2014 Culinaria Query: Can We Re-Set the Family Table?

 Domino Foods, Inc. 2014 Culinaria Query & Lecture Series

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.

The series is produced under the aegis of Culinariaa scholarly monograph series published by the SoFAB Center for Food Law, Policy & Culture, in partnership with the Tulane University Law School.  Culinaria e-publishes peer-reviewed articles on law, policy, and cultural issues involving food and drink in a timely manner, absent the delays common to traditional academic journals.

Many thanks to Domino Foods, Inc., the  National Title Sponsor of 2014 Culinaria Query & Lecture Series for supporting this exciting series.

The Queries

Chicago | August 13, 2014

SoFAB and the Chicago Foodseum hosted an intimate gathering to interact with our experts as they discuss the evolution and future of eating together as a family. Panelists included Kit Graham, a Chicago food blogger who runs The Kittchen, Monica Eng, a  reporter with the Chicago Tribune and WBEZ who focuses on food and consumer issues, Jimmy Bannos Sr., the Chef/Partner at The Purple Pig as well as the Chef/Owner of Heaven On Seven, and Bruce Kraig, food historian and author of Man Bites Dog.

New Orleans | September 29, 2014 | The 5th Annual Contemporary Issues in Food & Beverages Lecture

After we cut the ribbon on the Southern Food and Beverage Museum's new home, SoFAB welcomed Chef Jeremiah Tower as he gave the 5th Annual Contemporary Issues in Food & Beverages Lecture. His lecture, Do Smart Phones Replace the Family? explored the evolution of the family table as technology becomes more and more available. This lecture was the capstone of the 2014 Culinaria Query series.


Jeremiah Tower began his culinary career in 1972-1978 as co-owner and executive chef of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California. After the Balboa Café in Francisco, the Santa Fe Bar & Grill in Berkeley, and Ventana in Big Sur from 1978-1984, Jeremiah opened and owned several other successful and highly acclaimed restaurants in San Francisco (Stars, Stars Café, Speedo 690), Hong Kong (The Peak Café), Singapore (Stars) and Seattle (Stars). Jeremiah sold the Stars restaurants to an Asian group in 1998.  After four books and 26 shows for a PBS series, he moved to Italy and Mexico to SCUBA dive and research material for further books. Jeremiah has written several cookbooks, starting in 1980 as assistant and sometimes co-author with Richard Olney of the Time Life Books’ thirty volumes of The Good Cook. In 1986 he published the very successful and James Beard Foundation winner Jeremiah Tower's New American Classics. Since the 1980's Tower has promoted New American Cuisine with teaching engagements at culinary academies (C.C.A. and C.I.A), and through cooking expositions and classes in the United States and around the world.

New York | October 15, 2014

The New School in New York hosted a panel moderated by Elizabeth M. Williams, JD, President of the SoFAB Institute with Ava Chin, a Queens native and author of Eating Wildly: Foraging for Life, Love and the Perfect MealKrishnendu Ray, an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health at NYU and author of The Migrant's Table: Meals and Memories in Bengali-America Households; and Meryl Rosofsky, a writer and teacher about food, with special expertise in the culture and food systems of New Orleans, the East End of Long Island, and Tuscany. Hosted by Fabio Parasecoli, Associate Professor and co-chair, New School Food Studies Program.

San Fransisco | October 26, 2014

The SoFAB Institute, in cooperation with Culinary Historians of Northern California, presented the San Francisco debut of the annual Domino Foods, Inc. Culinaria Query & Lecture Series on Sunday, October 26 at 4:00 PM. The lively panel discussion took place in a lively setting, Biscuits & Blues, the celebrated Southern eatery and live music club in the heart of San Francisco's Theater District. The discussion was moderated by Philip M. Dobard, Vice President, SoFAB Institute; Director, SoFAB Media. Panelists included Linda Lau Anusasanan, Author, The Hakka Cookbook: Chinese Soul Food from around the World, John Birdsall, Senior Editor, CHOW,  Erica J. Peters, PhD, Director, Culinary Historians of Northern California; Author, San Francisco: A Food Biography, Appetites and Aspirations in Vietnam: Food and Drink in the Long Nineteenth Century, and Cheryl Sternman Rule, Author, RIPE: A Fresh, Colorful Approach to Fruits and Vegetables and Yogurt Culture; Founder, 5 Second Rule.