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.
Naomi Kelsey. Photo credit: Nanna Rögnvaldardóttir
Naomi Kelsey, one of the 2016 Young Chefs, reflects on her experience at the Symposium
My passion for food began at a young age: baking cakes with my mum and making fresh pasta with my dad and siblings; hanging fettuccine from horizontal broom handles set up all around the conservatory. I spent my first week in an industrial kitchen at 15 on a school arranged work experience at Lincoln College in Oxford, soon followed by part-time work at 16 in the kitchen at St Catherine’s College. I started on the Sunday shift making 9lbs of pizza dough, roasting over 50kg of potatoes and vast amounts of veg for the students’ Sunday lunch. Over summer holidays this became more of a full-time vocation and I would help in the pastry, larder and vegetarian sections. After finishing A levels and being utterly confused and unconvinced about following my peers and school expectations on going to university, I decided to spend a year doing a Diploma in Cookery at City of Oxford College. Two years and a couple of stints at charity dinners with locally esteemed chefs later, I finished my course and was free to explore the wonders of the professional kitchen, full time.
During my 4 years at St Catherine’s, and being the daughter of the head chef, Tim Kelsey, I was well aware of the Symposium and had heard about the wonders of the food and (occasionally eccentric) chefs that came in to the kitchen over the weekend. I think that the way catering is taught in college is highly focused on the practical aspect and less on the ethics, source and history behind food so feeling like this theoretic domain was lacking in my knowledge and awareness, I thought it would be an ideal opportunity to try and attend some lectures from prestigious food experts and enthusiasts at the Oxford Symposium.
In the weeks and days running up to the Symposium there is a buzz and an impending sense of organisation and logistics being manufactured behind the scenes. As the weekend nears, an increasing amount of specialised ingredients and recipes turn up and are somehow found a home in the ever busy kitchen. Unfamiliar faces start to appear and start to burrow away at their food preparation, requiring a few hands from the St Catherine’s team to help cater for the 200 Symposiasts. This year Oleg (the other recipient of the Young Chef Award) and I were helping with the preparation for Fergus Henderson’s offal offerings under his watchful eye and carried out by his team. I was in charge of creating vegetarian alternatives for each of the 5 courses in case there were any queasy Symposiasts who didn’t fancy the deep fried tripe.
Over the weekend I attended many interesting and engaging lectures on submitted papers, notably Paul Rozin’s talk on disgust. I managed to sneak back into the kitchen for Jacob Kenedy’s Saturday night dinner which was offal from an Italian perspective using some incredible ingredients, in particular infant calf stomach which still held the residue of the mother’s milk. After dinner the evening moves into the JCR bar with more talks and a chance to mingle with the other food enthusiasts. This is prime time for networking and introducing yourself to as many people as you can – you never know who you may meet and what it could lead to. For me I met semi-retired food journalist Cherry Ripe who offered me one months’ free accommodation in Sydney and contacts to arrange a few stages at celebrated restaurants. So in November I spent my time in Sydney and had a great experience working at Sean’s Panaroma on Bondi Beach and Yellow, a fine dining vegetarian restaurant.
My advice to the next Young Chefs is to take every opportunity you can to meet the people who attend and get stuck into the work in the kitchen at St Catz. It will be an experience you will never forget and will hopefully get many more out of it!
Find out more about the Young Chef programme here. Details of how to apply are here. The deadline for applications is 1st March 2017.