Delicious and thought-provoking stories about food, served fresh from the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery.
Produced by Anna Sigrithur
We are excited to present Season Two of Ox Tales. Delicious and thought-provoking stories about food, served fresh from the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery. The details of each episode in this season can be found below.
Episode 1 – Sandor Katz – Fermentation as Co-Evolutionary Force April 10, 2019
World-renowned fermentation revivalist Sandor Ellix Katz embarks upon a philosophical and biological journey into the origins of multicellular life, and how the multi-species activity of fermenting foods has played a central role in the evolution of microbes, our bodies– and even our culture.
Sandor Ellix Katz is a fermentation revivalist. His books Wild Fermentation and the Art of Fermentation, along with the hundreds of fermentation workshops he has taught around the world, have helped to catalyze a broad revival of the fermentation arts. A self-taught experimentalist who lives in rural Tennessee, the New York Times calls him “one of the unlikely rock stars of the American food scene.” Sandor is the recipient of a James Beard award and other honors. For more information, check out his website www.wildfermentation.com.
Episode 2 – Aylin Öney Tan – The Opium Poppies of Anatolia April 17, 2019
What happens when one people’s traditional food is also an international controlled substance? Turkish architect and food researcher Aylin Öney Tan does a deep dive into the history of opium poppy cultivation in Anatolia, and the subsequent decades of international political interference in Turkey’s agricultural production.
Aylin Öney Tan is an architect, conservator, food writer and culinary researcher. She is the food columnist for Hürriyet Daily News (Fork & Cork), the English edition of the leading Turkish national daily, and a regular writer for The Guide Istanbul. She is a regular participant of Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery since 2007, and has won the Sophie Coe Award for food history in 2008. She is the leader of Slow Food Ankara Convivium and the author of ‘A Taste of Sun & Fire: Gaziantep Cookery’.
Episode 3 – Elizabeth Hoover & Sean Sherman – Seeding a Movement for Health and Culture April 24, 2019
Many indigenous communities around North America (Turtle Island) are reclaiming their ancestral seeds after hundreds of years of disconnection due to colonial violence. Chef Sean Sherman and scholar/writer Elizabeth Hoover tell the tales of seeds, seedkeepers, and indigenous chefs who are bringing traditional foods back into focus.
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The Symposium paper given by Sean Sherman and Elizabeth Hoover was delivered at the 2018 Symposium on Seeds. It will be published by Prospect Books in summer 2019. All Symposium papers are available to download free on Google Books three years after publication. You can find papers from 1981 – 2015 here.
Elizabeth Hoover is Manning Assistant Professor of American Studies at Brown University where she teaches courses on environmental health and justice in Native communities, Indigenous food movements, and community engaged research. Hoover frames her work through a focus on the importance of community-based research and culturally and socially supported programming. Her book “The River is In Us;” Fighting Toxics in a Mohawk Community, (University of Minnesota Press, 2107) is an ethnographic exploration of Akwesasne Mohawks’ response to Superfund contamination and environmental health research. Her second book project From “Garden Warriors” to “Good Seeds;” Indigenizing the Local Food Movement explores Native American farming and gardening projects around the country: the successes and challenges faced by these organizations, the ways in which participants define and envision concepts like food sovereignty, and importance of heritage seeds. Elizabeth has published articles about environmental reproductive justice in Native American communities, the cultural impact of fish advisories on Native communities, tribal citizen science, and health social movements. In addition, Elizabeth is part of the leadership committee to establish Native American and Indigenous Studies at Brown, and also serves on the executive committee of the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance (NAFSA), and the newly formed Slow Food Turtle Island regional association.
Book: The River is in Us
Chef Sean Sherman, Oglala Lakota, born in Pine Ridge, SD, has been cooking across the US and Mexico over the past 30 years, and has become renowned nationally and internationally in the culinary movement of indigenous foods. His main focus has been on the revitalization and evolution of indigenous foods systems throughout North America. Chef Sean has studied on his own extensively to determine the foundations of these food systems to gain a full understanding of bringing back a sense of Native American cuisine to today’s world. In 2014, he opened the business titled, The Sioux Chef as a caterer and food educator in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area. He and his business partner Dana Thompson also designed and opened the Tatanka Truck, which featured pre-contact foods of the Dakota and Minnesota territories.
In October 2017, Sean was able to perform the first decolonized dinner at the James Beard House in Manhattan along with his team. His first book, The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen was awarded the James Beard medal for Best American Cookbook for 2018 and was chosen one of the top ten cookbooks of 2017 by the LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle as well as the Smithsonian Magazine.This year, Chef Sean was selected as a Bush Fellow. The Sioux Chef team of twelve people continues with their mission to help educate and make indigenous foods more accessible to as many communities as possible through the recently founded nonprofit North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems (NATIFS). website: www.natifs.org.
Episode 4 – Andrea Maraschi -Acorns and Civilized Panic May 1, 2019
What do famine foods throughout history tell us about the world in which they were eaten? Medieval food and magic scholar Andrea Maraschi makes a mythical and historical foray into the history of the lowliest yet most versatile replacement food in European history, the acorn.
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The Symposium paper given by Andrea Maraschi was delivered at the 2018 Symposium on Seeds. It will be published by Prospect Books in summer 2019. All Symposium papers are available to download free on Google Books three years after publication. You can find papers from 1981 – 2015 here.
Andrea Maraschi is a Lecturer in Medieval History and of Social and Economic History of the Middle Ages at the University of Bari “Aldo Moro” (Italy). His research interests concern many aspects of food history in medieval times, including magic, medicine, liturgy, banqueting, famine, and mental attitudes.
