...And how to get a postcard with the artwork!
Meet the artist behind our stunning conference art, Kimberly Barzola.
Born and raised on the North Shore of Massachusetts, Kimberly is a first-generation Quechua artist and librarian/archivist in training. Her primary mediums include muralism, relief printmaking, and acrylic painting; some of her vibrant murals can be found in nearby towns of Chelsea and Salem, Mass. Through her work, she responds to the social movements here in the US and across Latin America.
In describing her inspiration for the piece, Kimberly writes, “For this piece I was inspired by my photographs of the New England coastline and in particular, my hometown Salem’s rocky beaches. Cranberries, stinging nettle, barnacles, mussels, acorns, and clams are featured because they are just some of the coast’s wild foods that can be foraged! The earth is so abundant and claims that say otherwise speak to the incredibly wasteful system of production and distribution that prioritize profit and exploitation over ecological alignment and native stewardship of the land. We owe it to the stewards of this land before us and those who will live many generations after us to do everything we can to forcefully and radically take the action needed to align society with earth’s resilient systems.”
Kimberly’s piece was made through a process called printmaking, in which the artist transfers the sketch onto a piece of linoleum, carves out the negative space by hand, inks the block, and prints the final design onto paper. See Kimberly’s initial sketch for the print below, where she labeled some of the landscapes’ components, including: leaves, acorns, barnacles, mussels, clams, waves, and the rocky shoreline.
In the image below, check out the different local wild and foraged foods in the final image.
Since we started planning this conference last fall, we knew this conference would be more than a gathering of traditional ‘academic’ speakers. In addition to the uncertainties of COVID, the conference’s focus on the intersections of environmental stewardship and social justice required us to reflect on how to actively center people, voices, ideas, and practices that have traditionally been excluded from ‘the Academy.’
Art is a powerful way to make provoking, transformative ideas tangible, present alternative ways of seeing, and engage a broader audience. We are grateful for Brain Arts Org/Dorchester Art Project—a multi-pronged nonprofit with the mission to realize creative independence in systematically undervalued communities—for connecting us with Kimberly. We are also super grateful for Kimberly’s willingness to not only turn the conference’s broad ideas into a visual reality, but to share her own relationship to the local landscape(s) with all of us.
In thinking about other ways in which we could expand the impact of the conference, we asking folks to make a donation to a community organization upon registering for the Living Landscapes conference. If you can, make a donation and send us your receipt to receive a (snail-mail!) postcard with Kimberly’s awesome artwork on it.
Here’s how it works:
- Register for Living Landscapes.
- Donate any amount to one of the following orgs, many of which were recommended by our speakers:
- Send your receipt and full address to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- We’ll mail you a postcard!
A Conference Using Foraging to Explore the Intersections of Environmental Stewardship, Racial Justice & Food Sovereignty
Join the Boston University Gastronomy community for in-depth discussions and (remote) hands-on foraging experiences!
Since the start of the pandemic, the connections between environmental racism, climate change, land (in)access, social justice, and food sovereignty have become clearer than ever.
A pandemic that has killed hundreds of thousands in the US, with Black, Indigenous, and Latinx communities affected at the highest rates. Civil unrest brought on by racialized state violence. Uncontrolled wildfires in the Western US due to climate change and suppression of indigenous land practices; incarcerated individuals forced to put their bodies in harm’s way to battle the fires, while prisons failed to protect them from the coronavirus. Racialized rhetoric that has fanned the flames of violent xenophobia towards AAPI communities, as equally racialized discourse on the “wet markets” in China circulated throughout popular media.
While these phenomena may seem unrelated on a superficial level, these on-going issues can be traced back to the White, settler colonialism notions that shape this country’s understanding of the land and ‘wild’ foods. Living Landscapes was developed with these overlapping issues in mind.
