Gastronomy

  • MET ML 565: Food Marketing
    This course will explore marketing and brand management for food products, components and ingredients in the restaurant and retail industries. Of particular interest will be the convergence of various parts of the food system and the erosion of conceptual distinctions regarding the source and nature of prepared foods. This will include the extension of retail brands into the restaurant channel and vice versa, as well as the supply chain for agricultural and manufactured products consumed in the restaurant channel. The course will cover strategic and tactical marketing issues related to food including new product development, manufacturing and production, packaging, pricing and distribution. It will also cover relevant topics in consumer behavior, such as connoisseurship. Some attention will be give to sustainability, including the marketing dynamics related to the slow and organic foods movements. 4 credits
  • MET ML 589: Nature's Past: Histories of Environment and Society
    Historians? approaches to environmental history, including human elements of technology, demography, local knowledge, political ecology, and social organization. Geographical foci include North America, Atlantic World, Asia, and Africa.
  • MET ML 610: Special Topics in Gastronomy
    ML610 is the designation for "Special Topics in Gastronomy". The subject matter for ML610 courses changes from semester to semester, and more than one ML610 can be offered in a given semester. Course descriptions for all ML610 sections are listed below. For more information, please contact the department Graduate Student Advisor.

    Fall 2014 - MET ML610 A1 - "The Big, Fat Fat-Controversy" (Dr. Karen Pepper):
    The word "fat" is charged with many meanings and associations. There is the biochemical entity called fat, the stuff that fills our adipose tissues. Fat, one of the macro-nutrients that constitute our food, is an ingredient in a myriad of dishes. Fat is associated with ill-health, particularly Type II diabetes. Fat gives shape to the human form, thus contributing to body image. Effort may be expended, via dieting and training, to eliminate bodily fat or reconfigure it as muscle. And fat represents different things in different cultures. This course will try to circle the girth of this amazingly rich subject.

    Fall 2014 - MET ML610 C1 - "Food and Literature" (Emily Gruber):
    Food and acts of eating anchor our day-to-day routines, yet they also loom large in our imaginative lives, in the stories we tell as individuals and as communities. This course will investigate the importance of food and eating in literature, both as subjects and as symbols. We will discuss why writers use food to tell stories about family, identity and desire, and how literary acts of consumption can comment on social structures, cultural norms, and changing values. Readings will contrast texts from the Renaissance, when modern attitudes to food and eating began to develop in tension with medieval values, with contemporary American texts that examine foodways today.

    Fall 2014 - MET ML610 EL - "Food and Race" (Dr. Pysche Williams-Forson):
    This course will consider the ways that power dynamics are revealed in food and foodways when issues of race and ethnicity are held as central. Using a number of methodological and theoretical approaches, this course examines issues including: the nature of race and ethnic relations in food systems and in food interactions; the ways in which race reveals inter-, intra- and external group tensions in food relations; the structural processes which contribute to the manifestation of racial tensions; and the ways in which food can be a vehicle for identifying a communities' responses to cultural and/or social maligning.

