In alphabetical order
Migrant food needs in context:
Reconsidering ideas of good nutrition
Dr Karen Agutter & Professor Rachel Ankeny
University of Adelaide
In the immediate post-World War II period in 1949, as over 170,000 Displaced Persons arrived from Europe, young ‘New Australians’ were considered to be the most desirable of migrants, as they would grow up alongside local children, and therefore readily assimilate and become model Australians. Hence when a number of babies and infant refugees died from malnutrition and associated diseases in their early days in Australia, these cases came to dominate newspaper headlines and be publicly viewed as particularly tragic.
This paper explores these events and the public outcry that ensued, which resulted in a series of enquiries into the nutritional needs of refugees. The findings revealed that use of a military-based ration scale outside of its original wartime context was largely to blame, and resulted in development of diets and associated provisioning processes that were more adequately tailored to the nutritional and social needs of these post-War refugees in their new locale. This paper uses governmental records, popular media accounts, and contemporaneous scientific literature from the emerging field of nutrition science to explore how place and context matter to dietary needs.
Dr Karen Agutter is a historian of migration with a particular interest in the host society- migrant relationship in 20th century Australia. Karen is a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Adelaide.
Professor Rachel Ankeny is an interdisciplinary scholar whose research interests include food studies and migration. She is currently the Associate Dean Research and the Deputy Dean in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Adelaide.
Producing food, producing new Australians:
Catering for the Olympic Games
Dr Karen Agutter
University of Adelaide
In 1956, Australia was just beginning to come to terms with the increasing number of European migrant arrivals, or at least starting to view them as essential to the country’s required economic expansion and population growth. However, the nation largely remained monocultural and British, entrenched in an immigration policy which supported a ‘white Australia’ and hence which clearly treated new migrants as ‘out of place.’ The hosting of the 1956 Olympics Games in Melbourne hence presented an interesting dilemma which required not only a pragmatic solution but also forced reconsideration of what and who counted as Australian:how do you feed the huge numbers of Olympic athletes and visitors coming from many nations of the world?
The government responded by employing so-called New Australians as cooks and providing assisted passage to 120 chefs who were then offered permanent residency following the Games. This paper uses the lens of food to considers how, for a very brief period, Melbourne flirted with an early form of multiculturalism where migrants and foreigners were both ‘exotic Others’ and model Australians who through their culinary services represented their new country to the world.
Dr Karen Agutter is a historian of migration with a particular interest in the host society-migrant relationship in 20th century Australia. Karen is a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Adelaide.
Memories of maiz in transnational US-Salvadoran space
Dr Mike Anastario
Universidad Centroamericana, El Salvador
As some US Americans doubt whether Salvadoran migrants are deserving of residency and citizenship statuses, some Salvadoran migrants doubt the integrity of what US Americans call food. Based on ethnographic work with Salvadoran couriers who deliver food parcels from rural El Salvador to mestizo migrants living in the USA, this paper examines the orientation and objects of restorative nostalgic gazes that develop amidst diasporic divides. Restorative nostalgia (which emphasises the Greek nostos, the return home) among rural Salvadoran migrants harboured critiques of US wholesale food that were grounded in sensual experiences of disgust and intrigues regarding US food processing.
In the Salvadoran countryside, the matriarch of an outdoor, roadside eatery easily delineates the farm- to-table process of the corn she uses to make tortillas. A corn farming elder visiting Colorado utilized the lunar cycle to sow corn in the suburban backyard of Denver-based kin. An undocumented farmer in Boulder used US earnings to purchase terrain for his milpa in the Salvadoran countryside, to which he will return. The word milpa is appropriated from the Aztec and means “field”, typically referring to a field that is slashed, burned, and where corn, beans, and squash are cultivated with attention to lunar and solar temporalities, astronomical patterns, landscape, and weather. Older farmers remember cultivation techniques that came from the people de antes (“from before”), presumably indigenous communities (e.g. Pipil, Maya) that have since been subject to genocides and experiences of historical loss. Memories of these cultivation techniques intersect with memories of non-biotech modified corn seed. It is probable that traces of practical ontology are being preserved in restorative nostalgic practices of longing, oral knowledge transfer, and construction of nostos imaginaries. These practices synchronize with sensual experiences of repulsion and challenges of symbolic violence to which new migrant groups are subject in the US today.
Mike Anastario received his PhD in Sociology from Boston College in 2007. He teaches applied statistics in the Mathematics Department at the Universidad Centroamericana (UCA) in El Salvador, and his research interests focus on social memory, violence, and agrarian life. In his most recent research, he lived, worked, and traveled with Salvadoran couriers who transport food parcels from El Salvador to the US. He is the author of an upcoming book Parcels:Memories of Salvadoran Migration.
