Archive for ‘Blogosphere’

February 23, 2013

Portland Oregon Sign


It’s been six months since I last posted.  I never gave you all a round-up of my deliciously fun Julia Child birthday dinner. I didn’t tell you about the Un-Turkey Day feast David and I served in our new apartment (we served brisket to our families the Saturday after Thanksgiving).  I haven’t told you of our new, beautiful dining room table (though now I have – see it below? I’m in love with it).  I haven’t shared with you my new burr coffee grinder or my discovery of carrots as a delicious mid-morning work snack (whole carrots, not the yucky baby ones).



Maybe it’s because when you move across the country like we did this past year, you rip up so many roots, realize what you’ve left behind, and spend a lot of time discovering all the wonderful new things around you.  Maybe it’s because I’ve spent so much energy on being in Oregon (yay!) and not with my friends in Boston (boo!) that I haven’t had the strength to log on here.

A friend of mine told me the other day about a pastor who traveled for a few weeks with a nomadic tribe in Africa.  One day, all the men in the tribe packed up their tents but instead of moving on, they just sat down on the ground refusing to continue.  Nervous he had done something to offend them, the pastor found out (through several translators) that they had decided they had traveled too far the day before, and had to wait for their souls to catch up.  So they waited.


Packing Boxes


I feel like my soul, or whatever you want to call that part of my being, took the road trip we didn’t have time to take, and then decided to extend it to include some sightseeing.  It’s probably in the Chicago art museum, or maybe it’s made it to Glacier National Park.  I’m not quite sure, but I know it’s not yet here with me in Oregon.

And that means, it’s been hard to blog.  I haven’t decided what I want to have my next identity here be. I wrote an entire Master’s thesis on the meaning of online identities but I have no idea what mine is yet.  I’m now working professionally in educational tourism, and while it’s a seemingly simple jump from there to culinary tourism, I don’t know what that would look like on this blog.  This site has gone from an unsuccessful attempt at crowd-sourcing recipes, to a journal of my Fulbright year, to a chronicle of my degree in Gastronomy, to a half-hearted attempt at continuing the blog through photography and various food topics. Now, I’ve suddenly lost my narrative.

So bear with me, as I wait for my soul to catch up and I find my virtual identity.  I promise, in one form or another, I’ll be back.

November 6, 2011

Same Site, New Home!

Welcome everyone to the new home for Beyond Burgers and Bratwurst.  You’ve likely been automatically redirected from the old blog site, and hopefully barely noticed a change.  If you have any difficulties or questions though, please leave a comment at the end of this post.  I’ll be making some minor cosmetic changes here and there over the next few weeks, and am really excited.  I hope you are too!

For now, the biggest change is the twitter feed, located on the sidebar.  This is replacing the old section called “News in Food” because I now mostly post my editorials on the random food news I find on my twitter account.  I hope you can join me in the conversation over on twitter @beyondburgers!

Update your Bookmarks:

Update Your RSS Reader Feed:

Lastly, don’t miss the latest post for the Menu for Thanksgiving: Roasted Sweet Potatoes!

July 23, 2011

What is Gastronomy? (Part 2)

The difficulty of defining Gastronomy is that in the three years I studied it towards a degree, we never even as a group were able to nail down a concise definition.

While Lucy Long’s description of what we study highlights an excellent point on the value of studying the quotidian, it only scratches the surface of the many different things we study. Interestingly, Gastronomy has less to do with the act of cooking than with talking about cooking.  I joke that I started the program because I loved to cook, and ended up not cooking again regularly until I graduated! There are so many disciplines that can approach food on so many levels it can make your head spin. So with that in mind, I realize no single post (or series) can really define what it is I study.  With that caveat, here goes:

Let’s start with the word “Gastronomy” itself: Gastronomy is only one name of many for what I study, and we are not unified in why we call ourselves the names we do.  At other universities and colleges it is called Food Studies, Food Agriculture and the Environment, or bundled into another discipline entirely such as Anthropology of Food. A few years ago it was debated whether or not my college should keep the program name “Gastronomy” or change it to Food Studies.  We have a fantastic wine studies sub-program, and all of its instructors were against a name change.  After all, “Gastronomy” is so much more than “food” – it’s drink as well, they argued.  “Food Studies” as a term limits the intended topic of study to only one portion of the issue, and leaves out beverages entirely. I take that a step further: “Gastronomy” covers everything from production through consumption of food and beverages (not to mention waste in our food system), and then goes beyond.  It includes culture: the community that creates itself and is bound by food, the memories, the reasons for certain dishes, certain parties, and certain ways of presenting food and drink.   The name Gastronomy, to me, fits this bill best.