    Fall 2014 - MET ML610 S1 - "Making Wine" (Bill Nesto):
    Course meets off-campus at the Boston Winery Facility in Dorchester.
  • MET ML 611: Archaeology of Food in Ancient Times
    How people have obtained and processed a wide range of foods through time, beginning with early humans. Food used by hunter/gatherers; changes in diet and nutrition through time to early farmers. Examines archaeological evidence for types of plants and animals exploited for food, as well as human skeletal evidence for ancient nutrition and diseases related to diet and food stress. Consideration of early historical periods, especially in terms of how certain foods such as wine have played a significant role in culture beyond basic dietary needs.
  • MET ML 612: Pots and Pans: Material Culture of Food
    Exploration of the food cultures and technologies through material culture- pots, pans, and utensils. Course will range broadly across cultures, time, and space with emphasis on medieval and early modern times. Life histories of humble, overlooked, everyday objects associated with food preparation and consumption; kitchens from prehistory to the present; tradition and fashion in cooking & dining vessels; pots and cooking technology; pots as metaphors & symbols.
  • MET ML 614: Philosophy of Food
    "Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are."-- Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826) In this course, we will use the tools of the philosopher to study various aspects of food--its classification, preparation, consumption, and judgments about the practices affected by it. The focus in this course will be how philosophers contribute to food studies through engagement with long-standing philosophical questions--not just in aesthetics, moral and political philosophy, but also in metaphysics and epistemology. Topics addressed in the class may include foods as natural (or non-natural) kinds; cultural knowledge, know-how and food traditions; eating and identity; eating, rationality and norms; vegetarianism and moral philosophy; and neuroscience, culture and taste.
  • MET ML 621: Researching Food History
    This research seminar in food history focuses on the markets and marketplaces over centuries and across a wide geographical area. The focus of this seminar is to hone students? research and writing skills. The broad general topic will allow students to pursue their own special research interest within a larger context while working with others engaged in similar research and writing challenges. By the end of the semester, students will have made a start on conference papers in the field of food studies and indentified potential venues for presenting their work. 4 cr
  • MET ML 622: History of Food
    The scope of the course will be global, covering civilizations of Asia, America, Africa, and Europe and how cultures of these domesticated unique staples, which literally enabled these civilizations to expand and flourish. The course will cover history of the interaction of humans with food resources from earliest hunting and gathering societies to the present. The major theme of the course will be the process of globalization, imperialism and the growth of capitalist enterprise and the cost of indigenous cultures and traditional farming practices and how these processes were shaped by trade in food. Online/blended course, face-to-face meetings TBA.
  • MET ML 631: Culture and Cuisine: France
    The association between France and fine cuisine seems so "natural." French society and history are intertwined with the culinary, and have been since the court society of the Old Regime. After the French Revolution, French cuisine became a truly modern affair in the public sphere. The invention of the restaurant, the practice of gastronomy, a literature of food, and strong links between French cuisine and national identity all came together in the 19th century. In the 19th and 20th centuries, French food, featuring both haute cuisine and regional culinary specialties, was widely considered the world?s best. In the 20th century, the culinary allure of France continued to fascinate people all over the world. It is still said today, enviously, that the French really know how to appreciate good food and wine "la bonne chère" in their daily lives. This course looks at how the history of French culinary culture evolved in the particular way that it did. The course is organized largely chronologically, but not entirely, as some of the readings weave issues of different times periods thematically. In studying culture and cuisine, with France as a great example, we will explore the relationship between a place, a people, and their foodways. We launch our investigation with the question: how and why is this relationship distinctive in France?
  • MET ML 632: History of Wine
    Understanding wine is impossible without knowing its rich and varied history. This course provides a survey of significant developments in the production, distribution, consumption and cultural uses of grape-based alcoholic beverages in the West. Topics include the role wine has played in the economy and culture of civilizations from the ancient Near East all the way through to its global impact in the 21st Century. We will focus in particular on wine as a religious symbol and a consumer beverage in the modern world.
  • MET ML 633: Readings in Food History
    A comparative perspective on issues of human subsistence through time. Changing patterns of nutrition and health, agricultural production, methods of coping with famine and organizing feasts, and origins and impact of culinary and dietary innovations.
  • MET ML 638: Culture and Cuisine: New England
    How are the foodways of New England?s inhabitants, past and present, intertwined with the history and culture of this region? In this course, students will have the opportunity to examine the cultural uses and meanings of foods and foodways in New England using historical, archaeological, oral, and material evidence. We will focus on key cultural, religious and political movements that have affected foodways in the region, as well as the movement of people.
