Food in Contemporary America

Moderators: Allison Ryan and Nancy D’Amato
Role of participants: To present at least one hour session on a topic chosen from a list to be provided (see sample topics below).
Number of participants (including the moderators): 20
Time: Wednesdays, 9:30 am–11:30 am [Note: earlier time]
Place: Smith College, Dewey Hall, Common Room, Northampton
Parking: You will be issued a Smith campus parking permit

In each 2-hr session participants will present/debate topics in food and contemporary America.  These may include, for example, the science of taste, cooking, and cookware, food movements (slow, locovore, etc.), diets and fads, nutrition and superfoods, the role of celebrity chefs and the media, the food industry, GMO’s; food quality and safety, the rise of food allergies and food-related health issues, especially obesity.

Selected bibliographies will be suggested for the topic list but participants will have many degrees of freedom as they design their presentations.

Format: Seminar

Resources: (Tentative) core readings:

  • Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor by Hervé This
  • The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
  • Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss

The moderators: Both of us are enthusiastic cooks with eclectic tastes and champion eaters, perhaps even foodies.  Plus we have concerns about how food fits into a broader social context.

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