Gastronomy Design Contest

The Gastronomy program may be a relatively small one at Boston University, but our growing community is strong, and our students are passionate about food, cooking, culture, sustainability, and eating locally.

As a way to bring our group closer together, we’ve decided to launch a canvas tote bag design contest, just for Gastronomy students and alumni!

Here’s how this will work:

  • Students can submit as many designs as they like to lucia.austria[at]gmail[dot]com, until Tuesday, March 20, 2012.
  • We’ll select our favorites from the submissions, and then post them to this blog, where everyone will be able to vote for their favorite.
  • Whichever designer gets the most votes will get his or her design printed on a canvas tote bagand receive a free tote!

We’ll setup an online store through where you can decide on what size tote bag to purchase to show off your swag around campus. There’s no purchase deadline, and your bag will be sent directly to you. A portion of the proceeds for each bag will go toward Gastronomy Student Association events.

Here are the rules for submissions:

  • BU has specified that we can use any design, as long as it doesn’t make use of any Boston University logos. Feel free to be creative!
  • Your design must include
    • “BU Gastronomy” or
    • “Gastronomy @ BU” or
    • “Boston University Gastronomy”

File specifications:

  • Resolution should be 150 pixels/inch (ppi)
  • Color mode should be sRGB or RGB
  • PNG preferred, JPG accepted
  • Available space is 2375 x 2375 pixels, or 16 x 16 inches

Do you design better with a pencil than a mouse? No problem! Submissions of scanned artwork are accepted, just as long as the file follows these guidelines as best as possible. Entries up for vote will be converted to these exact specifications.

Good luck!

Final Project: Appliance Cookbooks Exhibit

One of our core classes, Survey of the History of Food, requires students to create a final project or paper for the end of the semester. But this fall, Professor Kyri Claflin took a different approach, encouraging students to design a food exhibit rather than a more traditional research paper. Hear from one of her students, Lucia Austria, below, and check out the food exhibit website that she created with Tiesha Lewis.

by Lucia Austria

On the first day of class, Kyri Claflin presented her grand idea for a final project to give her ML622 Survey of the History of Food class—design a food exhibit.  It was a museological approach to the history of food that takes a theme and teaches a public audience about its significance, as well as why that knowledge is relevant today. Groups were to present their topic on the last night of class, and each student was responsible for writing their own research paper related to that topic. The class had the freedom to choose their own theme and groups.

Sounds interesting? Yes, it was certainly a welcome change from the normal 15-18 page research paper. Sounds easy? No, it definitely wasn’t. The class had a difficult time forming groups, because let’s face it, choosing just one topic in the wide scope of food history is pretty daunting. There are infinite themes, time periods, and foods to choose from, and I already had a hard enough time deciding what to bring for the class snack.

By the fourth class, I still had no idea what aspect of food history I wanted to research, and hardly any groups were formed. We had a guest speaker that night, the curator for the Schlesinger Library at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute, Marylène Altieri. She gave us an amazing presentation on the culinary collections available at Schlesinger, included the type of cookbooks one could find and use in their research.

I was inspired by Marylène ‘s presentation Being an aspiring antique cookbook collector myself, I decided to find other students interested in researching cookbooks. Together with Tiesha Lewis, who also has a personal interest in cookbooks, we narrowed down our topic to appliance cookbooks.

Despite their categorization as culinary ephemera, Tie and I felt that a lot could be discovered from such cultural debris. From preliminary research, we learned that due to the harnessing of electric power, there was a surge of appliances manufactured during the early half of the 20thcentury. We eventually focused our project on using appliance cookbooks published between the 1920s and 1960s and their influence on American housewives.

Tie and I pulled the content for our presentation from our individual research paper topics. She aimed to answer the question of whether appliance cookbooks were truly representative of daily cooking and consumption practices, as well as the social norms imposed by appliance manufacturers on women. Extending the use of culinary ephemera beyond serving mere nostalgia, I investigated the marketing and advertising practices of the appliance industry by using basic semiotic theory when researching appliance cookbooks. Together, we created our exhibit website, “Appliance Cookbooks: Transforming Women & Food.” From our research at Schlesinger, we came up with four main themes that our exhibit that we felt would tell the story of women and kitchen appliances. Tie and I put together a video and created graphics that communicated a “museum feel.”

The project took a lot of time and visits to Schlesinger, but it was a great exercise at archival research and doing food history. We learned a lot about appliance cookbooks, and thanks to our exhibit website, you can too.

Local Uncorked Wine Dinner at Local 149

For our new student bloggers or anyone out there trying to get more readers (and honestly, aren’t we all?), one of the best ways to stay connected is by checking out Boston Food Bloggers, a blog roll and communications hub of some of the best food-obsessed writers and bloggers in the city. Besides being a great way to get the word out about your food blog, as well as finding new blogs to obsess over, the author and organizer of the blog (Rachel Leah Blumenthal of Fork it Over, Boston!) does an incredible job planning different networking and social events for bloggers to meet up around Boston. Many of these events are free, and include a wide variety of locations and activities, like cruises, pub crawls, and tastings.

