University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

Humanities Center

Panel of Food Experts to Talk Cooking, Writing and American Culture March 31

“Once upon a time,” a food writer recently lamented, “food was about where you came from. Now, for many of us, it is about where we want to go – about who we want to be, how we choose to live.” For better or worse, the kitchen and the table have become sites of intense scrutiny — and food writing, in a profusion of historical studies, newspaper and magazine columns and essays, cookbooks, memoirs and blogs, has become the hottest genre of cultural journalism, history and criticism.

To ponder and reflect on these matters, UVM’s Food Systems Graduate Program and Humanities Center will host a panel of first-rate food writers at a free, public event on Tuesday, March 31, from 9 to 10 am.

Panelists include:  

  • Laura Shapiro, an award-winning New York-based journalist, and author of the acclaimed cultural histories, Something from the Oven: Reinventing Dinner in 1950’s America and Perfection Salad: Women and Cooking at the Turn of the Century.
  • Molly Stevens, a Vermont-based cookbook author, editor and cooking teacher whose books, All About Roasting: A New Approach to a Classic Art and All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking each won a James Beard Foundation Award and International Association of Culinary Professionals Awards. 
  • Rowan Jacobsen, a Vermont-based writer whose work has appeared in Best Food Writing, is the author of Apples of Uncommon Character, American Terroir: Savoring the Flavors of Our Woods, Waters, and Fields, and the James Beard Foundation Award-winning A Geography of Oysters: The Connoisseur’s Guide to Oyster Eating.

John Gennari, associate professor of English and critical race and ethnic studies, will moderate the discussion. Gennari’s  recent publications include the essay, “The Knife and the Bread, the Brutal and the Sacred: Louis DeSalvo at the Family Table.”

This event will be held at the UVM Davis Center’s Livak Ballroom. A book signing will follow from 10 to 10:30 a.m.

Laura Shapiro will also deliver a Burack President’s Distinguished Lecture at UVM on Monday, March 30. “Eleanor’s Power Menus: Stuffed Eggs and Shrimp Wiggle in the FDR Whitehouse” will take place at 4 p.m. in 101 Fleming Museum. Learn more on the Burack lecture series website.