This conference will use foraging as a tangible entry point into the nexus of these issues, bringing together people from a wide variety of backgrounds—including foragers, researchers, and activists—for critical conversations. Through this two-day, virtual micro-conference, we hope to interrogate the landscape(s) of Boston and beyond, and the unequal experiences of those that live, eat, and grow there.
This conference is free and open to the public. Please register today.
Accessibility & Inclusion
The BU Gastronomy Program strives to be accessible, inclusive, and diverse in all of our programming. Your experience at this event is important to us! If you have a disability (including but not limited to learning or attention, mental health, concussion, vision, mobility, hearing, physical or other health-related), require communication access services for Deaf or hard of hearing persons, or believe that you require a reasonable accommodation for another reason please contact Dana (email@example.com) upon registration.
This event is funded by a BU Diversity & Inclusion Catalyst Grant and BU Sustainability and Innovate@BU Sustainability Innovation Seed Grant. In addition, this event would not be possible without the generous support of the BU Gastronomy Fund, the Gastronomy Program faculty and staff, and the Gastronomy Students Association.
Our summer term course, MET ML 611, Archaeology of Food, with Dr. Karen Metheny, introduces students to the archaeological study of food and foodways in prehistoric and historic-period cultures, with a specific focus on how food was obtained, processed, consumed, and preserved in past times, and the impact of diet upon past human populations in terms of disease and mortality. Students will learn how archaeologists use a wide range of artifacts, plant remains, human skeletal evidence, animal remains, and other data to recover information about food use and food technology over time to reconstruct past foodways practices. This introduction will be followed by a survey of the archaeological evidence of foodways from the earliest modern humans to the first farmers to more recent historical periods. Key topics will include the domestication of plants and animals, feasting, the role of households in food production, and the archaeological evidence for gender and status in cooking, preparation areas, serving vessels, and consumption. The course highlights specific foodstuffs, staples, and beverages, such as cacao and chocolate, maize, wheat, barley, beer, wine, sugar, and tea in order to show not only the range of evidence that can be brought to bear, but also how the reconstruction of foodways can reveal critical information about past cultural practice, social structure, identities, and meaning across time and space.
We will hear from experts on the origin of beer and bread, and then debate the question of which came first. Students will select a specific food or beverage to study during the semester and will engage in weekly projects to investigate how that food or beverage was prepared and served during a daily meal or in ritual context, what tools and cooking techniques were used, what ingredients were needed, who would have prepared and/or consumed this food, and its social and cultural significance. Finally, students will research and prepare a food or duplicate a food technology.
MET ML 611, Archaeology of Food meets on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 5:30 to 9 pm, EST, from May 25 to July 1, 2021.
This class will be offered in fully remote format. Non-degree seeking students will find registration instructions here.
Reducing Meat Waste by Learning to Love Organs and Accepting Other Cultures
Students in MET ML 626, Food Waste: Scope, Scale, & Signals for Sustainable Change, are contributing posts this month. Today's is from Gastronomy student Samantha Maxwell.
The often-cited Sustainable Development Goal Target 12.3 aims to reduce global food waste by 50 percent by 2030. However, according to all metrics, the world is woefully behind schedule when it comes to meeting this goal.
Perhaps the most egregious of our food waste sins is the wasting of meat products. That’s because when we waste meat, we’re not just wasting the flesh of the animal itself—we’re also wasting the huge number of resources that went into raising and housing that animal and preparing it for slaughter. If we feel guilty about throwing out that shriveled cucumber in the back of our fridge, we should be concerned about pitching out that half-eaten package of ground turkey even more.
But some meat waste happens not because we forget to cook the pork that gets lost in the back of our fridge. Instead, it happens before the food even reaches our homes. Particularly in the U.S., offal meats, organs including tripe, liver, and kidney, are unpopular cuts of meat. Instead, we’d rather opt for the chicken breast and legs instead of the liver. Wondering what happens to those organ meats? They often go to waste completely, since grocery stores know that there is limited demand for them. In fact, can you remember the last time you saw kidneys sold at your local chain supermarket?