  • MET ML 639: Culture and Cuisine: Quebec
    Moving beyond the stereotypes of poutine and maple syrup, this course will explore the rich contemporary and historical foodscapes of Quebec. The cuisine of this predominantly French-speaking area of Canada has been marked by the lasting legacies of French, British and a variety of immigrant cultures. The result is a combination of fascinating traditions and some of the most exciting new culinary trends in the Northeast--from iced cider to head-to-tail eating. This course will look at questions of identity politics, heritage preservation and the development of sustainable local food systems, as well as the everyday culture and life of this unique Canadian province. Offered in a blended format, class will meet once a month face-to-face and on-line before and after a weeklong trip to Quebec City, Montreal and surrounding rural areas. While in Quebec, students will have a chance to meet farmers, artisans and culinary professionals and engage in a number of hands-on activities.
  • MET ML 641: Anthropology of Food
    What can food tell us about human culture and social organization? Food offers us many opportunities to explore the ways in which humans go about their daily lives from breaking bread at the family table, haggling over the price of meat at the market to worrying about having enough to eat. Food can also tell us about larger social organizations and global interconnections through products like Spam that are traded around the globe and the ways in which a fruit like the tomato transformed the culinary culture of European nations. In this course we will consider how the Anthropology of Food has developed as a subfield of Cultural Anthropology. We will also look at the various methodologies and theoretical frameworks used by anthropologists to study food and culture. 4 cr.
  • MET ML 642: Food Ethnography
    This course explores what food ethnography is and how food ethnographers work. Students will learn about food ethnography by reading and discussing its methods and by practicing them. Students will write a research design for an ethnographic project on some aspect of Boston?s multifaceted alternative food system, carry out the research, analyze their data, and write up and orally present the results. Students will learn about and use the methods of participant observation, interviews, photography, food mapping, informant documentation, food logs, and others. They will learn about research ethics. They will pay particular attention to the ways that studying food culture presents unique methods and insights.
  • MET ML 643: Special Topic: Food, Culture and Exchange - The Economic Anthropology of Food
    Economic exchanges are influenced by culture. This is particularly true when it comes to exchanges that have to do with food. This course explores the cultural aspects of economics and food, serving as a lens through which to view the complex human relations and exchanges known as economics. Discussion of topics such as gift exchange, bartering and the question of the commons, as well as the economics of local food, reconnecting consumers with their food supply, urban foraging and alternate economic activities related to food production and consumption. Using an anthropological framework to understand the cultural aspects of exchange, the course will cover the economic and cultural underpinnings of food systems throughout the world. 4 credits
  • MET ML 651: Fundamentals of Wine
    For students without previous knowledge of wine, this introductory survey explores the world of wine through lectures, tastings, and assigned readings. By the end of this course, students will be able to 1). Exhibit fundamental knowledge of the principal categories of wine, including major grape varieties, wine styles, and regions; 2). Correctly taste and classify wine attributes; 3). Understand general principles of food and wine pairing; and 4). Comprehend the process of grape growing and winemaking. Open only to matriculated gastronomy students.
  • MET ML 652: A Comprehensive Survey of Wine
    Students passing this course will attain proficiency in the field of wine and associated alcoholic beverages. This intensive survey covers each of the world's most important geographical areas and includes comprehensive comparative tastings. The final examination includes a tasting as well as a written component.
  • MET ML 653: Mastering Wine: Skill Development
    Graduate Prerequisites: MET ML 652.
    Provides students with mastery of the field of alcoholic beverages. The curriculum is divided into the following sections: viticulture, vinification, distillation and brewing; wine tasting, including blind tasting; the interaction of wine and food; and the business of wine. Examination covers tasting skills, factual information and essay writing. 4 credits, Wed. 6-9. FUL Room 122.
  • MET ML 654: The Wine Trade: Global, National and Local Perspectives
    Graduate Prerequisites: MET ML 653.
    Gives students an in-depth understanding of issues confronting national wine industries and how these issues relate to the U.S. and local wine trade. Students develop understanding and professional skills by researching assigned topics, participating in teacher-led discussions, and tasting numerous wines under the guidance of instructors. Specialists in the wine trade visit to contribute their expertise and provide an interface to the trade. Students share independent research with classmates by giving presentations and researching relevant topics which highlight issues currently facing the wine industry. The format of this course requires students to do independent research, which may be presented in class and/or submitted in the form of an essay.