A family firm of long standing, artisanal butchery, local product, and absolutely no factory farming. Image source: Wikimedia
The fraught history of Germans eating horses
Volker Bach continues his occasional series on German historical recipes.
Culinary history has not enjoyed great regard in German academia. Scholars long viewed it as trivial, and errors abound even in relatively recent publications. There is one point, though, that every medieval historian in the country is aware of: the church banned the eating of horsemeat.
Polly Russell, OSFC Trustee and British Library Curator introduces a series of events at the British Library April – May 2018
Late last year a colleague from the Events team at the British Library where I work as a Curator asked me if I’d be interested in curating a food-focussed season of talks and tastings. He had hardly finished asking the question when I answered with a resounding ‘yes’. As a Curator with a focus on food and a Trustee of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery (OSFC), the opportunity to facilitate a series of conversations about food at the British Library was too good to be true. At the risk of irking my non-food focussed curator colleagues, I would hazard that food is the topic most represented throughout the library’s millions of items. Whether it is handwritten manuscripts or printed cookery books, letters and diaries revealing the intimate details of eating habits, historical patents of cooking technology or in-depth oral histories of food producers, food is present in the British Library’s collections. The Food Season, therefore, offers a wonderful opportunity to introduce these collections to new audiences and to instigate a series of lively conversations about food in the past, present and future.
The 2017 Young Chefs: Deborah Ryan and Girish Nayak.
Deborah Ryan, one of the 2017 Young Chefs, reflects on her experience at the Symposium
I first heard about the Oxford Symposium through my university lecturer, Máirtín Mac Con Iomaire, a trustee of the symposium. I had been looking to broaden my knowledge of gastronomy outside university and to push myself into new fields.
I began cooking at age 16 in the restaurant kitchen of Ballymaloe House in Cork, Ireland. I would cook here in the summers and holidays when I wasn’t at school. I started to connect to the ethos of using local ingredients and suppliers. I took a year off before starting university and travelled to work in San Francisco then Rome. I worked as an intern in the Rome Sustainable Food Project, started by Alice Waters. This completely changed my cooking style and introduced me to the importance of sustainability in food. I returned to Ireland to study a degree in Culinary Arts in Dublin. Last summer I did an internship working in River Cottage, UK. When I learned that the 2017 theme of the symposium was “Food and Landscape”, I knew I would find it fascinating.
Harold McGee, a trustee of the Symposium, introduces the 2018 Young Chef Grant
It’s time to spread the good word again: the Oxford Symposium invites young culinarians to apply for grants to participate in this year’s edition, 6-8 July. The application deadline is 1 March 2018.
The Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery is the original international food conference, now in its fourth decade, and open to anyone who’s interested, professional or amateur, chef or student. I attended my first in 1985. It’s impressive not only for the range of subjects and participants and contributions, but also for the convivial communal meals, which nowadays are prepared by guest chefs to illuminate each year’s theme. (They’ve come a long way since 1985!)
Image credit: Philip Walker
The Symposium’s President, Claudia Roden, pays tribute to Harlan Walker who passed away on 16th December 2017
Harlan Walker was the much loved angel of the Oxford Symposium, for years seeing to absolutely everything that made the Symposium possible, from editing and printing the papers to organizing and running the registration and catering arrangements.
He ran everything single handedly, sometimes with the help of his son Philip and other members of his family, until the early 2000s. He continued to attend trustee meetings giving advice and helping to solve problems even when he was unwell.
The deep history of humble apfelmus
Volker Bach continues his occasional series on German historical recipes.
In modern German cuisine, apfelmus is a ubiquitous staple usually served with potato pancakes or as a dessert in its own right. Supermarkets sell industrially produced versions cheaply in glass jars or carton packages, and organic makers often combine theirs with other fruit or spices to make it more interesting. It looks entirely like a product of the twentieth century, but this commonplace food has a long and noble tradition.
Food and Markets
We are pleased to announce that another volume of our proceedings is now available on Google Books for free: Food and Markets.
Learn about the Egyptian Bazaar in Istanbul, the kosher poultry racket in early twentieth century New York, the beginnings of the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo and more here.
The Symposium proceedings are published by Prospect Books for three years after publication. After this point they are available for free on Google Books.
The Trustees report on feedback from the 2017 Symposium
After the Symposium this past July, we asked Symposiasts to leave us feedback in our online Visitor’s Book. Thank you to everyone for your many constructive and insightful ideas! We are in the process of looking into the feasibility of your suggestions, great and small.
Girish Nayak. Photo credit: Nanna Rögnvaldardóttir
Girish Nayak, one of the 2017 Young Chefs, reflects on his experience at the Symposium
Please tell us about your career to date.
I started baking when I was 18 years old in my college bakery and I wasn’t really interested in taking it up as a profession during my time there. Once I finished college, I started working in local halwa shops and bakeries in a Southern coastal part of India called Udupi. It was here that it got really interesting: the products that were created from just flour, water, yeast and salt were just amazing. Wanting to get more knowledge in this field. I enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, New York. I used to bake bread part time at the school and during my time in New York I got to work and intern under some of the best pastry chefs in the country at Jean George, Gotham Bar and Grill, Bouchon Bakery, Amy Bread Bakery. I left NYC and came back to India to try and help develop an Indian pastry/baking program. Now I help run a bakery which caters to two restaurants called Olive Beach and Toast and Tonic in Bangalore. I am also an adjunct professor in the baking and pastry program at the Manipal University.
The second edition of Sir Hugh Plat’s book on gardening.
‘…Such as are old and withered, or else… such as are stark naught’ – Symposiast Malcolm Thick on the variable quality of garden seeds in early Modern England
Without seeds it is impossible to grow most vegetables and, as bread is made from ground seeds, that too would not exist without them. Seeds are therefore the starting point of most gardening and I hope to discuss imports of new types of vegetable seed at the 2018 Symposium. Meanwhile, many of you will be familiar with the biblical parable of the sower in Matthew 13:
3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;
4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:
5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:
6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.