Our disdain of organ meats is largely cultural, though. During WWII, when rationing was viewed as an important part of the war effort, organ meats were mainstream and considered enjoyable. A cookbook from this era entitled What Do We Eat Now? provides several offal recipes that are framed as neither exotic or undesirable: They were just normal cuts of meat. But as Americans got wealthier and had more access to more “desirable” cuts of meat, offal fell out of fashion. That’s a shame considering the nutritional content of many types of offal. Liver, for example, is an excellent source of iron, a mineral that many are deficient in.
Other cultures, though, continue to embrace offal and even treat it as a delicacy. The French make pate, which is considered a luxury food item by many. Many in east Asian countries eat tendon, which has a lovely soft, chewy texture when cooked in broth or marinated with flavorful fats. And in places like Spain and Panama, pig’s ears and trotters are considered a delicious appetizer, full of flavor and interesting textures.
The younger generations alive today are crossing cultural barriers like none before them. It’s easier than ever to connect with people on opposite sides of the world, and the relatively low prices of plane travel these days make international travel an option to more and more people across the world. As people in the United States and the rest of the non-offal-eating world gain greater access to parts of the planet where people do eat offal, we should start to question our own food habits. Why wouldn’t we adopt the practice of eating offal, especially when other cultures make it taste so good? International food is gaining more widespread acceptance in the U.S., which makes this a prime time for chefs and food influencers to make a push to make offal delicious again.
According to a 2019 study from Germany, choosing offal instead of more “conventional” meat just one or two times a week could “reduce livestock emissions by as much as 14 percent.” This sort of change doesn’t require people to give anything up to make a change—instead, it simply encourages them to try something new. And since people don’t like to feel like they’re being restricted, the idea of adding something into their diet is likely to seem more appealing than taking something out.
Of course, while reaching the goal of reducing food waste by 50 percent by 2030 is going to require a lot of changes to policy, we must also encourage individuals to change their habits. This doesn’t always have to be an unpleasant experience. When we can get eaters to expand their culinary horizons by eating offal, we’re not just reducing food waste—we’re also encouraging more cultural acceptance between different ethnic groups and nationalities. If we can do both at the same time and make it delicious in the process, why wouldn’t we?
Boston University Metropolitan College (MET) and the Gastronomy and Food Studies Program invite you to a special event, Accelerating Food Waste Reduction.
It is hard to believe that in our modern and increasingly connected world, billions of pounds of food are lost or wasted annually, depriving needed nutrition to hundreds of millions of global citizens while accelerating pollution, biodiversity loss and climate change.
At the same time, Covid-19 has exposed the fragility of the global food system, initially leading to an increase in food loss and waste, while the linkage between food waste, biodiversity loss, and the potential for pandemics clearly signals the need to change our wasteful ways and create a regenerative food system.
The prior decade saw the emergence of a global food waste movement with considerable emphasis on awareness-raising, education, and budding innovation efforts, and while we entered the current decade with emphasis on moving from awareness to action at scale, we have much work to do to achieve broad-based transformational change. The pressing question remains:
How can we ignite efforts to truly make this a pivotal decade of action for global food waste reduction?
Join us on April 13th:
Join our webinar for a discussion with a panel of global experts as we build on the food waste reduction successes of the past decade with a “go-forward” view toward accelerating progress in the current “decade of action” anchored by a goal of halving global food waste by 2030. In this conversational session we will review progress on food waste reduction to date, assess key successes, initiatives, and linkages to leverage now, identify remaining barriers to change, and focus on how to advance food waste reduction in a more transformational manner within a more systemic frame.
Tristram Stuart is an international award-winning author, speaker, campaigner and expert on the environmental and social impacts of food . His books have been described as "a genuinely revelatory contribution to the history of human ideas” (The Times) and his TED talk has been watched over a million times. The environmental campaigning organisation he founded, Feedback, has spread its work into dozens of countries worldwide. He is also the founder of Toast Ale, which upcycles millions of slices of unsold bread into award-winning craft beer and donates its profits to charity.
