As director of Metropolitan College’s unique Gastronomy master’s degree program, Associate Professor of the Practice Megan Elias is a trusted expert on the convergence of food, culture, and history. So when a Thrillist reporter wanted to investigate how muffins became a breakfast staple, Elias was called in for her qualified insight.
“Muffins were originally a small, yeast-risen breadstuff, pretty common in English homes,” Elias said, noting that the pastry’s predecessor, called “gems,” rose in popularity in the early part of the 19th century. Muffins as we think of them today became prominent in the 1970s, Elias explained, as a byproduct of broader social progress. “As more middle class women entered the paid workforce, there were fewer people at home to prepare and clean up a full breakfast in the morning, so the concept of ‘grab and go’ entered middle class culture,” she shared.
Read more about muffins’ place at the breakfast table in Thrillist.
A generous gift from Mary Ann Esposito and the Mary Ann Esposito Foundation means a new scholarship has been cooked up for students of the culinary arts at Boston University.
Named for the dedicated cofounder and longtime administrator of BU’s Culinary Arts and Gastronomy programs, the Rebecca Alssid Award honors Ms. Alssid’s legacy of leadership in the appreciation of food and food culture.
To qualify for the award, candidates, who must have completed the Culinary Arts Certificate Program, study key regions of Italy to assess their notable delicacies. They then are asked to submit a 10-page scholarly work dedicated to the history, agriculture, traditions, and recipes of their chosen Italian region. In addition, they are to develop and present a four-course meal representing their findings, paired with wine. The winner, or winners, will be decided by the Programs in Food & Wine director in consultation with the award committee. As victors, they will receive a certificate and an award of up to $1,000.
It is sponsored by the Mary Ann Esposito Foundation, which supports culinary scholarships in programs that provide students with a rich and grounded understanding of food history, culture, and function.
Ariana Gunderson, a standout student in the MET Master of Liberal Arts in Gastronomy program, has been awarded a Graduate Summer Fellowship from the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future.
Now in its 11th year, the Pardee Graduate Summer Fellows program enables outstanding BU students to spend 10 weeks at the Pardee House developing research papers that are then considered for publication from the center. Gunderson, who is the first MET student to win the fellowship, will study the impact of climate change and how Massachusetts aqua-culturists perceive, experience, and prepare for its effects.
“I am proud and excited to represent the Gastronomy program and Metropolitan College in this prestigious fellowship,” Gunderson said.
Read more about the Pardee Center Graduate Summer Fellows here.
Director of Gastronomy Megan Elias contributed to “Cooking the Books with Yotam and Nigella,” an episode of the podcast Gastropod. Cohosted by Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley, Gastropod looks at food through the lens of science and history. During the episode, Dr. Elias—who recently authored Food on the Page: Cookbooks and American Culture—discusses different ways that cookbooks reflected historical shifts in class, culture, and technology.
Listen to the full podcast here.
Giselle Lord, a Metropolitan College student pursuing her master’s in gastronomy, has received a $20,000 scholarship from the highly regarded James Beard Foundation Awards in recognition of her leadership potential in culinary arts, food studies, and related fields. In its first year, the James Beard Foundation’s National Scholars Program offers scholarships to candidates from ten regions around the country on the basis of academic merit as well as personal and professional recommendations. Lord, an Oregon native, was selected as the award’s Northwest representative. With her own online cookware business and a career as a video producer, the James Beard Foundation calls her “an entrepreneurial success story.”
Read more here.
Sandy Block, a certified Master of Wine who teaches in both the MET’s Wine Studies and Gastronomy programs, gave a toast to his favorite local craft brewers in a recent interview with BU Today. With nods to the beers he enjoys most in the heat and at parties, see if Block called out your preferred brew in BU Today.
Before Jacques Pépin became an acclaimed chef, TV host, author, and cofounder (with Julia Child) of MET’s Certificate Program in the Culinary Arts and MLA in Gastronomy, he put in his time humbly developing the craft that would go on to bring him worldwide renown. The story of his ascent as a food icon is documented in the new PBS special, American Masters—Jacques Pépin: The Art of the Craft, which debuts Friday, May 26, at 9 p.m.
After a recent advance screening of the documentary, Pépin admitted that when he got his start, kitchen work was not as respected as it has become today. “At the time, the cook was very low on the social scale,” Pépin explained.
Read more in the Boston Herald.
The Julia Child Awards for Academic Excellence are conferred upon BU Gastronomy students that excel in the field of interdisciplinary food studies, and this past semester saw the prize granted to a triumvirate of budding gastronomes. Valencia K. Baker, Samantha Dolph, and James Moran were the Fall 2016 winners of the Julia Child Awards, earning them each a certificate and a $500 scholarship.
Students were nominated for the exceptional work done in individual classes by their instructors. Ms. Baker was cited for her studies regarding the food security of Cubans in Food Policy and Food Systems. Ms. Dolph studied the impact of eating disorders on people along the gender and sexuality spectrum as part of Introduction to Gastronomy: Theory and Method. Mr. Moran explored the social ramifications of New York City’s attempts to regulate carbonated soda consumption in his Eating for Change: Ethical Eating and Food Movements studies. Metropolitan College proudly lauds the achievements of the students granted the award, which is made possible by the generosity of the Julia Child Foundation.
The food industry is growing in rapid and innovative ways, according to one MET alum, who says some businesses are even turning down opportunities for funding. After earning the Master of Liberal Arts in Gastronomy from BU, Natalie Shmulik (MLA’13) now serves a food business consultant at a Chicago-based food incubator, and she spoke with Forbes magazine about the many ways people are finding funding in food.
Read more of Shmulik’s advice to aspiring food entrepreneurs in Forbes.
The sugar industry would have you believe that there is no solid, specific link between sugar consumption and weight gain. But award-winning health and science journalist Gary Taubes, who recently delivered a lecture on the subject as part of MET Food & Wine’s Pépin Lecture Series, writes in the New York Times that many industry findings are misleading, and even believes sugar “may have prematurely killed more people than tobacco.”
On Thursday, January 12, Taubes—author of The Case Against Sugar—gave a lecture of the same name, co-sponsored by Programs in Food & Wine and the MET Gastronomy program. Read more of Taubes’ conclusions in the New York Times.