Spotlight on a Meal: A Ploughman’s Lunch from Borough Market

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Stichelton cheese

Image credit: David Matchett
Symposiast Jane Levi considers the politics of a ploughman’s lunch

Every year for the last 35 years a group of food-obsessed scholars, cooks and others from all over the world have gathered together in an Oxford college and spent a joyous weekend thinking about, talking about and eating food. The Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery, a charitable educational trust, will meet again over the weekend of 7th-9th July 2017, and this time one of their newest Trustees, David Matchett — who by day is the Market Development Manager at Borough Market — will be bringing lunch for his 250 fellow symposiasts with him.
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Spotlight on a Meal: Boyne Valley Banquet

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Dawn in the Boyne Valley

M áirtín Mac Con Iomaire introduces a banquet for the 2017 Symposium produced by the Boyne Valley Food Series, sponsored by Fáilte Ireland

What was the inspiration for this meal?

This meal is centered around the landscape and mythology of the Boyne Valley in northeast Ireland. When the Irish goddess Boann upset the Well of Inspiration, it boiled over in outrage. The river was born and took its name—Boyne—from her.
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Food and Landscape: The Olive Groves of Ayvalık

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The olive groves of Ayvalık

Symposiast Aylin Öney Tan traces the way in which olive groves have shaped a Turkish townscape

Does the landscape that surrounds us define our culture? My answer would be a definite yes. The natural environment dictates what we eat, what we produce, what we create, and even how we think. As someone who has a background in architecture and conservation practices, I am excited to see that heritage sites are now being evaluated as cultural landscapes; in some cases including agricultural landscapes as an integral part of heritage. Agriculture is an inseparable part of our heritage; as its name readily suggests, it is a part of our culture and basis of our existence in nature.
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Bottling Status

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rom Anonymous:’Kuchemaistrey’, Nuremberg, 1485.

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The Portable Sauces of Medieval Germany

Volker Bach continues his occasional series on German historical recipes.

The recipe collection of Master Hans, court cook at Wurttemberg (Maister Hannsen des von Wirtenberg Koch1) preserves a number of interesting and often enticing recipes and anecdotes. Written in 1460, this manuscript is one of the most important and most readable sources for the culinary world of late medieval German courts. Experts think its author was personal chef (koch zer kamer i.e. cook of the chamber) to Count Ulrich V of Wurttemberg (1433-1480), and the character of the recipes – rich, extravagant, often playful and luxurious – fits this interpretation. If it is true, Count Ulrich was well served.
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Food and Landscape: Inglourious Bustards

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Grouse butt on Marrick Moor

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Symposiast Thom Eagle considers whether game is a wild or a farmed food

There is no wilderness in Britain. The landscape which today forms the battleground between conservationist and gentry is only the latest expression of the work of millennia, to subjugate wildness into something amenable to humanity. The land is manmade. Once a vast forest covered the country, almost to the peaks of the uplands; the Broads and the Fens were water; the Suffolk coast was heath and wood. The nature which inhabits these industrial landscapes is that which we allow to exist – everything dangerous is long-gone, and everything not useful has retreated. Hares, snails, pigeons, rabbits, deer, introduced by waves of invaders and migrants as sources of food or entertainment, have all become part of the British ecosystem. Nothing is natural, nothing is wild; a muntjac eats the brambles in my garden.
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Food and Landscape: Fields in Fulham

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Late 17th century vegetable garden. From The new art of gardening by Leonard Meager

Symposiast Malcolm Thick finds the ghost of farmers’ fields in Fulham

Many (many) years ago I slept on the floor of a friend’s house one August while doing some research in the National Archives in London. The house was one of a small Victorian terrace on the busy Fulham Palace Road in West London. On the other side of the road was a large cemetery where my housemates went mushrooming in the early morning. Continue reading

July 2017 Wikithon announced

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Image from a previous wikithon at the British Library

This July the Oxford Symposium on Food & Cookery is teaming up with the Bodleian Library and the British Library for a WIKI-EDITATHON on the 7th July at St Catherine’s College, Oxford University

Do you feel discouraged by the culture of “alternate facts”? Do you still value evidence based information? If so, come and join us for a Wikieditathon taking place at St Catherine’s College on Friday 7th July, 11.00 – 15.00 ahead of the start of the 2017 OSFC. This workshop will provide you with all the skills and resources necessary to create new entries for and edit existing entries on the world’s most consulted encyclopedia.
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Invitation to The Oxford Food & Museum Project

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The Oxford Food & Museum Project
Foodwriters’ views on objects from Oxford University Museum Collections
Linda Roodenburg and Laura Van Broekhoven
invite all those attending
our 2017 Oxford Symposium on Food & Cookery
to the first event of
The Oxford Museum Project
to be held at
The Pitt Rivers Museum
on Friday July 7th 2017
from 1pm-3pm

 

The Oxford Museum Project is intended as an on-going collaboration between the museums of Oxford, many of which are rich in food-and-cookery-related artefacts, and those among our Symposiasts who would like to take advantage of an opportunity to expand their understanding of the history and practice of growing, preparing and cooking the world’s daily dinner. Continue reading

It Tastes Green

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Original book source: Prof. Dr. Otto Wilhelm Thomé Flora von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz 1885, Gera, Germany

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The rise, fall and persistence of galium odoratum

Volker Bach continues his occasional series on German historical recipes.

Many colour-flavour combinations are intuitive. An orange or yellow drink is likely to be citrus-flavoured, a red one will probably taste of berries. Green is harder to place. In France, you can be confident you will enjoy a refreshing menthe a l’eau while in the United States, lime is the safer bet. In Germany, the traditional culinary code dictates that green lemonade, ice cream or jelly taste of woodruff.

Known by its German colloquial name as Waldmeister (master of the forest), this plant with its distinctive white flowers and crowns of leaves around the stem grows in deciduous forests throughout Germany and can be gathered wild in spring and early summer. The leaves and stems can be used to flavour drinks and sweets. This is best done by allowing them to wilt slightly after they are picked and then pouring boiling water over them to extract the aroma. Steeping them for extended periods is not recommended because of their high coumarin content, but happens frequently. The result is an occasional headache.
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Symposium Proceedings Free on Google Books

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Food and Material Culture

We are pleased to announce that another volume of our proceedings is now freely available on Google Books: Food and Material Culture.

Find out about turkish coffee, table manners or thalis here.

The Symposium proceedings are published by Prospect Books for three years after publication. After this point they are freely available on Google Books.

Other recently available titles on Google Books include: Wrapped and Stuffed Foods, Celebration , and Cured, Fermented and Smoked Foods.