Top | Sift

Food school

(article, Culinate staff)

Once upon a time, studying food meant hands-on work only, either in home-ec classes or in culinary school. No more. As the New York Times reported recently, not only are doctors getting educated about eating, but so is the academy, which is expanding into scholastic programs focused on food and its history, politics, culture, and more. 

Doctors, Patricia Leigh Brown reported, have long told their patients to live healthy lifestyles, but haven't been so good at demonstrating how: "Although physicians are on the front lines of the nation’s diabetes and obesity crises, many graduate from medical school with little knowledge of nutrition, let alone cooking." The challenge: to break down the mythical divide between healthy food and delicious treats.

Meanwhile, the new emphasis on integrating food into various academic disciplines has the mundane title of "food studies," but its ambitions are big. As Jan Ellen Spiegel noted, "This new academic field, taking shape in an expanding number of colleges and universities, coordinates the food-related instruction sprinkled throughout academia in recognition that food is not just relevant, but critical to dozens of disciplines. It’s agriculture; it’s business; it’s health; it’s the economy; it’s the environment; it’s international relations; it’s war and peace."

Is it an epic novel yet? Maybe not, but there's always food for literary thought.