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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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

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

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.

Symposiasts at Work: Naomi Duguid

Fiona Sinclair and Andrew Dalby introduce Symposiast Naomi Duguid

Naomi Duguid.

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.
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Fumbling for Terroir

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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 [1]. 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.
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Next Wikieditathon Date Announced

 Image via Pixabay.” width= Image credit

On 21 January 2017 millions of people across the globe marched on behalf of women’s rights and, by extension, all forms of discrimination. Now, many wonder what tangible steps they can take to actually forward this ideology. A simple but meaningful way to do so is by adding responsible material to Wikipedia, the world’s most consulted encyclopedia, that can redress the imbalances of its current content.

Over the last 18 months, in collaboration with the British Library and Wikimedia, the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery has hosted three Wikieditathons. These events, held at the British Library, have provided training and support for Wikiediting with the aim of increasing (and improving) the volume of wiki entries about food, especially entries about women’s contributions to food and cooking culture (statistically 90% of wiki editors are men and this gender bias is reflected in Wiki content).

So far our Wikiedits have attracted MA students, historians and cookery writers as well as amateur food enthusiasts. The project has contributed a number of new and diverse entries on Wikipedia including information about the early twentieth century cookery writer Florence White, post-partum practices on feeding practices in modern-day China, a translation from German to English of an entry about the 16th-century cookbook author Anna Wecker and a page about the writer and hostess Mrs C. F. Leyel. A OFS Wiki webpage containing details of entries edited and added so far and a list of suggested entries still missing on Wikipedia will be available soon. In addition to the Wikiedits taking place in London, satellite events have taken place at the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute and NYU Food Studies and there are plans for events to take place in Istanbul, Texas, Australia and Paris in 2017.

The next Wikiedit will be held at the British Library on: 28th April from 10.00 – 17.00

Anyone interested to learn how to Wikiedit or wanting to improve their editing skills or just to edit in a friendly environment with a group of food enthusiasts is more than welcome to attend. We would also love to hear from people with Wiki editing skills who might be able to help with training and assistance. The British Library OSFC Wikiedits include lunch and refreshments, training from experienced Wikimedia staff and a brief but brilliant lunchtime talk – at the last event in July attendees were lucky enough hear from Barbara Ketcham Wheaton about her incredible cookery book database.

Please contact Carolin Young if you would like to attend the training event on the 28th April: young.carolin@gmail.com.

Please contact Polly Russell if you are an experienced Wikieditor and able to offer assistance on the day: polly.russell@bl.uk.

More information about the Wiki project can be found here.