vision that integrates identity, quality, conviviality and a certain rebellion. One young man learned about craft beer during his European and American travels as a professional snowboarder. Another, a journalist by trade, realized that there had been a small brewer in the city of Perugia and wanted to bring that connection back to his home town. No one comes from multi-generational families of brewers. Only some cultivate and source their hops and malt from the region. Everyone wants to provide an alternative to the ubiquitous industrial beers. The shared zeitgeist concerns the scale first, the locale second, and tradition close to last. Foremost, the tastes of the beer involve the expression of the brewer.

Birra Perugia

We are in the preliminary stages of our research, but there is a shared sensibility between the craft brewers we have talked to here in Umbria and those studied in the United States. The current generation of craft brewers desire a connection to ‘somewhere-ness.’A beer that is generic or homogenous seems empty – of meaning, of calories, and of taste. Giovanni of Birrificio San Biagio, for example, talks about terroir in beer, referring to the health properties of the water of Nocera Umbra used for his beers. He wishes that, just as it happened for wine, regional beers could have geographical indications as a source of distinction in the growing craft beer market, even if parts of the ingredients are sourced from abroad. Antonio of Birra Perugia, connects his production to the history of the city, referring to the documents and pictures that he found about a city brewery that existed in the city center at the end of the 19thCentury. Interestingly, they all want to [literally] make the link between the beer and place, even when for now it does not really exist; in Umbria these brewers are not drawing upon a continuous peasant tradition, but rather a virtually connected community (for example, Instagram is a tool for both inspiration and information).  They rely on what anthropologists and sociologists call ‘networked ecologies.’ Many further questions arise that we intend to pursue: Does it matter that the narratives and practices for wine and beer are so distinct in Umbria? What does the fact that younger Italians prefer making beer over making wine bode for the future? Can you make the taste of Umbrian beer unique by slowly encouraging local agricultural production of hops and barley? So, although I continue to prefer a glass of vino to a pint of birra, in collaboration with Elisa and Manuel, I certainly see the message(s) in the bottle!

Leave a comment

Filed under agriculture, anthropology, Authenticity, globalization, Italy

CFP for Gastronomica

 

Call for Papers: “Saving Food”

Gastronomica Vol. 19 Issue 3

The new Gastronomica editorial collective seeks proposals for a forthcoming special issue that explores the many entwined meanings of ‘saving food’ – from preservation to curation to nostalgia to archiving to salvation. Can the many meanings of ‘saving’ help us understand in new ways the intersections of food pleasures, politics, and production and the overlap between activism, cooking, museum and archival practice, and the constant race to cook and prepare foods before they rot?

From wrapping leftovers in plastic wrap to fermenting ingredients to curating museum exhibits to creating seed libraries and archives, we all ‘save’ our food. Beyond preserving, fermenting, freezing, drying, and smoking, does food – its traditions, its materials, and its products – need saving? We often worry that food is being lost – as generations age, as strains of crops are rendered extinct, as the climate changes, and as food industries proliferate. We envision ways of preserving food traditions, regional iterations of cuisines and recipes, ingredients, seeds, products, and more through an astonishing array of strategies from small-scale seed and recipe exchanges, family and community cookbooks, seed banks, and museum collecting. Efforts to ‘save’ food have their long antecedents in the transmission and mobility of food products, recipes, and knowledge. Can those histories provide new understandings for contemporary anxiety about the loss of both bio and culinary diversities?

Can food, as well, save us? How is food mobilized as a strategy of, for example, national and community belonging, a form of urban or economic development, an example of intangible cultural heritage, and, as well, a means to physical and social salvation?

In entwining the many meanings of food as something that is saved and something that saves, this special issue seeks creative written and visual scholarship, reflection pieces, and ‘features’.

Possible topics include (but are not limited to):

  • Seed saving and banks
  • Climate change and culinary diversity
  • Food and nostalgia
  • Indigenous food practices, their reconfigurations and knowledge transmissions
  • Museum and archival practice
  • Food preservation and fermentations
  • Food and economic, social, and community development
  • Cookbook and recipe practices
  • Intergenerational transfer: knowledge, practice, resources (including material and symbolic)
  • Food and cultural heritage
  • Food supply chains, freshness, food safety
  • Food waste, including food rescue and freeganism.

Completed papers must be submitted at Gastronomica

https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/ucpress-gastronomicaby 20 January 2019.

Questions? gastroed@ucpress.edu

 

Leave a comment

Filed under anthropology

PhD Fellowship Opportunities at UVM

If you are interested in the intersection of food systems and health, food systems and sustainability or food systems and climate change, these opportunities may be of interest to MA or MS students considering the pursuit of a Phd.

Gund Institute Funded PhD Opportunities

The Gund Institute for Environment at the University of Vermont (UVM) seeks up to eight exceptional PhD students to start Fall 2019 and conduct interdisciplinary research on global environmental challenges. Application reviews will start January 18.

The Gund Institute is a newly expanded campus-wide center for interdisciplinary research, where 150 faculty, global affiliates, post-docs, and graduate students collaborate widely to understand interactions among ecological, social, and economic systems. We explore environmental issues at the interface of four pressing research themes: climate solutions, health and well-being, sustainable agriculture, and resilient communities.

CURRENT OFFERS:

Gund Institute Research Assistantship: We seek up to three PhD students working on Gund research themes, especially the connections among them. Students will receive up to four years of support at $32,000 per year, plus tuition

Gund Institute Barrett Assistantship: We seek up to two PhD students for a new opportunity provided by the Gund Institute and UVM’s College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (CEMS), supported by the Richard Barrett Foundation. Students will receive up to four years of funding, including an annual stipend of $35,000 and tuition.

