Dr. Trubek is Chair and Professor in the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences at the University of Vermont. She teaches courses in the contemporary food system, food and culture, qualitative research methods, and food history. Her research interests include the history of the culinary profession, globalization of the food supply, the relationship between taste and place, and cooking as a cultural practice.
About Amy Trubek, PhD:
My fascination with all things culinary began in childhood. I used to watch Julia Child on public television with my mother on a weekend morning. Afterwards we would often go to the kitchen and try to make a dish or even a meal from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, an amazing culinary tome that Child wrote with Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle. In high school I started a small catering business with a friend and worked at a great local restaurant, making cookies and bars and spending time with the quirky characters (cooks and customers) that came in and out each day. From that time on, I knew exploring food and cooking were going to be major parts of my life.
Dr. Amy Trubek is Chair and Professor in the Nutrition and Food Science department at the University of Vermont Trained as a cultural anthropologist and chef, her research interests include the history of the culinary profession, globalization of the food supply, the relationship between taste and place, and cooking as a cultural practice. She teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses, including Basic Concepts of Food, Qualitative Research Methods and Food Systems, Society and Policy. She is the author of Haute Cuisine: How the French Invented the Culinary Profession (2000) and The Taste of Place: A Cultural Journey into Terroir (2008) as well as numerous articles and book chapters.
Dr. Trubek is involved in two long-term research initiatives, one on the taste of place and the other on cooking as a skillful practice. The taste of place research presently involves looking at the sensory experience of tasting and evaluating artisan products from Vermont with the goal of helping producers, consumers and policymakers better understand the qualities and quality of place-based food and drink. She is hard at work transforming her research on cooking as a skillful practice into a book manuscript. She is also collaborating with Cynthia Belliveau, Lisa Heldke and Jonathan Deutsch on a food, cooking and pedagogy project. Amy lives with her family on an heirloom apple orchard, where they make fresh cider, hard cider, and ice cider, and pick lots of fresh apples, pears and plums.
Open Office Hours are Thursdays 1:00-2:30pm, or by appointment.
Food Systems Research:
- The Taste of Place Lab
- The Taste of Place Lab emerged from conversations among researchers, policymakers and producers, primarily in Vermont. We wanted to look more closely at the relationship between the tastes of food and drink and geographic locales.
Terroir and gout du terroir, concepts that originated in France but can be applied universally to describe how physical landscapes are expressed in physiological taste (i.e., the sensory experience of food and drink). While the classic example of terroir is found in French wines, the connection between taste and place can be observed in food practices and values around the globe. Most recently, our lab’s research has explored this connection in two prominent Vermont food products, artisan cheese and maple syrup.
Members of the lab come from diverse academic and professional backgrounds and bring unique personal experiences and interests to the table. What we share is a commitment to combining ideas about social relations with various empirical data gathering techniques in order to get at what is actually happening with regard to people’s everyday values and practices.
Food, Cooking and Skillful Practice
My second area of research examines the link between cooking practices, cooking knowledge and individual health. This research involves a qualitative research project looking at the food environment, people's cooking skill and cooking knowledge, and individual health.
This project has three research strands:
- Interview people about everyday choices on what and how to cook dinner and then to videotape them making dinner
- Do a textual analysis of iconic American cookbooks and manuscript archives (including The Joy of Cooking and Mastering the Art of French Cooking) for assumptions about what Americans do or do not know about cooking
- Identify long term changes in the American food system and the impacts on everyday cooking. We hope this research will have applications for the development of better intervention strategies to address contemporary nutrition issues.
- Select videos from the ethnography of cooking study. Please contact Dr. Trubek in order to be given access to the video portal.
Books and Publications:
The Taste of Place
The Taste of Place was released in the Spring of 2008 from the UC Davis Press. In the book, Dr. Trubek looks at the importance of terroir as a cultural category and explores how terroir is being used in the United States today to change our food culture. The Taste of Place has been featured in the Burlington Free Press and on Vermont Public Radio. Chapter 1 is available online through the University of California Press. You may purchase the book by clicking on the bookcover.
Haute Cuisine: How the French Invented the Culinary Profession
Dr. Trubek's Other Publications
- A 'Knack' for Cooking: What are the Required Tools? In the 2013 Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery, Pages 336-344.
- Appetite Journal, "A Little Information Excites Us". Consumer sensory experience of Vermont artisan cheese as active paractice". Jacob Lahne, Amy B. Trubek. Appetite. Volume 78. Pages 129-138.
- Opportunities for Agriculture Working Paper Series
- Vermont Foodways Digital Initiative
- ARCADE, "Maple Syrup, Terroir and Aesthetics"
- Sensate Journal, "Visible Sap" (and companion piece, The Map of Maple)
In the Media:
The following are links to articles, interviews, and radio shows that Dr. Trubek has been a part of in the past few years. Enjoy!
- Audio Interviews with Amy Trubek
- Eat this Podcast, "Vermont and gthe Taste of Place: Stories Add to Our Enjoyment of Artisanal Cheeses:, July 14, 2014
- Indiana Public Media, "Local Food Thrives in Vermont", June 8, 2013
- Vermont Public Radio, "Vermont Food Traditions and the Localvore Movement" aired May 29, 2012
- Vermont Public Radio, "The Taste of Place" aired April 2, 2008
- North Country Public Radio, "A Passion for Local Food" aired September 12, 2007
- Interviews with Dr. Trubek
- Culinate Interview, "Amy Trubek the Academic" August 5, 2008
- Articles about Dr. Trubek
- Slate Magazine, "Far From the Tree: Why Vermont Wants You to Use Wine Descriptors to Talk About Maple Syrup" May 2013
- Seven Days, "Words to Eat by" December 17, 2008
- The Toronto Star, "Keeping in Touch with Terroir" August 25, 2008
- Eating Well Magazine, "Amy Trubek defines Terroir" July/August 2008
- Seven Days, "Home on the Range" May 18, 2008
- As a UPenn Alumn,i "Local Taste", August 25, 2005
- Mentions of Dr. Trubek
- Addison Independent, "Many Syrups, Many Grades" January 1, 2007
- New York Times, "Talk about a Fork in the Road..." May 9, 1998
Amy Trubek, PhD
University of Vermont
Department of Nutrition & Food Sciences
251 MLS Carrigan Wing
109 Carrigan Dr.
Burlington, Vt 05405
Office phone: 802-656-0833
Food Systems Graduate Program
Program Coordinator: Allison Spain
109 Carrigan Drive
236 Marsh Life Science
Burlington, VT 05405
Office phone: 802-656-2042
Department of Nutrition & Food Sciences
Department Coordinator: Ann Martin
109 Carrigan Drive
256 MLS Carrigan Wing
Burlington, VT 05405
Office phone: 802-656-5485