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Food, philosophy and science?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Does anyone know any book on gastronomy and food culture in relation to contemporary philosophy and science? Or any book on philosophy of food and gastronomy? 

 

As far as I have researched there are not many titles on philosophy and food. There are some but they are either awful cultural observations or pretty much narrow anthropological studies of food and cooking.

 

I recently came across this forthcoming philosophical volume on cooking and eating titled Culinary Materialism, it sounds exciting http://www.urbanomic.com/pub_collapse7.php

post #2 of 15

Jon Thorne

Jim Harrison

Jeffery Steingarten

Robb Walsh

 

Those four are a good start. There are lots of good ones that I can't remember.

 

Jeremiah Tower's memior is really good too. Just FYI, he's really gay. The meeting with James Beard took me by shock...

 

Speaking of which some of the material in James Beard's book's you might find useful.

 

Other books...

 

Hmm, The Fourth Star is pretty good.

 

There is another one about the history of the American restaurant that was exceptional. It covered things like Restaurant Associates, 4 Seasons, the French refugees from the World's Fair and all the restaurants they founded, Le Circe, and I think they even covered Delmonico's. Can't remember the title or author, sorry.

 

Heat has some sections that might interest you.

post #3 of 15

Brillat-Savarin goes without saying, of course.

post #4 of 15

While there is a small but growing number of philosophers who are willing to come out as philosophers of food (myself among them), there is a larger number of philosophers who write on one of the many subjects that properly belong to this field of philosophy. Good staring books in this subject are written by philosophers who are philosophers of food and not simply dabblers. They include:

Food For Thought: Philosophy and Food by Elizabeth Tefler. Routledge, 1996. 

Making Sense of Taste: Food and Philosophy by Carolyn Korsmeyer. Cornell University Press, 1999. 

 

Collections of work on Food and Philosophy tend to cast the net wider than those with a doctorate in philosophy. Among the collections on food and philosophy with both bespoke papers and short excerpts of other works are Food and Philosophy edited by Fritz Allhoff and Dave Monroe, Blackwell, 2007 and Cooking, Eating and Thinking: Transformative Philosphies of Food, edited by Deane W. Curtin and Lisa M. Heldke, published by Indiana UP, 1992. Barry Smith edited a collection of papers on the philosophy of wine entitled, Questions of Taste: The philosophy of wine, 2007, Oxford UP. There is also a lovely book called Food: a history of taste which is a collection of articles on the subject. I say "lovely" because it includes wonderful illustrations. 

 

Feel free to visit my site at www.philosopheroffood.com for further philosophy of food links. On my blog Food Theory Applied, I try to explore the place where food theory and practice meet. So, I adore chefs and cooks who are all about the provenance of their ingredients and invite us to taste some of the story they've cooked into the dish, as well as philosophers and other theorists who have a little food practice on the side so that they can integrate/ground their theory in the three dimensionally extended world. (At least they should not be squeamish in the presence of a caper.)

 

 

 

post #5 of 15

(I thought I had just posted this but since it has not appeared, I'm trying again. Apologies if two similar postings appear. I'm just learning the ropes here...)

 

Two books written by philosophers on food:

Making Sense of Taste by Carolyn Korsmeyer 1999, Cornel UP. 

Food for Thought: Philosophy and Food by Elizabeth Tefler 1996, Routledge. 

 

 

Two collections of writings on food by philosophers, strictly and not so strictly speaking:

Cooking Eating and Thinking: Transformative Philosophies of Food, edited by Deane W. Curtin and Lisa M. Heldke, 1992 Indiana UP. 

Food and Philosophy: Eat, think and be merry, edited by Fritz Allhoff and Dave Monroe, 2007, Blackwell.

 

And a collection of papers written by philosophers on the philosophy of wine:

Questions of Taste: The philosophy of wine. Edited by Barry C. Smith. 2007, OUP. 

 

Please visit my site: www.philosopheroffood.com for further links to philosophy of food sites of interest. On my blog Food Theory Applied, I write about the place where food theory meets food practice. I lecture about philosophy of food and sociology of food both in university lecture halls as well as in informal settings in the community. 

post #6 of 15

I don't quite get the connection yet.  I see how discussion about food can lead to further examination of ethics or value theory.  I see how the business of food economics can lead to further questions about economics, game theory, or speculation about our place in this universe.  I'm not quite sure, however, that philosophy of food can be held in the same regard as philosophy of mathematics or philosphy of science.

post #7 of 15

mindful eating by janet chozen bays was interesting for me.  she's an md and a zen master.  eating is closely tied to our emotions: people who are overweight aren't eating for physical nourishment but rather sacrificing long term physical health for fleeting moments of short term mental solace.  i was amazed by how incredibly mindlessly i eat until i did some of the exercises in her book, i found how many thoughts race through the mind as one wolfs down (or craves, or regrets) sugar or fat or caffeine to satisfy oneself.

post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone for suggestions.

 

@thetincook: Yes, Brillat-Savarin is a classic one.

 

@Philosopher: Thanks for the link to your website.

