2016 Culinaria Query | Culinary Diplomacy
Plating up Diplomacy: The Role Food Can Play in Bridging Cultures, a lecture by Lauren Bernstein, was the 2016 Contemporary Issues in Food & Drink Lecture Series presented by Domino Foods, Inc.
The Diplomatic Culinary Partnership is a relatively new program of the U.S. Department of State, recognizing the place of food in sharing the culture of the United States of America with the world. At SoFAB we enjoyed a lecture from Lauren Bernstein, attorney and the Director of the Diplomatic Culinary Partnership on this topic. Bernstien discussed the history of Culinary Diplomacy, how this program is developing, and the policy matters it covers. We learned how the program shares the culture of America around the world with chefs and food policy discussions.
2015 Culinaria Query | Food: Sense or Science?
Do we eat with our mouths? Or with our minds? And is eating—both a basic necessity and one of life’s great pleasures—still fun? Food is one of today’s most fervently discussed topics. Round the clock, from the mass media of television and radio, to the Internet and bookstore shelves, we are bombarded with messages about every imaginable aspect of food. Perhaps even more intriguing are the dietary messages we send ourselves, and how they inform not only the culinary decisions we make, but also how we feel about feeding ourselves. What is it about food that we have become so obsessed with it, and how is this fascination manifesting itself in our culture? Gone is the time when we could simply appreciate a tomato. Now we ask the origin of its seeds, and whether this strain or that hybrid is better for my blood type. It is a time when seemingly everyone, from lawmakers to gluten-free bakers, has an opinion on, or even a say in, what we consume and why. In asking “Food: Sense or Science?,” CULINARIA Query 2015 examines the place food currently holds in our collective consciousness and seeks to reconcile eating, feeling, and information.
2014 Culinaria Query | Can We Re-Set the Family Table?
It is widely understood that as a society we have moved from the cultural practice of gathering around the table for a family meal to munching on the go, in the car, on the hoof, even at the gym, and grazing all day instead of, well, eating. This cultural shift has been identified as damaging for both family dynamics and our waistlines. Does this perspective reflect actual historical and social developments? Given the realities of modern life, we cannot return to the idealized, and largely imagined, family life depicted in the situation comedies of 1950s television. However, are family meals still important to society in general and the healthy functioning of individual families? Can food and its preparation, service, and consumption still be considered a primary way of passing on a family’s shared values and traditions? “Culinaria Query: Can We Re-Set the Family Table?” addresses this situation and discusses its remedies.
2013 Culinaria Query | Is Food Art?
The question has been posed since the age of the Greek philosophers: What is art, and what makes it different from the work of a technician or skilled laborer? The query may never be answered conclusively, but it is still being considered. The SoFAB Institute has entered the fray with a series of public discussions held around the country in 2013, all under the banner “Culinaria Query: Is Food Art?”