Dana Gunders serves as ReFED’s Executive Director. Dana is a national expert on food waste and one of the first to bring to light just how much food is lost throughout the food system. For almost a decade, she was a Senior Scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). She then launched Next Course, LLC to strategically advise on the topic. Some of her career highlights include authoring the landmark Wasted report and Waste-Free Kitchen Handbook, launching the Save the Food campaign with the Ad Council, testifying in Congress, consulting to Google, appearing on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, and being a founding Board Member of ReFED.
Jonathan Deutsch, Ph.D., CHE, CRC is Professor in the Department of Food and Hospitality Management in the College of Nursing and Health Professions at Drexel University and Director of the Drexel Food Lab. He is the President of the Upcycled Food Foundation and previously was the inaugural James Beard Foundation Impact Fellow, leading a national curriculum effort on food waste reduction for chefs and culinary educators. He directs the Drexel Food Lab, a culinary innovation and food product research and development lab focused on solving real world food system problems in the areas of sustainability, health promotion, and inclusive dining. He is the author or editor of eight books including Barbecue: A Global History (with Megan Elias), and Gastropolis: Food and Culture in New York City (with Annie Hauck-Lawson) and numerous articles in journals of food studies, public health and hospitality education.
Andrew Shakman is a food waste prevention advocate and the CEO of Leanpath, a technology solutions provider for the foodservice industry based in Portland, Oregon. In 2004, Leanpath invented the world’s first automated food waste tracking technology and today provides a complete food waste prevention platform including data collection hardware tools, cloud-based waste analytics and behavior change coaching. Leanpath technology is installed in more than 40 countries with clients including Sodexo, Google, and Aramark. Since 2014 alone, Leanpath has empowered culinary teams to prevent more than 63 million pounds of food from being wasted. Andrew is a member of ReFED’s Advisory Council and serves on the Board of Directors for Every Woman Treaty.
Students in MET ML 626, Food Waste: Scope, Scale, & Signals for Sustainable Change, are contributing posts this month. Today's is from Gastronomy student Sabina Michelle Säfsten Routon.
It was an issue of convenience. Or, rather, one of inconvenience — wrapping that much fish just to store it for “some guy” to come pick it up later would cost 20 minutes of employee time twice a week, and that just didn’t make sense for the department. “Those minutes add up,” explained the Meat & Seafood manager, annoyed. I obviously didn’t understand the importance of the bottom line.
So, I watched them throw it away. It was “only” about $400-worth of fish, retail — $300 on a good winter sales week, $250 in the summer. In the trash bin, every Tuesday and Thursday evening at 9. No discounted food sales allowed to store patrons — and donating it, as previously explained, “didn’t make sense.”
I’m not sure how much fish mongers made per hour in Utah in 2013, but it must have been a pretty penny if 40 minutes of time wasn’t worth an $800-per-week tax write-off, or even a few hundred dollars in discounted sales. After briefly considering a career change, I instead decided to persuade them to change this wasteful behavior.
To be clear, I don’t even like fish. The only seafood I like is salmon (likely on account of being allergic to much of the rest of it). I was taking care of my mother at the time and receiving help from the community to pay for most of the grocery bill, so I certainly couldn’t afford to buy the fish. My self-righteous indignation was growing steadily, fueled by passive-aggressive jabs about wasted food.
Then, one day in April, it was too much to handle. We ended Thursday with over ten pounds of fresh halibut fillet. Caught on Tuesday, delivered Wednesday morning. The next shipment of fish was due to arrive Friday morning, so this leftover halibut was destined for the trash. Something inside me couldn’t handle that — so I bargained.
“What if I wrap it up for you? Will you not throw it away?” I asked Jonathan*, the fishmonger. He laughed. “And what am I going to do with ten pounds of halibut fillet? I don’t even like halibut!” he responded. “Well,” I said, feeling bold, “what would it take?”