While many of our students run blogs and have attended past Boston Food Bloggers events, one of the most recent outings was a delightful wine dinner, held at Local 149 with wine pairings provided by local distributer Ruby Wines. Our own Emily Olson, a talented blogger and co-head of the Student Association for the Gastronomy program, was able to attend this event and offered to share her recent post with the program’s blog readers. Check out Emily’s personal food blog, What Emily Cooks, and read all about her experience with the Boston Food Bloggers. And don’t forget to submit your own blog to this wonderful website!

Discovering A Memorable Feast

Following our look at Dan Remar’s blog, The French Adventure, we’ll continue to highlight student blogs that look at food at new and intriguing ways. Gastronomy student Kate Hamman has put together a fascinating blog that assembles food memories and stories, looking at how something as simple as a taste or smell can invoke strong emotions and nostalgia. 

Check out her story below and explore the blog, A Memorable Feast – and please consider submitting a food memory of your very own to contribute to this exciting project.

by Kate Hamman

Everyone has a story about food, whether it be about their grandmother’s signature dish, a cooking mishap, their favorite place to grab a {insert food item here}, a wacky family tradition, or the best or worst thing they have ever tasted. I created A Memorable Feast in 2008 to serve as a community space where these stories can shine.
The blog has received an incredible variety of fascinating topics and moving memories. Whether it is a rant about black licorice or a heartfelt tale of learning to live with kimchi, these stories offer a window into the profound role food plays in individual lives. I, myself, have written about everything from my fondness for condiments (it’s a bit obsessive) to the klutzy, yet compassionate, killing of my first lobster. The future of the blog depends largely on its community, but as long as there are great meals and stories to share, I will keep publishing people’s edible extravaganzas. New stories are always welcome and can be submitted via the blog.

Open Classes for Spring 2012

Having trouble picking out your classes for next semester? We’ve got just the thing to help you out. There are a number of wonderful courses available for Spring 2012, and the following classes still have a few slots left. Several of these are special topics courses that will not be offered regularly. Check them out and register today to secure a slot!


ML 610 A1 The Big Fat Fat Controversy
6-9pm, GCB 201

The word “fat” is charged with many meanings and associations. There is the biochemical entity called fat, the stuff that fills our adipose tissues. Fat, one of the macronutrients that constitute our food, is an ingredient in a myriad of dishes. Fat is associated with ill-health, particularly Type II diabetes. Fat gives shape to the human form, thus contributing to body image. Effort may be expended, via dieting and training, to eliminate bodily fat or reconfigure it as muscle. And fat represents different things in different cultures. This course will try to circle the girth of this amazingly rich subject.


ML 610 B1 Alcohol & Culture
6-9pm, EOP 266

In Italy, France and Germany alcoholic beverages are considered an important part of the daily diet and commensality. In many African countries, alcohol has important ritual uses and is often used in rites of passage. In the United States, Americans have a fraught relationship with alcohol–from Prohibition to binge drinking. This course will explore the culture of alcohol in historic and contemporary contexts throughout the globe. The course material will focus on such topics as: locality and taste; gender and drinking; questions of morality; and the medicinal uses of alcohol.

ML 612 B1 Pots and Pans
6-9pm, STO 253

Exploration of the food cultures and technologies through material culture- pots, pans, and utensils. Course will range broadly across cultures, time, and space with emphasis on medieval and early modern times. Life histories of humble, overlooked, everyday objects associated with food preparation and consumption; kitchens from prehistory to the present; tradition and fashion in cooking & dining vessels; pots and cooking technology; pots as metaphors & symbols.


ML 722 C1 Food Activism
6-9pm, CAS 325

In this class students will explore the work of anthropologists and other social scientists on food activism citizens’ efforts to promote social and economic justice through food practices and challenge the global corporate agrifood system. The class will explore diverse individual and collective forms of food activism including veganism, gleaning, farmers’ markets, organic farming, fair trade, CSAs, buying groups, school gardens, anti-GMO movements, Slow Food, Via Campesina, and others. It will address the questions: what is food activism, what are its goals, what is working and not working, and what are the results?


ML 610 EL Culinary Tourism

Culinary tourism is “eating out of curiosity.” This approach to food has had significant impacts on the development of cuisines, political history, and the relationships between groups of people. This class will explore culinary tourism from an interdisciplinary perspective as a human impulse, an historical force representing power structures, and a theme within tourism. It will ask what it means for individuals to eat the food of an “other,” and whether or not such eating can lead to cultural understanding and ecological and economic sustainability. Students will also learn basic principles of tourism by completing a project developing a culinary tourism product (trail, vacation, tour, food item, restaurant).