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MET ML 565: Food Marketing
The course applies the fundamental concepts and tools of marketing and brand management to the food industry, with a particular focus on the burgeoning New England culinary scene. This class will focus on marketing throughout key stages of the food-to-table supply chain, from raw ingredients and processing equipment in early production stages, through immersive culinary experiences targeted to distinct consumer segments. An additional emphasis of the course will be on marketing food products vs. services, and the strategic challenges and strategies that each portion of the food industry requires.
MET ML 610: Special Topics in Gastronomy
Topic for Fall 2021, A1 Section: "Food and Folklore":
Have you ever thrown salt over your shoulder to ward off bad luck after spilling it? Do you eat certain foods when you're ill? Do you have family stories that you always tell at holiday meals? Food is central to our identity and is woven into the customs and beliefs of all cultures. Food and its lore help make sense of the world around us, while reinforcing tradition and change. In this course we explore the folklore of food, focusing on the Boston-area--and particularly indigenous and immigrant communities--that continue to contribute to our local identity and sense of place.
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 613: Debating Diet
Fat, first of all, is an essential nutrient: our bodies require it. Over the years, notions have changed as to how much fat and what kinds of fat should be consumed. A great variety of fats is found in food. These fats, as ingredients, contribute to the unique tastes and qualities of dishes and may be central to defining a cuisine, e.g., olive oil. Fat is also a component of our bodies; the body produces fat and draws upon it as a reserve of energy. The question of how much bodily fat we ought to have is of concern from the standpoint of medicine and public health, given the association, albeit incomplete, between obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Fat contributes both to body shape and body image, and we may try to exert control over the shape of our bodies. Thus, oddly twinned with the obesity epidemic is something of a diet epidemic. These and other issues will be explored through reading, film, class discussion, presentations, and written reports.
MET ML 615: Reading and Writing the Food Memoir
Course involves critical reading and writing and examines the food memoir as a literary genre. Students gain familiarity with food memoir, both historical and current; learn how memoir differs from other writing about food and from autobiography; learn to attend to style and voice; consider the use writers make of memory; consider how the personal (story) evokes the larger culture.
MET ML 619: The Science of Food and Cooking
Cooking is chemistry, and it is the chemistry of food that determines the outcome of culinary undertakings. In this course, basic chemical properties of food are explored in the context of modern and traditional cooking techniques. The impact of molecular changes resulting from preparation, cooking, and storage is the focus of academic inquiry. Illustrative, culturally specific culinary techniques are explored through the lens of food science and the food processing industry. Examination of "chemistry-in- the-pan" and sensory analysis techniques will be the focus of hands-on in- class and assigned cooking labs.
MET ML 620: Food and Literature
Through analysis of literary texts, gourmet guidebooks, paintings, and illustrations, the course maps out and examines questions that have an enduring cultural resonance today, including moral concepts of gluttony and temperance; parallels between appetite and sexuality; and the significance of the terroir or local production. Course explores key events and texts that altered the perception of the gourmand and contributed to the development of gastronomy as an autonomous cultural field.
MET ML 622: History of Food
History is part of a holistic, interdisciplinary approach to food studies. Knowing where our food comes from chronologically is just as important as knowing where it comes from geographically. Historical forces bring our food to the table and shape the agricultural practices, labor arrangements and cultural constructions that make meals possible. We will read, research and write food history to explore the ways in which the history of food has shaped our world today, paying careful attention to structural inequalities that restrict food access. We will examine ways in which contemporary questions and problems inform historical inquiries and vice versa. Readings and projects in this course will typically focus on one geographic region but as a class we will be taking into account global connections and influences. The course material is organized both chronologically and thematically, with subthemes such as race, urbanization and industrialization. Students will learn about historical methodology and apply it to their own research.
MET ML 625: Wild and Foraged Foods
Humans have been foraging for food since prehistoric times, but the recent interest in wild and foraged foods raises interesting issues about our connection to nature amid the panorama of industrially oriented food systems. From political economy to Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), this course explores how we interact with, perceive, and know our world through the procurement of food. Students take part in foraging activities and hands-on culinary labs in order to engage the senses in thinking about the connections between humans, food, and the environment.