After a few minutes of haggling, he presented his final offer: If I wrapped the fish, cleaned the fish case (off-the-clock), and bought everything left in the case, I could have the fish for 90% off. I immediately agreed.
“Wait, what are YOU going to do with ten-plus pounds of halibut fillet??” he asked, incredulously. I told him not to worry about it. When the time came, I clocked out, put on a mask and gloves (I’m allergic to the shellfish), and scrubbed the fish case. I figured a job well-done could lead to future bargains, so I went all-out. Thirty minutes later, I wrapped up my fish and took $267 worth of halibut home, instead of the groceries I’d planned.
Mom was more than a bit surprised, but was enthusiastic when I explained what had happened. Turns out my mom loved fish, and so did many of her family in the area. We had some very happy friends that weekend, and Mom was thrilled to be able to help them out. I explained to Mom that I wanted to make this a regular thing, and we crunched some numbers. There was no way we could afford it. I hit on another idea: if we were careful with accounts and numbers, we could buy the fish and then sell what we didn’t need to select friends and neighbors at 50–75% off. That way they still got a bargain, and we got our fish for free.
I started calling around to some trusted friends and we made our network. The next time Jonathan didn’t want to clean the fish case, I was ready. It soon became a pretty regular thing. While I didn’t love fish, I was in culinary school and was able to arrange to take my fish and seafood class during that time. We “rescued” thousands of dollars’ worth of seafood in those 5 months.
While it turned into a huge benefit for my family, this “fish-case fiasco” never should have happened. There was a combination of many factors at play, some more obvious than others: cultural expectations, including instant gratification and impulse buying, rather than planning or ordering ahead, leading to a lack of a pre-sale structure for grocers; overabundance, resulting in too much fish being ordered, just to have a large fish case that looked “full” (a full case sells better); and variety, where people expect lots of different kinds of food/fish to be available at any time, leading to more being purchased overall by retailers. We have a generation of people out-of-touch with seasonality and geographical boundaries of cuisine, leading to massive amounts of fresh fish shipped express to the Utah desert, and a culture of convenience, where throwing fish away was preferrable to spending the extra minutes wrapping it up. There are more drivers, but these are a few.
Perhaps the biggest invisible culprit is that America has developed a culture of quality without educational backing: we want the best and the finest, but we don’t always know what that is, especially when it comes to food. Additionally, we want to eat luxuries as staples and sideline traditional staple foods. The world as a whole is leaning in this direction.
This can change. If we are to meet Target 12.3, it has to change. We may need to focus on adult behaviors in the short-term, but accurate education of coming generations is key for successfully rebalancing our planet. As the old adage goes, “Give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day; teach a man to fish, he’ll eat for a while and then take shortcuts and ruin the system. Teach a man to love to fish, and he will find a way to keep fishing for a lifetime, teach his children sustainable practices, and become a functional part of the world’s ecosystem instead of destroying it for profit.”
And he might even stop overstocking the fish case.
Sabina Michelle Säfsten Routon
Discussions of the Boston Beverage Landscape
With its focus on expensive luxury goods, gatekeeping, and arcane learning, the world of wine and spirits is largely exclusive. The elitism associated with these products contributes to class differentiation, with some groups gaining from the involvement while others become marginalized. The field of beverage studies offers a platform to consider these intricate and previously unexplored aspects of classmaking.
To explore the related pitfalls in today’s beverage industry, Gastronomy students Amy Johnson and Altamash Gaziyani have organized a conference, The Curse of Connoisseurship: Discussions of the Boston Beverage Landscape. The program is hosted and funded by the Boston University Office of Diversity & Inclusion as part of the 2020-2021 Learn More series focused on the theme of social class.
Structured as a series of six webinars to be held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings during the month of March, the conference will address who is othered and made invisible as a result of underrepresentation in the wine and spirits industry. Gastronomy students and alumni will host these conversations, bringing together industry professionals from across the Boston beverage scene to discuss the existing barriers present within this community.
