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.
rom Anonymous:’Kuchemaistrey’, Nuremberg, 1485.
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.
Grouse butt on Marrick Moor
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.
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
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.
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
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
Original book source: Prof. Dr. Otto Wilhelm Thomé Flora von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz 1885, Gera, Germany
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.
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.
Fiona Sinclair and Andrew Dalby introduce Symposiast Naomi Duguid
Image credit: Nanna Rögnvaldardóttir
A new book from Naomi Duguid is a reason to celebrate,” said David Tanis in the New York Times, setting the tone for a seductive review of Naomi’s Taste of Persia (published in September 2016). She is now author or part-author of eight books. Naomi has recently become a Trustee of the Oxford Food Symposium: and so, for the Symposium blog, Fiona asked her when she first heard of the Symposium and why it attracted her.
Pewterware beer mug.
Volker Bach examines what Renaissance German beer culture can teach us about an elusive concept
In 1575, the German lawyer and beer connoisseur Heinrich Knaust published Five Books on the Divine and Noble Gift, the Philosophical, Precious and Wonderful Art of Brewing Beer . In it, he writes:
“Regarding flavour, there is very great difference among beers, for above the common flavour of all beers, some are sweet, some slightly bitter, some partly sharp, some have a wine-like (weinlich) taste, …” (p. 67)
This book comes from a beer culture that thought of the origin of beers in terms very similar to the modern idea of terroir. Beers were traded as distinctive local products that connoisseurs understood intimately, certain varieties were chosen for specific occasions, and even illicit copying was a problem.