Leadership for the Ecozoic: We seek up to three PhD students at UVM to pursue mutually-enhancing human-Earth relationships in a global research-to-action partnership with McGill University. Students receive three years of funding, including an annual stipend of $27,000, plus tuition.

All students receive health insurance. Conference and research funds are also available.

For full details, explore Gund PhD opportunities online (how to apply, qualifications, etc).

The Gund Institute catalyzes environmental research, develops real-world solutions to global issues, and connects UVM with leaders in government, business and beyond. We are committed to ensuring an inclusive environment where diverse voices and perspectives are active and welcome.

Leave a comment

Filed under anthropology

Meal Kits: Our Culinary Future?

photo of a toast

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Amy B. Trubek, University of Vermont

Americans spend more and more money on food prepared outside the home, and every day cooking becomes more episodic and less linked to gender and domestic obligations. Your grandmother would be surprised by your dinner preparations whether she was born in 1900, 1920, 1940 or 1960, whether she was or is a good cook, a terrible cook, a happy cook, a hostile cook.  At the same time, she would also find much that is familiar, especially the cycle of organizing, shopping, cooking and cleaning up. The past 50 years have borne witness to major social, economic and technological transformations to an obligatory chore. Highlighting the broad transformations and the immediate realities of making a meal is a new intervention in addressing the demands of everyday cooking – meal kits – that would intrigue anyone’s grandmother. You can now purchase all the components of a designed meal – the recipe along with the portioned ingredients – and have them delivered to your house. Although in the United States each meal kit service promises uniqueness – we’re vegan! Our packaging is compostable! We source locally! – there is a similar structure to all of them (for example, Blue Apron, Purple Carrot, Hello Fresh, Chefd ). The customer either subscribes to the service or orders individual meals from an online platform that provides a diverse array of meals to choose from. The ingredients and recipes are delivered to your home. But then you transform it from the raw to the cooked.

Are meal kits our future? My own research is preliminary but intriguing. In 2016, in the midst of finishing my book Making Modern Meals: How Americans Cook Today, a University of Vermont undergraduate, Adelaide Cummings, approached me after a lecture on the topic about her interest in doing an honor’s thesis exploring these. I had been following the launch of Blue Apron and Purple Carrot with great interest. Why not? We worked together to create a feasible pilot project, combining a qualitative experiment with non-users of meal kits (providing a week of meals and doing follow up interviews) with a quantitative survey of consistent users of them (providing a combination of open ended and multiple-choice questions). By the end of this small research project, we were cautiously confident that meal kits are here to stay.

We who do research on food and nutrition should investigate meal kits – their very existence reveals our cultural preoccupations and our culinary navigations. But they might also have predictive power, providing a window into the cooks and eaters we may become, serving as a talisman in a story of transformation to our everyday lives. Meal kits signal our on-going liberation from a long-standing reality: that in order to feed and nourish, first someone must prepare the meal. In 1960, Americans, on average, spent 80% of their food dollars on foods to be prepared inside the home. By 2015, that expenditure was down to 50%. What will we be doing in 2060? If meal kits allow us to create the cultural object we desire – a meal that nourishes and nurtures and comes from somewhere known, an endeavor that involves some effort but not much planning, a result that tastes good and not boring, repetitive or bland – then by 2060 they just might be the new normal.

The idea and the entrepreneurial activity to realize this idea are distinctly 21st century. The idea, interestingly, originated in Sweden, a nation and culture held up in the United States as a model of work/life balance, but where even so, making dinner every night can be a chore. The ‘invention’ is credited to Kristina Theander, a Swedish project manager interested in helping families figure out the ‘life puzzle’ of every day family activities. She launched Middagsfrid, which delivered bags of groceries with recipes to people’s doors in Stockholm; the business has expanded to deliver throughout multiple countries in Europe (Case Study) The first business in the United States based on delivering the components of a meal to be prepared at home was Blue Apron, founded in 2012 by three tech entrepreneurs. Other entrepreneurs (and now major companies such as Amazon) jumped into the game and now American companies generate over 1.5 billion dollars a year in sales of meal kits (See articles in the NY Times and Business Insider) .

Meal kits can be construed as a convenience product, but do they fall into the same category as frozen dinners and take away rotisserie chicken? The ingredients are compiled together in a warehouse and distribution center and then shipped in a cardboard box, ultimately delivered to the customer’s home. Each box contains ingredients that have been pre-measured and sometimes prepped for that specific recipe, as well as a recipe card with pictures to walk customers through the cooking process. Many companies, including Blue Apron, offer instructional videos for subscribers to learn different cooking skills that may appear in the recipes they receive.

Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under anthropology, anthropology of food, cooking, cuisine, culture, history

Thomas Marchione Award

Announcement: Thomas Marchione Award

Deadline July 27, 2018

Eligibility: all MA, MS or PhD students

For research exploring “the best and more sustainable approaches to fulfill the right to food” in the words of Dr. Thomas Marchione, whom we honor in presenting this award.

This annual award will be granted to a student whose work addresses food as a human right, including a focus on food justice, food security and access, food sovereignty and other areas where social justice and food intersect. Students should apply, even if they have not fully completed their research, because work-in-progress, and proposed work will also be considered. The winner will be awarded a cash prize ($750) and a one -year membership to the AAA and SAFN. More award information

 

Submit applications to Dr. Ryan Adams (adamsr@lycoming.edu), Lycoming College

Leave a comment

Filed under anthropology