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

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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2013 Symposium Proceedings Free on Google Books


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.

Gaziantep, a UNESCO Creative City for Gastronomy

View from Gaziantep Castle.

View of the city from Gaziantep Castle by Natalie Sayin.

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Claudia Roden, the Symposium’s President, reports on recognition recently given to Gaziantep’s culinary heritage

Those of us who were present at the 2012 Symposium when the theme was Wrapped and Stuffed enjoyed a fantastic Gaziantep lunch. You will be interested and happy to hear that UNESCO has invited the Turkish city to become a member of their Creative Cities Network in the field of Gastronomy (other fields are Crafts and Folk Art, Design, Film, Literature, Media Arts and Music). It is a huge honour.

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Fuchsia Dunlop

Esteemed Hon. Sec. and Trustee Fuchsia Dunlop has just triumphed at the James Beard Awards with no less than two best-in-show: International Cookbook of the Year for Every Grain of Rice, and the Personal Essay Award for Dick Soup the art and lore of cooking penises (deer – what did you expect?).

fuchsia picShe grew up in Oxford, read English Literature at Cambridge, then headed off to train as a chef at cooking school in Sichuan Province. Thereafter for some twenty years, she’s been exploring, cooking and writing about Chinese cuisine and has published four highly-acclaimed books: Sichuan Cookery (published in the US as Land of Plenty),  Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook: Recipes from Hunan Province, Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China; and, the latest and probably most accessible to the home cook – Every Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking. She first attended the Oxford Food Symposium in 1997, has been a Trustee since 2009, and should you be lucky enough you find yourself seated next to her at one of our meals – catch her if you can – she’ll probably have just returned from new culinary explorations in some far flung corner of the Peoples’ Republic. You’ll find her work as a journalist in (among others) The Financial Times, New Yorker, Observer Food Monthly, Lucky Peach and Saveur. She has won awards from absolutely everyone worth winning awards from, including the government of Hunan Province.  And – be warned – she wields a mean meat-cleaver.

2nd Biennial Dublin Gastronomy Symposium

Dublin diary date:  June 3rd-4th 2014 are the dates of the 2nd Biennial Dublin Gastronomy Symposium”

… says long-time OSFC Symposiast Mairtin Mac ConIomaire (see his account of the OSFC’s 2013 Material Culture gathering in ‘Past Years’).  The event will take place at the School of Culinary Arts & Food Technology, Dublin Institute of Technology, Cathal Brugha Street.  The theme, ‘Cravings/Desire’, can be interpreted in the widest possible manner ranging from craving or desire for better food and wines, more knowledge about food and beverages, fast food, street food, food in pregnancy, authenticity, novelty, health properties, body image, aphrodisiac, food porn, food as hobby or past time, food for profit, cultural capital, economic and social status etc.

Participants, says Mairtin, can expect good company, Irish hospitality, lively discussion and great food in a collegial environment.   And as those who attended the first event in 2012 will remember, it’ll also be great fun! Details including the call for papers are on the DGS website, http://arrow.dit.ie/dgs/.