Barbecue: Transferred identity
Boston University, USA
In the United States, barbecue is seen as a quintessentially American dish, even when the different regions cannot agree on what is exactly barbecue. Memphis is typically pulled pork with a tomato-based sauce or dry rub ribs, while Texas tends to focus on beef brisket, and up North anything that’s been on the grill and has been slathered in sauce is barbecue. But how American is barbecue? And what makes something barbecue? Nearly every early society in the world had meat cooked over an open flame. Do all these cultures have barbecue or is there something more specific to the classification? Although Shakespeare made the argument, “What’s in a name?” names allow people to classify things in order to better understand them and to apply meaning. Taking that under consideration it is important to look at how a Caribbean cooking method and meal migrated to the United States and became part of US and especially Southern identity.
Jennifer Bailey is completing her Master of Liberal Arts in Gastronomy at Boston University with a focus in Food History and Culture. She has done a variety of research on food and identity, cultural tourism, and women in the beer industry throughout history. Food and identity is a recurring theme in much of her work as it is that importance we place on food, whether we realise it or not, that creates our dynamic with various foods. She currently works for a small family farm outside of Boston and is very active in Boston’s local food system.
The author, her publisher and the courtcase:
An angry cookery book writer seeks redress. The story of how Maria Rundell reclaimed her place
A combination of social change and technology nineteenth-century England gave rise to a publishing bonanza. With the cost of book production falling and increasing numbers of the middle-class households ready to spend on literary diversions and practical guidance, the once humble publisher rose from small time printer and bookseller to a place of influence and social prominence. The great publishing houses were made in this period; their fortunes built on a combination of dependable, commercial titles and fashionable works.
For the astute publisher, a popular cookery book became an essential component of the business; the right one could keep on giving, edition after edition, with little or no attention, sometimes for many years. Consequently, when Maria Rundell literally dropped her manuscript into publisher John Murray’s lap, refusing remuneration or acknowledgement for her efforts, this canniest of publishers knew his luck was in. From an initial small risk in the project, he enjoyed a huge return and the house of John Murray never looked back.
Rundell’s recipes and menus shaped the middle-class English table in the early part of the nineteenth century, much as Bryon’s verses and the tales of Jane Austen and Walter Scott thrilled the English imagination. So, it came as a shock to the publisher when years later the once biddable woman returned to bite his hand, frustrated, angry and determined to reclaim her work. Refusing to be patronised any longer, she took Murray- then at the peak of his career- to the one of the highest courts in the land to argue over the vexed issue of copyright in cookery books.
Using correspondence with Murray and transcripts of the court case, this paper explores how Maria Rundell and John Murray misread each other so profoundly, why Murray neglected her for so long and why she changed her mind about the worth of her writing.
Sarah Benjamin has been working on the relationship between English cookery book authors and their publishers in the 18th and 19th Century. She is the author of A Castle in Tuscany: The Remarkable Life of Janet Ross, 2006 and has presented a paper on Eliza Acton at SAG in Adelaide 2008.
When the subject “Out of Place” was chosen for the conference, instantly the book Hungry City, by Caroline Steel came to my mind. I am deeply interested in Food Urbanism or how living in cities has redefined our connection with food and agriculture. As Steel suggests, food used to define cities, towns, human interactions because we, as animals, obviously need to eat. In the last century, thanks to technology and better transport, the relationship between nature, agriculture and us humans totally changed. Steel says that the balance between production and consumers is now damaged and today few eaters are conscious of the processes that are requires bringing food into a metropolis.
She says “Food that used to be the core of the city, (is) at the periphery. It used to be a social event buying and selling food, now is anonymous. We used to cook, now we just add water (…). We don’t smell food to see if it is ok to eat, we just read a label (…); and we don’t value food, we don’t trust it; so, instead of trusting it, we fear it; instead of valuing it, we throw it away”
How did something so basic, so connected with our deepest essence as human being can be nowadays considered so distant, so out of place?
I would like to reflect on her study as a way to understand how our values toward food have changed. Not only there is now a tendency not to value food, but, interestingly, to value food according the aesthetic factor. Supermarkets and consumers alike, judge fruit, vegetables, dishes according to market standards of shape, color, weight, an attitude that, in my opinion, also indicate a huge misunderstanding of how unpredictable and diverse nature really is.
Amalia Berastegui was born in Argentina, and moved to Australia 5 years ago. She studied Sociology and developed an interest in Urban Sociology and how food business defines and it is defined by our space organisation. She come from a family of farmers, so food business has always been part of her life. She is also a fully qualified chef with more than 6 years experience, who always tries to combine her knowledge to reflect on the food system we know, especially regarding food waste and hunger which is something she is deeply concerned about.
