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November 2, 2006

   

Gastronomica Editor to Discuss
History of Feasting in Europe

photo of Lippmann

On Friday, Nov. 10, the new Tri-College Food Studies Initiative will bear its first fruit: a talk by culinary historian Darra Goldstein, one of the most influential figures in the emerging field of food studies. Goldstein, a professor of Russian at Williams College and the founding editor of Gastronomica: the Journal of Food and Culture, will deliver a talk titled "Feeding Desire: The Orchestration of the Meal" at 4:30 p.m. in Thomas 224.

Goldstein's talk grows out of an exhibition, Feeding Desire: Design and the Tools of the Table, 1500-2005, that was recently mounted at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. Goldstein co-authored the exhibition catalog and co-curated the show, which examined the evolution of European and American dining through the design and function of eating implements. “For the past couple of years,” Goldstein confessed to the readers of Gastronomica, “I've been near-obsessed with table manners and the way we deliver food to our mouths.”

In her talk at Bryn Mawr, Goldstein will explore the development of European feasts, from the ribald gatherings of the Middle Ages to the opulent banquets of the Renaissance and beyond. Her talk will trace the evolution of place settings and table decorations and look at the progression of courses and the foods that were served. The origin of the term "banquet" — originally a dessert course — will be discussed, along with mealtime entertainment and the service of the meal.

Goldstein is the author of numerous articles and four books on cooking and culinary history, as well as many publications on Russian art, literature and design. Her book The Georgian Feast won the Julia Child Award for best cookbook of the year, and Culinary Culture of Europe: Identity, Diversity and Dialogue won the 2005 World Cookbook Award. She has won the Sophie Coe Prize in Food History, which is awarded annually at the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery. Her research has been funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the International Research and Exchange Board, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies and the Mellon Foundation.

Named one of Library Journal's Best New Magazines of 2001, Gastronomica publishes scholarship, humor, fiction, poetry and visual imagery. The journal, Goldstein says, uses food “as an important source of knowledge about different cultures and societies, provoking discussion and encouraging thoughtful reflection on the history, literature, representation and cultural impact of food.”

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