BBC Radio Four’s The Food Programme recorded an episode at the 2018 Symposium on Seeds. Featuring stories from edible acorns and the links between amaranth and cannibalism to the importance of seed banks and a project to bring back deliciousness to wheat. Listen here.
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.
Symposiast Katrine Klinken has produced this video of her time at our Symposium on Seeds
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
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.