Conference sessions will foster conversations about the language, rhetoric, spaces, and events used to discuss, share, and sell wine and spirits. This virtual conference is broken down into six different discussions which are free and open to the public. Please register here to join in the conversation.
Tuesday March 2, 6 pm: Crafting the Back Bar: Capitalism vs. Classism, with Jared Sadoian, General Manager, Craigie on Main
Thursday, March 4, 6 pm: One Foot in the Saloon: Recreating Classist Spaces, with Kayla Quigley, local representative of Flor de Cana, a fair trade certified, natural rum company.
Tuesday, March 9, 6 pm: Creating Hospitality Through Diversity, with TJ & Hadley Douglas, owners of the award-winning wine shop Urban Grape, in Boston’s South End.
Thursday, March 11, 6 pm: We Deserve, with Ty-Juana Flores, Creator/Founder, Suhayl Ramirez, Industry Attaché, and Charlene Chinn, Business Strategist, TFLUXÈ. The TFLUXÈ mission is to diversify, disrupt, and demystify the landscape of the wine industry one sip at a time through curated virtual events for a growing community of BIPOC consumers.
Tuesday, March 16, 6 pm: Reckoning with Power Dynamics in the Wine World, with Marie-Louise Friedland (Sommelier & Graduate Student) & Liz Mitchell (Advanced Sommelier, CMS)
Thursday, March 18, 6 pm, conference De-Brief Session: Let’s Discuss: Inclusivity in the Beverage Industry
Conference Registration link: https://bostonu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJcrd-itpj0rHdbSpyOOrUvjB_6JhsAfr6Uz
Professor Benjamin Siegel will speak in our Spring 2021 Pépin Lecture Series in Food Studies & Gastronomy on his book Hungry Nation: Food, Famine, and the Making of Modern India.
|Hungry Nation: Food, Famine, and the Making of Modern India|
|Friday, March 26 at 12 pm, EST.|
|Online program: please register here to receive a link to the webinar.|
Hungry Nation: Food, Famine, and the Making of Modern India is an ambitious and engaging new account of independent India's struggle to overcome famine and malnutrition in the twentieth century traces Indian nation-building through the voices of politicians, planners, and citizens. Siegel explains the historical origins of contemporary India's hunger and malnutrition epidemic, showing how food and sustenance moved to the center of nationalist thought in the final years of colonial rule. Independent India's politicians made promises of sustenance and then qualified them by asking citizens to share the burden of feeding a new and hungry state. Foregrounding debates over land, markets, and new technologies, Hungry Nation interrogates how citizens and politicians contested the meanings of nation-building and citizenship through food, and how these contestations receded in the wake of the Green Revolution. Drawing upon meticulous archival research, this is the story of how Indians challenged meanings of welfare and citizenship across class, caste, region, and gender in a new nation-state.
Benjamin Siegel is Assistant Professor of History at Boston University. His transnational archival work places South Asia at the center of global economic, environmental, and bodily transformations. Professor Siegel's work has been published in the Caravan, the Christian Science Monitor, Contemporary South Asia, Humanity, the International History Review, the Marginalia Review of Books, Modern Asian Studies, the World Policy Journal, VICE, and other journals and edited volumes. He received his B.A. from Yale University and his A.M. and Ph.D. from Harvard University, where his dissertation won the 2014 Sardar Patel Award given by the Center for India and South Asia at UCLA, honoring "the best doctoral dissertation on any aspect of modern India."
We thank the Jacques Pépin Foundation for sponsorship of this lecture series.
