Food-related courses up 50 percent at universities

Aug 29, 2008

This week, the Pioneer Press, which serves Minnesota's Twin Cities, ran a Washington Post story about a new food trend. This time, the trend isn't a new product or fad diet, but emerging university-level education about the politics, psychology and production of food.

The story noted that Boston University and New York University have offered food studies programs for more than a decade, and Yale's food studies program includes a high-profile on-campus farm and dining halls stocked with organic and local food. Now, however, food is entering the "academic mainstream," it said.

To wit, the University of New Hampshire will launch a dual major in eco-gastronomy and UC Davis will introduce a food concentration for American studies majors this fall.

UC Davis associate professor of American Studies Carolyn de la Peña, who launched the new concentration, said when she first taught a food course seven years ago, it was hard to find books. She sent her students to restaurants to observe and to their home kitchens to cook comfort food, the article said.

Academic acceptance of interdisciplinary fields, such as American or women's studies, has helped pave the way for food's debut as a legitimate subject.

"Food studies answers the craving for interdisciplinary exchange among professors across the sciences and humanities that has been growing for a decade," de la Peña was quoted.

By Jeannette E. Warnert
Author - Communications Specialist