 

@Kuan: yes, your comparison with something like philosophy of mathematics is apt. And this is precisely, what I'm looking for. That philosophy journal that I linked to (http://www.urbanomic.com/pub_collapse7.php ) promises to be what I'm looking for i.e. a much deeper connection between philosophy and cooking/food than just glossing cooking practices and food trends with secondhand scientific and philosophical observations. I'm particularly interested in the fact that cookery is deeply associated with the development of the history of philosophy and the transition from pre-modern science to modern science. For example, in the middle ages, some of the most important philosophical subjects such as theory of proportions, ratios, concoction, quantities, qualitative transformations came out of cooking practices. These concepts and theories were philosophically and scientifically developed, then they were reintroduced to various practices of cookery (culinary, medicinal, alchemical, theological and even optical). Gradually, some of these subjects changed the field of philosophical inquiry by transforming how philosophy interacts with thought and nature, paving the road for a departure from medieval philosophy toward Renaissance philosophy and science. I'm interested to know if a similar form of mutual and fundamental transformation is possible between cooking practices (composition, sensation, etc.) and philosophy. Or if this is not possible, is it still possible to broaden the culinary paradigm of thought (cooking, composition, taste, ...) through syntheses between science, philosophy and cooking? I know molecular gastronomy is similar but I'm looking for more fundamental and broader fields and possibilities.    

post #9 of 15

I worked for RA way back when at The Towers Suite  and John Peel Room and Mama Leones. and La Fonda Del Sol. They were ahead of ther time. President was Irv Wexler and VP was his son in law Mr. Brody.  Ex corp chef at that time was Al Stockley Best Chef they had was Phil Panzarinno who went on to teach at city college. Great company in their day.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #10 of 15

Other than, "eat less, drink water, be happier," where's the philosophy?  Call me a snob, but somehow I just don't see Kreuz and Kant in the same imperative category. 

 

BDL

post #11 of 15

The philosophical truths behind food, the cooking of, and of cooking for was deeply engrained in my decision to be a cook. However the theological / philosophical / & general research knowlege from when I was in my late teens and early twenties is now behind a dense fog of practical experience and social engaguements. I plan to keep rolling until it peaks through again.

 

I love the fact that there is established philosophys of food but may not be able to revisit the subject except in my dreams, retirement, or untimely demise. Oh, there will also be those smokey rooms late in the night in San Fran to recall who we are and why.

 

Bon Appetit My Friends!


Edited by Mustaroad - 11/1/11 at 9:34pm

California Cook

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post #12 of 15

"-----

Come on! Satisfaction from food comes entirely from the taste of food. Nothing else.---"

 

That is scientifically wrong.

 

Satisfaction comes from satiating hunger.

 

When you are hungry, everything tastes good.

 

dcarch

post #13 of 15

I worked for Rest associates back in the 60s. They were way ahead of their time with their concepts. The Forum, La Fonda del sol,Towers Suite Leones, etc. They sold you atmosphere and ambiance as well as good cuisine. Experimental chef was Al Stockley, Pres was I. Wechsler. Chief officer  j. Brody (his son in law). 

    The worlds fair food was a disaster overpriced and junk. Guys came over just to try and establish citizenship.Some stayed most went home. $ seasons was good operated later on  by Paul Kovi and Tom M. when it even got better.

But best of all Was A.Soltners Lutece No one could top it for over 10 years.Delmonico's sign still remainson building to this day downtown in Manhattan. All of this before celebrity chefs existed.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #14 of 15

This thread is confusing me.  I don't see much I recognize as philosophy except implied reactions to epicureanism and/or stoicism in several of the posts; but the philosophical thoughts are never made explicit.  I certainly have no idea of what Ed or foodchef are getting at, and Mustaroad is just a tease.  

 

Philosopheroffood is the exception in that she is specific about her references; and if that's not philosophy at least it's something.  Her blog/website is darn good and worth reading.   

 

Just as an offhand and obvious remark, the best veins of philosophy to mine for thoughts about food are aesthetics and ethics. 

 

Food is more than merely about sustenance and/or self gratification; or at least it should be.

 

My first inclination is to approach the subject from a phenomenological perspective more than anything else.  Please, no Being On Time references.  Seriously.  Throw in some Rogers/Maslow if you like as well.

 

Food preparation (comes before consumption) is about a lot of things, not just about self, it is -- or at least can be -- is also about love of others.  Similarly, it can and should be an existential act.  Learning and preparing food well is equally an exercise in creating a phenomenological artifact and an act of self-actualization and authenticity.

 

Consuming food can also be an act of sharing, and therefore of love -- with all of love's ramifications.  If I take you to your favorite restaurant for your birthday, is that sustenance or self gratification?   For most human beings, mother's milk was among our very first experiences with love and food remains powerfully evocative.  Fail to understand and make use of that and your life is poorer.

 

For more on the interrelationship between food and love, read philosopheroffood's adventures with Noah.

 

BDL


Edited by boar_d_laze - 11/2/11 at 6:35pm
post #15 of 15

To Feed = The providance of nourishment to the famished..

 

The better the restoratives --> The better the party.

California Cook

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