Brigade

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My first week of culinary school at Ducasse Education has left my mind spinning and my feet throbbing. Adjusting to a new type of work and different rhythm of life were just two of the challenges.

On the first day of class, I felt as if I was learning to walk again–try to imagine a big baby with a giant chef’s knife in her hand. It was a bit terrifying. When I looked up from my chopping board, I saw nine other students with eyes wide open trying to find their legs in the kitchen. I was not alone in my experience.

I am with my brigade. We are learning to work together, communicate and give each other a hand as we carry out the many complex tasks that each day throws us. From stirring the pot to mopping the floor, culinary school and working in a kitchen is not an individual experience.

As the chef instructor tells us to cook with all our senses and not follow the recipe too closely, all the members of the brigade are all working together to reshape our way of seeing, smelling, tasting, touching and hearing. We are relearning ourselves through food.

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Moving back to France

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It is time for the next chapter! Today I leave Boston for Paris. I will be taking a 2-month intensive culinary course at Alain Ducasse’s culinary school. This is something I have dreamed of doing for the past 15 years. In spite of my recent neglect of this blog, I plan on turning over a new leaf–I will chronicling my experience of culinary school here.

In September, I am moving back to Lyon, where I will be a fellow at the Collegium de Lyon. This is the opportunity I needed to continue my historic and ethnographic research on the cuisine des mères lyonnaises and women who cook professionally in France. I will be putting my new culinary skills to work in the field.

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Upcoming conferences and talks – Spring & Summer 2014

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April 11 – “Wild ferment: constructing nature, obscuring labor in the natural wine movement” at the American Ethnological Society Spring Meeting in Boston, MA, April, 11-12, 2014 – 10-11:45am session “In/visibilities and Un/accountabilities in Food”

May 25 - “Teaching Italian Culture through Food: An Anthropological Approach”, American Association for Italian Studies Conference, Zurich, Switzerland.

May 26 – “Vino e cultura: un progetto di antropologia dal vigneto al bicchiere” Patrimonio immateriale e antropologia dell’alimentazione, Università degli Studi di Milano, Bicocca, 14h30-17h00, Edificio U16, aula 14 (IV piano) – Via Thomas Mann 8, Milano, Italy.

June 5-8 – Umbra Institute, Food Conference, Perugia, Italy, Keynote.

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Graduate Journal of Food Studies

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I do like to brag about my students in general, but this time they have done something truly awesome: The Graduate Journal of Food Studies launched today! This is a peer-reviewed food studies journal produced and reviewed by grad students. Boston University’s Gastronomy Program sponsored this first edition and our students did a wonderful job from research and design to reviewing and editing.

Have a read and spread the word. The journal is looking for new submissions for their next volume.

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Shaping a Taste Landscape

Rachel E. Black

Here is a summary of a recent talk I gave at the College of the Atlantic on the anthropology of wine and the concept of the taste landscape that I am developing in relation to the cooperative production of wine in Carema, Italy. Read more

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