As American Studies scholar Warren Belasco wrote in his excellent introduction to Food: The Key Concepts, “Food identifies who we are, where we came from, and what we want to be.”  Just think about that for a moment, because this is really key (pun intended).  The food choices I make plop me square down in a box, or more precisely a complex Venn diagram, of who I am (my preferences, my values, my resources), where I came from (my family history, my society’s history, my own personal history and exposures), and who I wish to be (my desire to eat everything on vacations, even if it may disgust me, is an example of who I wish to be, more than who I am necessarily).  All of this from what I choose to put in my mouth!

Contestants licking marshmallow fluff at the 2010 Fluff Festival in Somerville, MA

Gastronomy dabbles in almost every field.  It appears at food festivals (why do we have food festivals such as the Fluff Fest, garlic festivals, strawberry festivals, and more?), in grocery stores, at the city dump, and at local food banks.  It tackles issues of gender dynamics and food (such as how the complex issues in domesticity play out in reference to food), history of food (what did the Romans eat, and how does that affect us today?), food policy (for example diabetes and health reform), food and art, philosophy, social justice, ecology, and more.  It’s tied up with archaeology, anthropology, and agriculture.  In short: Gastronomy is by its very subject matter everywhere.  We can’t escape food, and each act of eating, engaging (playing!) with food, and engaging with our communities and food, we are engaging in Gastronomy.

Next up: Gastronomy, our food choices, and the locavore movement

July 13, 2011

What is Gastronomy?

“What do you study?” people would ask me at parties or in the café where I used to work.

Produce at the Brookline Farmers Market

“I study Gastronomy at Boston University,” I’d respond, cringing slightly inside.  Then I’d wait.  Which reaction would I get?  It is usually one of three:

  1. “Oh, that’s nice,” followed by silence by the person, and a smile from me.  The person would have no idea what I was talking about and either couldn’t or didn’t want to come up with a follow-up question for more details.  For all I knew, they regretted asking the question to begin with.
  2. Person: “So, stars?”
    Me: “No, that’s Astronomy.  I study GAStronomy.  Food and culture.”
    Person: “Oh, that’s nice.” See #1.
  3. Person: “You study intestines?”
    Me: “Kind of, but I’m not a gastroenterologist [yeah, snarky, I know].  I study food and culture.”
    Person: “Oh, that’s nice.” See #1.

Griesbrei, or cream of wheat, my morning breakfast

In the first couple years, I got so tired of this, and many of my friends in the program did too.  One even started telling people she studied English or Sociology, just to avoid the awkward silences (and she wasn’t really lying: we do study both those things in class – after all, it is a Master of Liberal Arts).

December 18, 2008

Fifth Annual Menu for Hope

menu-for-hopeTis the season!  One of the wonderful parts of being in the food blogging community is the charity that people express.  Not only are food bloggers willing to help each other out, but the kindness goes way beyond the virtual world and right into the lives of those who are the most needy.

Each year for the last five years, Pim of Chez Pim has organized the Menu for Hope charity event that benefits the UN World Food Program’s work in Lesotho.  Here’s how it works:

Bloggers donate incredible raffle prizes and post descriptions of them on their blogs, which are organized by regional hosts.   The public can then look at all the beautiful prizes and buy raffle tickets through Firstgiving.  Each ticket costs $10, and they can be applied to prizes by designating their code in the comments section when donating.

This is an amazing event, and although I’ve never won anything, I find it an exciting charity to be involved with.  Last year over 90,000USD were donated to the Lesotho project, including a school lunch program as well as the local procurement program.  To learn more about the WFP’s involvement in Lesotho, please click here.  And make sure you see the Lesotho children’s breathtaking pictures here.

After the jump I’ve put in what I consider to be the highlights of the prizes, but you should definitely check out the master list yourself.

And don’t forget to enter in to the raffles at!