Episode 5 – Zona Spray Starks – Family, Freezing, and Fermentation in the Arctic May 8, 2019
Arctic culinary scholar Zona Spray Starks explains the diverse culinary techniques of the Iñupiat people of Alaska, and how the seasonal food landscape shaped family relations. While doing so, she shares the story of her later-in-life revelation about her personal connection to the Arctic.
The Symposium paper given by Zona Spray Starks on Drying and Fermenting in the Arctic: Dictating Women’s Roles in Alaska’s Inupiat Culture can be found here.
Episode 6 Bee Wilson – Why Kitchen Technology Matters May 15, 2019
Food writer Bee Wilson traces the genealogy of kitchen utensils and how they shape our lives– from vegetable peelers to paleolithic knives, chopsticks and even the mortar and pestle. She begs the question: why shouldn’t we consider kitchen tools to be just as important as military or industrial technology?
The Symposium paper given by Bee Wilson on Sporks, Pestles and Peelers: Why Kitchen Technology Matters can be found here.
Bee Wilson is a food writer and school food campaigner. She is the author of several books on food related subjects including The Way We Eat Now, First Bite and Consider the Fork. She also writes journalism for a wide range of publications including The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal and The London Review of Books. She succeeded Paul Levy as the Chair of the Oxford Symposium and first attended the Symposium in 1999. She is currently the chair of TastEd, an organisation bringing sensory food education to U.K. schools as a way to widen a child’s palate, especially for vegetables and to build a healthier relationship with food.
If you have enjoyed listening, and would like to support to future podcasts, you can donate to the Symposium here.
Episode 7 Joshna Maharaj – Taking Back the Hospital Tray May 22, 2019
What responsibilities do public institutions have in resisting the corporatization of food? Chef and activist Joshna Maharaj shares the trials, the quirks and the successes of a one-year project to overhaul a Toronto hospital’s food system, taking it from frozen pre-packaged foods to fresh, local fare.
Joshna Maharaj is a chef, a two-time TEDx speaker, and activist who wants to help everyone have a better relationship with their food. She believes strongly in the power of chefs and social gastronomy to bring values of hospitality, sustainability, and social justice to the table to nourish people and communities. Recently, Joshna has been working with hospitals and universities in Toronto to build new models for institutional food procurement, production and service. She is currently working on a book to capture the lessons and experience and create a shareable blueprint for changing institutional food systems around the globe. Take Back the Tray is a movement to reconnect food with health, wellness, education, and rehabilitation in public institutions around the globe. And it is a story about how a chef took on the institution and tried to make change.
Instagram: @takebackthetray, @joshnamaharaj
Episode 8 Bel Castro – The Grandeur that was Lipa May 29, 2019
Food scholar Bel Castro tells the oft-repeated story from the Philippines about a mythic era in the late 19th century in which wealth abounded for Philippine coffee growers thanks to lags in the world market. She debunks and complicates this myth with a political and post-colonial analysis that has relevance for all commodity tales today.
Ms. Bel S. Castro is one of the founding faculty members of Enderun Colleges and is currently Asst. Dean of the College of Hospitality Management. Prior to joining Enderun, Ms. Castro enjoyed a career which spanned the fields of advertising, public relations, events management, line production, as well as hospitality. Her academic credentials include a degree in Restaurant Operations from Le Cordon Bleu in Australia and a Master of Arts in Gastronomy, a double-badged program of Le Cordon Bleu and the University of Adelaide in South Australia. Ms. Bel also oversees all wine programs offered by Enderun Extension. In addition to holding a Level 3 Award in Wine & Spirits from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (UK), she has also successfully completed the WSET Wine Educator’s Programme.
Her personal interests are centered on food history, cuisine, and culture. Her research in these fields has led to invitations to present her work on several occasions at the Symposium of Australian Gastronomy, and also at the prestigious Oxford Symposium of Food and Cookery.
Season One of Ox Tales
Episode 1 – Laura Shapiro, “Magic Marshmallow Crescent Puff” April 18, 2018
What do the Pillsbury Bake Off and molecular gastronomy have in common? Culinary historian and food writer Laura Shapiro unwraps the significance of gender to the prestige afforded to different arenas of innovation-driven cuisine by examining the history of the USA’s oldest cooking competition.
The Symposium paper given by Laura Shapiro on the Pillsbury Bake Off can be found here
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Episode 2 – Guillemette Barthouil, “The Quantum Offal” April 25, 2018
Third generation French foie gras producer Guillemette Barthouil takes you on a history lesson that spans thousands of years and an ocean as she makes the case that foie gras is the quantum offal- a food that is both loved and reviled.
Episode 3 – Fozia Ismail, “More Than Just a Cup of Tea” May 2, 2018
Fozia Ismail, a British-Somali social anthropologist and food activist, challenges the unthinking consumption of foods with roots in colonialism by exploring the ways different people in Brexit-era Britain see the culinary landscape around them.
Episode 4 – Voltaire Cang, “Slurp!” May 9, 2018
In Japan, ‘slurp’ is more than just eating-related onomatopoeia. Japanese cultural and food historian Voltaire Cang researches and explores the significance of this important sound in the complex role it plays when people eat noodle dishes (ramen, in particular) and during the refined tea ceremony, Chado.
Episode 5 – Amanda Couch, “The Liver is the Message” May 16, 2018
English performance artist and food scholar Amanda Couch reprises the ancient Mesopotamian art of liver divination, and tries to answer questions from mortality to Brexit by reading the lines and lobes on a sheep’s liver.
Episode 6 – Charles Perry, “The Bulls Head Breakfast” May 23, 2018
Food historian and retired LA Times food writer Charles Perry explains how the 19th century Los Angeles practice of earth-pit barbecuing whole bulls became a culinary craze for settlers who saw the eating of the bull’s head as a wild west delicacy, and how the rise of Hollywood changed the practice into what we know today as the backyard barbecue.