The Gastronomy Program is pleased to announce that the first program in the Spring 2021 Pépin Lecture Series in Food Studies & Gastronomy will feature Gastronomy Program alumna Emily J. H. Contois (MLA 2013), speaking on her recently published book, Diners, Dudes & Diets: How Gender and Power Collide in Food Media and Culture.
|Diners, Dudes & Diets: How Gender and Power Collide in Food Media and Culture|
|Friday, February 19 at 12 pm, EST.|
|Online program: please register here to receive a link to the webinar.|
The phrase "dude food" likely brings to mind a range of images: burgers stacked impossibly high with an assortment of toppings that were themselves once considered a meal; crazed sports fans demolishing plates of radioactively hot wings; barbecued or bacon-wrapped . . . anything. But there is much more to the phenomenon of dude food than what's on the plate. This provocative book begins with the dude himself—a man who retains a degree of masculine privilege but doesn't meet traditional standards of economic and social success or manly self-control. In the Great Recession's aftermath, dude masculinity collided with food producers and marketers desperate to find new customers. The result was a wave of new diet sodas and yogurts marketed with dude-friendly stereotypes, a transformation of food media, and weight loss programs just for guys.
In a work brimming with fresh insights about contemporary American food media and culture, Contois shows how the gendered world of food production and consumption has influenced the way we eat and how food itself is central to the contest over our identities.
Emily J.H. Contois is an Assistant Professor of Media Studies at The University of Tulsa. Her research and writing span the breadth of food, health, and identity in popular culture and media. She has appeared on CBS This Morning, BBC Ideas, and Ugly Delicious with David Chang on Netflix. She earned her PhD in American studies at Brown University and holds master's degrees in public health from UC Berkeley and gastronomy from Boston University. She lives in Tulsa with her husband and their rescue pup, Raven.
Note: anyone interested in purchasing a copy of Diners, Dudes & Diets from UNC Press can get a 40% discount using code 01DAH40.
We thank the Jacques Pépin Foundation for sponsorship of this lecture series.
We look forward to welcoming a wonderful group of new students into our programs this spring. Enjoy getting to know a few of them here.
Josephine Accarrino grew up loving the pleasures of the table. Food, alongside its traditions, always played a starring role in all her family get-togethers. Her family’s old-world traditions contrasted with friends’ traditions and stories were often traded over the different ways food was celebrated in family gatherings. In Toronto, where Jo was born and bred, a car drive of 20 minutes in any direction allows access to food from myriad cultures. In Josephine’s life, food always served as a window into culture and society.
For the first years of her working adult life, Josephine taught grades 4 – 10 after obtaining her BSc from University of Toronto and her B.Ed from the University of Western Ontario. After her first child, she transitioned, with the help of a MSc from Drexel University, to a career in clinical research, where she successfully grew and managed a boutique research firm, and evened up the family with a second child. Lucky enough to have wound down the company just before the pandemic hit, Covid restrictions gave Josephine time to reflect on what mattered most to her. Not surprisingly, she came back to food, people and culture. In truth, these three loves never really left – travelling the world for work and pleasure afforded Josephine the deep satisfaction of delving into different cultures through their relationship with food. Josephine will never be sure if she found the Certificate Program in Food Studies at Boston University Food or if it found her; either way, she is very excited to begin this next phase of her journey.
Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Hannah Billingsley spent her formative years riding horses and watching Martha Stewart. She did a gap year between high school and college in Cape Town, South Africa before ending up in NYC, where she graduated from Columbia University in 2010 with a BA in African Studies.
A love of contemporary photography has led her down a winding career path, and she returned to her beloved Cape Town to live and work from 2013 to 2019. A few years in the art world eventually led to work in academic publishing at Pearson South Africa, which she continues today as a freelance editor, in addition to her work as a copywriter. A life-long love of pie and baking saw her introduce American-style fruit pies to Cape Town via her pie stand at one of the city's weekly food markets. She also has spent the past couple of years learning French and was able to live in France for three months in 2019, an opportunity which allowed her to start thinking seriously about studying food.
