Spotlight on a Meal: The Sustainable Food Story’s Lunch

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Mustard seeds for 250 people

Abi Aspen Glencross and Sadhbh Moore of The Sustianable Food Story introduce their lunch from the 2018 Symposium on Seeds.
1. Please tell us a bit about yourself, your background in food, and your current role?

The Sustainable Food Story burst into life one fateful afternoon when ebullient and chatty Abi Aspen Glencross came to meet the equally ebullient and possibly even chattier Sadhbh Moore at The Skip Garden, following an e-troduction by food campaigner Tristram Stuart.

Sadhbh grew up in a family of ecogastronomes on an organic homestead in rural Ireland where fishing, foraging, picking veg and herbs from the garden and baking bread were all part of the daily routine. She studied Sustainable Development at the University of St Andrews, gaining an academic perspective that reinforced the appreciation for how she was brought up. After working with Greenpeace, other environmental organisations and a stint living in rural India she gravitated back towards what made her heart sing; harvesting fresh produce and turning it into something to be shared with her community.
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2015 Symposium Proceedings Free on Google Books

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Food and Communication

We are pleased to announce that another volume of our proceedings is now available on Google Books for free: Food and Communication.

Learn about the etiquette of slurping in Japan, tattoos in the kitchen, the ideology of cookbooks from the Spanish Civil War 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.
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Borlotti Beans

Symposium trustee Gamze Ineceli introduces a seed planting project started after last year’s Symposium on food and landscape

This is a story of seven regions and seven landscapes where centuries-old production and conservation methods endure from season to season and generation to generation, whose purpose is to preserve, sustain and continue.

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Top row left to right: Alaçatı / İzmir; Karaman; Kars; Antakya. Middle row left to right: Çanakkale; Çanakkale ; Bodrum / Muğla; Cappadocia / Nevşehir; Cappadocia / Nevşehir. Bottom row: Trabzon; Trabzon; Bozcaada / Çanakkale; Tekirdağ; Diyarbakır

Seven regions of Anatolia planted and nurtured dwarf borlotti beans that were graciously donated to the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery by Franchi Seeds in collaboration with the Eden Project and David Matchett of the Borough Market.

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Map of Turkey showing the growing areas for the borlotti beans

The Jewels of Life : A Seed Atelier

We are delighted to introduce one of our evening activities at the 2018 Symposium: jewellery making from seeds and an exhibition led by Gönül Paksoy

Gönül Paksoy, who’ll be conducting after-dinner ateliers in seed-based jewellery at the Symposium, is an İstanbul-based artist, author and designer of clothes and jewellery whose work has been exhibited around the world:

I approach my work in the belief that small efforts will produce a major contribution towards our planet’s future. Learn from the song-thrush, a bird that, after eating its fill of the juniper berries it adores, is said to germinate the seeds in its stomach before placing them in the soil right next to a juniper tree, thus creating a juniper forest. Each of us, if we so choose, can create a great forest just like the song-thrush that places fruit seeds in the soil.

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Jewellery designed by Gönül Paksoy, photographs by Lalehan Uysal

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Jewellery designed by Gönül Paksoy, photographs by Lalehan Uysal. Seeds from L to R. Top row: pomelo, wild date. Middle row: asparagus, muscat, cardoon. Bottom row: pumpkin, anatolian watermelon.

Wiki-Food and Mostly Women Event 23 May 2018

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Help redress the Wikipedia gender imbalance by spending a day improving its coverage of food related topics, especially but not exclusively those related to women, in this Wiki-editathon on 23 May 2018 10:00-16:30 at the British Library in London.

Join a group of Wiki-editors, originally created by the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery and the British Library in 2014, which includes leading food scholars, students and interested amateurs, with members contributing from across the globe.

The group is part of a broader effort led by Wikipedia to redress imbalances in its current content. Although it’s ‘free and anyone can contribute’, Wikipedia discovered that over 90% of those who actually do so are white men. Join us to tackle this gender imbalance in the food-arena as a dedicated part of Wikipedia’s effort to improve these statistics across a spectrum of fields.

Participants of all backgrounds and experience levels are welcome. This event is only bookable by phone. When booking, participants will be asked their experience of editing Wiki, and details of any particular topic or individual they are interested in editing or writing about.

Register by calling +44 (0)1937 546546

Find out more about the Wiki project here.

Having Friends for Dinner

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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.

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Unleash Your Inner Gourmet, Feed Your Intellectual Hunger – The British Library’s forthcoming Food Season

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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.
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Young Chef Report 2017: Deborah Ryan

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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.
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