York professor co-organizes international conference on food studies

David B. Goldstein, an associate professor of English in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, is co-organizing a major international conference on food studies in early modern culture.

David Goldstein

The conference Food and the Book: 1300-1800 launched Oct. 2 and continues through Oct. 12. This entirely digital conference is co-sponsored by the Center for Renaissance Studies at the Newberry Library and Before ‘Farm to Table’: Early Modern Foodways and Cultures, a Mellon Foundation initiative in collaborative research at the Folger Institute at the Folger Shakespeare Library, of which Goldstein is a co-director. Goldstein’s conference co-organizers are Allen James Grieco and Sarah Peters Kernan.

Food and the Book: 1300-1800 explores the relationships between food, history and the books that often carry that history to the present day. The growing, preparation, tasting and eating of food are bodily phenomena. To gain access to them through the distances of history, we must turn to words and images.

This interdisciplinary conference examines the book as a primary intersection for foodways throughout the early modern world. The language and imagery of food emerge in all manner of books, including recipe manuscripts, literature, historical documents, religious writings, medical treatises and engravings, not to mention in marginal stains and other chance material encounters. The convened speakers will explore how food interacts with books as physical objects as well as mental ones. They will examine books as ways of studying food and its representations in historical perspective, especially those of marginalized people and groups; and as instances of metaphorical food and sustenance in themselves.

The conference begins with a public panel, Cooking By the Book: A Conversation with Chefs and Authors. How do cooks and writers learn from the recipes and foodways of the past? What can scholars learn from the ways we cook and think about cooking today? Authors Michael Twitty, Tamar E. Adler, Paul Fehribach and Irina Dumitrescu join in a conversation moderated by Goldstein to discuss the ways current food issues can help reinvigorate questions about early modern cuisine for a contemporary world.

For information on registering for the public programs and the other conference sessions, visit https://www.newberry.org/10022020-food-and-book-1300-1800.