Discovering the writings of Wendell Berry, Jean Vitaux, Robin Wall Kimmerer and Clarissa Dickson Wright over the past three years has been a significant experience to say the least and intensified her belief that many of the world's problems relate to issues around food and farming. Through the certificate course at BU, she hopes to find her 'purpose' within food studies, while learning more about her particular interests in regenerative farming, proper animal husbandry, home economics and the possibility of food to function as a diplomatic tool.
As a Chinese American, food has always been a pillar to Catherine Blewer's identity. She finds nothing more comforting than a bowl of congee. While she is biased toward Chinese food she also greatly enjoys exploring other types of cuisine. She often craves seafood and looks forward to living in Boston where she will be much closer to the Wellfleet oyster.
Catherine graduated from Union College majoring in Visual Arts. She also received a Certificate in Cooking from the New England Culinary Institute and has worked on the line at a couple of restaurants. She now works for a small Virtual Events company that teaches Sushi Rolling and Bubble Tea helping build out their quality assurance department and hone their creative brand.
Catherine hopes to learn as much as she can while studying at BU and further orient her career into the food world. In particular, she hopes she can apply what she learns to help the small business she works for as well as helping the restaurant community recover after the pandemic.
Beyond food Catherine really enjoys true crime, photography and a good book. She currently lives in New York where she is from with two roommates and many plants.
Sabina Michelle Routon is a polymath who doesn’t actually enjoy math all that much. She does enjoy learning languages, writing, drumming, learning about finance, making jam, telling stories, conducting choirs, and completing the first half of any given crochet project. Because she enjoys these things, she chose not to major in any of them and instead got her B.S. degree in Family Studies, emphasizing human sexuality and family systems, from Brigham Young University. She minored in Linguistics and spun cymbals in the marching band, taking various classes in theater-makeup, rhetoric, and Russian literature so she would have something to talk about at parties.
Sabina received her culinary education through the then-pioneering online program from Escoffier School of Culinary Arts; she has since earned a certificate in entrepreneurship from LDS Business College and an industry certification as a professional resume writer and career coach. She taught scores of community cooking and gardening classes in Provo, Utah, and spent many years as a caterer, recipe developer, and artisan baker. Over the years, she discovered an interest in bean-to-bar chocolate, a love for learning the use and history of spices and herbs, and an unexpectedly deep-rooted excitement about apples.
Though these interests seem disparate to some, Sabina looks forward to bringing the best of them to bear through her gastronomy studies at BU and beyond. She is passionate about community self-reliance, sustainability and hunger-relief efforts. Of all of her professional and academic interests, her deepest fulfillment comes through building systems to help individuals and communities thrive.
She looks forward to working with others to strengthen food systems around the globe, particularly in the wake of Covid-19 and other recent disasters.
Sarah Lindsey hasn’t been in school for a while. Last time she was, she was earning her BFA in theater from NYU. It was the 90’s and the city was filled with possibilities and brunch. Five years later, with the possibilities starting to seem less likely to pay off, she took a hospitality job in the USVI. Before she knew what was happening, she was applying for a job as a chef on a charter sailing yacht. In the interview, the boat owner asked where she had worked as a chef before. She replied, “I haven’t, but I lived in NYC for 10 years and ate in a lot of restaurants, so I know how food should look and taste.”
Somehow that bit of bravado paid off. She got the job and realized she loved not just eating food, but cooking it. She moved on to a second yacht job, then back to land where she kept cooking and developing recipes and menus, working for a small, family run business. It seemed the next step should be starting her own small, family run business - an investment to take her through the next stage of life while raising her daughter. Turns out you need more than bravado and good food to run a restaurant these days. Without coproprate backers, or (frankly) business know-how, the restaurant came to an untimely end, leaving Sarah to rethink that next stage of life.
Sarah joins the Gastronomy program remotely from Austin, TX. Beginning with the Food Studies Certificate, she hopes to explore the field of food writing for the media. Fascinated by the effects of culture and history on perceptions of food and health, she’s looking forward to digging into ideas, learning new skills and drawing connections that help us understand the whys of our complicated relationships to food.