MET ML 626: Food Waste: Scope, Scale, & Signals for Sustainable Change
Food waste is a hot topic but not a new one. Some wasted food is the sign of a healthy system-- if there were exactly enough calories produced to meet each of our needs, there would be mass starvation, riots, and hoarding as we all scrambled to get our share. But by some estimates, food loss and waste account for nearly 40% of the food produced. How much wasted food is too much? At the same time this food is wasted, food insecurity is everywhere, even on BU's campus. Is all wasted food "trash?" Need it be? Why is food wasted and where along the supply chain is it wasted? What are the ethics of donating surplus food/waste/trash of those who have too much to those who don't have enough? This hybrid course explores the history, culture, rhetoric, and practicalities of wasted food, from farm, through fork, to gut (is overeating a form of food waste? What about wasting micronutrients by converting them to ultraprocessed foods?). Each week includes readings, discussion, application activity; and several weeks will include a guest lecture from a food system practitioner. Students will develope practical solutions in a final project.
MET ML 629: Culture and Cuisine of the African Diaspora
The foodways of the people displaced from the African continent are interwoven with many societies, cultures, and cuisines across the globe. In this course, we will study five geographic regions of Africa; north, central, east, west and south. The list of the countries that encompass each region will follow. Cookbooks, maps, songs, poems, and even some folklore will be used as texts to analyze and add context to the history of the people of the diaspora. This course will have real, and courageous, and respectful conversations including race and power and how those two elements are embedded into the food systems in North America, Central America, South America, the Caribbean and Europe. We will trace ingredients that came with the enslaved people and track their integration into cuisines and cultures (agriculture, pop culture, aquaculture etc.) as a collective group and then independently as a capstone course project.
MET ML 630: Cookbooks and History
What can cookbooks and recipes tell us about an individual? A community? A culture? What does the language of the recipe say about systems of knowledge and ways of thinking about the world? The movement of ingredients and food technology? The transmission of cooking knowledge? Does the analysis of historical cookbooks have contemporary applications? In this course, students will consider these questions through a survey of historical cooking texts and in-class exercises. We will examine cookbooks as a source of culinary history and a window into the changing material culture, practices, spaces, and relationships associated with food preparation and consumption. In addition, students will examine cookbooks and recipes as social documents that reveal the presence of social and economic hierarchies, networks and alliances, and political, economic, and religious structures. We will also examine these documents as cultural texts that reveal the construction of ethnic, gendered, and other identities. Students will study and analyze a selection of cookbooks from different historical periods and geographic regions leading to a final project and paper.
MET ML 632: History of Wine
In this course we explore the long and complex role wine has played in the history of human civilization. We survey significant developments in the production, distribution, consumption and cultural uses of grape-based alcoholic beverages in the West. We study the economic impact of wine production and consumption from the ancient Near East through the Roman Empire, Europe in the Middle Ages and especially wine's significance in the modern and contemporary world. Particular focus is on wine as a religious symbol, a symbol of status, an object of trade and a consumer beverage in the last few hundred years.
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 636: Culture and Cuisine: Italy
There is no such thing as Italian food. This statement is confirmed by the uniqueness and locality of the foods of Italy. This course will introduce students to regional Italian foods, taking into account geography, historical factors, social mores and language. There will be an emphasis on identifying key food ingredients of northern, central, and southern regions, and how they define these regions and are utilized in classic recipes. In addition, the goal will be to differentiate the various regional cooking styles like casalinga cooking versus alta cucina cooking.
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 641: Anthropology of Food
This course introduces students to the anthropological study of food and to the concept of food as a cultural system. In this cross-cultural exploration, we will examine the role of food and drink in ritual, reciprocity and exchange, social display, symbolism, and the construction of identity. Food preferences and taboos will be considered. We will also look at the transformative role of food in the context of culture contact, the relationship between food and ideas of bodily health and body image, food and memory, and the globalization of food as it relates to politics, power, and identity. Effective Spring 2021, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Ethical Reasoning, Social Inquiry I, Research and Information Literacy.
MET ML 650: The Foundation of Beer and Spirits
The objectives of this course are to explore the great variety of beer styles and spirit categories currently available and the role each plays in our culture. We will survey significant developments in the historical evolution, production, distribution, consumption and cultural usage of these alcohol beverages in the United States. We will taste beer and spirits extensively to demonstrate examples of the most important categories and classifications.
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.