Educated Tastes: Food, Drink, and Connoisseur Culture

Educated Tastes: Food, Drink, and Connoisseur Culture

Educated Tastes: Food, Drink, and Connoisseur Culture

Educated Tastes: Food, Drink, and Connoisseur Culture

Synopsis

The old adage "you are what you eat" has never seemed more true than in this era, when ethics, politics, and the environment figure so prominently in what we ingest and in what we think about it. Then there are connoisseurs, whose approaches to food address "good taste" and frequently require a language that encompasses cultural and social dimensions as well. From the highs (and lows) of connoisseurship to the frustrations and rewards of a mother encouraging her child to eat, the essays in this volume explore the complex and infinitely varied ways in which food matters to all of us.
Educated Tastes is a collection of new essays that examine how taste is learned, developed, and represented. It spans such diverse topics as teaching wine-tasting, food in Don Quixote, Soviet cookbooks, cruel foods, and the lambic beers of the Belgian Payottenland. A set of key themes connect these topics: the relationships between taste and place; how our knowledge of food shapes taste experiences; how gustatory discrimination functions as a marker of social difference; and the place of ethical, environmental, and political concerns in debates around the importance and meaning of taste. With essays that address, variously, the connections between food, drink, and music; the place of food in the development of Italian nationhood; and the role of morality in aesthetic judgment, Educated Tastes offers a fresh look at food in history, society, and culture.

Excerpt

This book is about taste. As such, its principal focus is one of the more slippery terms in the English language. Although our interest here is taste as it relates to food and drink, an important starting point is to recognize that the terminology of taste is frequently used in domains other than the gustatory. In the arts, design, architecture, fashion, and in countless other forms of visual and verbal communication, ideas and particularly judgments may be couched in terms of taste. Such expressions and assessments as “good taste,” “bad taste,” “tasteful,” and “in poor taste” may be applied to matters as diverse as wallpaper, gardens, remarks, movies, the layout of a store, advertising, the wording of an invitation, wristwatches, timing in general, furniture, jokes, and flower arrangements. Questions of taste intrude into almost every act of selecting, combining, and positioning that we perform, particularly in a consumer society where we are as likely to be defined by what we wear, drive, eat, and drink as by our politics, beliefs, and jobs. (Equally, the separation of such realms is problematic; several of the essays in this volume insist upon the profound connection between our consumption and its political, ethical, and social ramifications.) Hence, although gustatory taste as one of the five senses does have a distinct meaning, a crucial theme of this book is how this narrowly defined physiological process spins out to meet the broader usage of taste described above—how taste . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.