Appropriation and reclamation of the Kakadu plum
University of Queensland
The presentation on the access and benefit sharing regimes in Australia follows the movement, translation and conceptualisation of the Kakadu plum (Terminalia ferdinandiana), a fruit with the highest known Vitamin C content in the world. With origins as a native food and traditional medicinal plant of Aboriginal communities in the northern parts (‘Top End’) of Australia, the Kakadu plum has been the object of multiple instances of appropriation, but more recently, an example of reclamation.
The fruit of the Kakadu plum was the focal point of legal and media controversy in 2007-2011 when the US cosmetic company Mary Kay filed for patent in Australia over a Kakadu plum extract for use in skin creams. While the Australian patent application was withdrawn in the face of objections from Indigenous communities and concerned academics, similar patents were granted in the United States and remain in force.
The story of appropriation by means of intellectual property rights has since been overtaken by a tale of reclamation. A consortium of Aboriginal women in the Northern Territory have developed a central business hub through which a network of remote Indigenous communities coordinate their efforts to wild harvest the Kakadu plum in accordance with traditional practices and on their traditional homelands (‘in place’). The reclaimed Kakadu plum is transformed into new commodities by the Aboriginal communities and their collaborators, such as powders, sauces, superfoods, and natural antimicrobial treatments that extend the shelf life of prawns. In its emergent role in the modern Australian food system, the Kakadu plum once again finds itself ‘out of place’ on supermarket shelves and coating the products of commercial aquaculture, but on terms that reinforce traditional connections to country and culture.
Jocelyn Bosse is undertaking her PhD in the TC Beirne School of Law, as part of the Australian Research Council Laureate Fellowship project entitled, ‘Harnessing Intellectual Property to Build Food Security’. She has been a research assistant in the School of Agriculture since 2015, where she conducts research on the improvement of Australian rice varieties to temperature stress. Her research interests include plant biology, traditional knowledge, access and benefit sharing, and international trade law.
Dr Amie Sexton
A performance of original songs and beat poetry/spoken word exploring wine’s rightful (and wrongful place) in Australia and the world. Entertaining, thought provoking, beautiful and a little tongue in cheek.
Performed by Amie Brûlée, singer, songwriter & storyteller (aka Dr. Amie Sexton, wine researcher & anthropologist). You may have seen her present a mini version of her Escoffier show at the 21st Symposium in Melbourne in 2016. Amie Brûlée explores French history and culture, wine, food and pleasure through vintage style songs and storytelling.
Working song titles and themes: The Terror of Terroir (Terroir); The Wonderful Wineyard of Oz (Wine In Australia); Dammit, I want to drink red with my fish (Wine & Food Pairing); Your place or mine? (New World/Old World); Breakfast Bubbles (Wine & Time)
Amie Sexton is a musician and researcher who completed a PhD on the anthropology of wine production at The University of Melbourne in 2017. She completed undergraduate studies in music and French, and has a particular interest in the creative process, wine and the arts. She currently spreads her work between the wine industry, the arts and research.
From suspect migrant to model Australian:
Natale Italiano and the transformation of Perfect Cheese
University of Adelaide
In 1930, when Italian migrant Natale Italiano founded the Perfect Cheese Company and began making cheese for other migrants in the inner suburbs of Melbourne, both his ethnicity and the cheese he produced were significantly out of place. While Italians were already the largest migrant group in Australia of a non-English speaking background, they were often the targets of xenophobia, racism and, particularly in the lead up to World War II, suspicion.
However by 1973, Italiano was used by the Australian Government as a poster boy for migrant success and the cheese that he produced was celebrated as innovative and worthy of imitation. This paper will explore how Italiano and his company went from a small, obscure, even illegal, business, hawking suspiciously exotic cheese to a foreign, marginalised people to a thriving company celebrated by mainstream Australia and regarded by officialdom as a local producer to be protected from foreign competition. By using a range of primary sources, specifically letters, dairy licence hearings, and other material produced by the Victorian Department of Agriculture, this paper demonstrates how both individuals and food products can progress from being outsider to insider when the social, cultural, and economic circumstances allow for it.
Tania Cammarano is a PhD candidate at the University of Adelaide. Her research focuses on the history of Italian food in Australia. Prior to embarking on an academic career, she wrote about food for News Limited and Australian Associated Press, amongst others. She was also the founding editor of food and recipe website, taste.com.au. She has taught food writing as part of the Graduate Program in Food Studies at the University of Adelaide and is currently teaching in the Higher Education program at William Angliss Institute.
Ferment to be: Microbial mates from soil to plate
Dr Miin Chan, Dr Kate Howell & Giulia Smith
University of Melbourne
This groundbreaking panel explores the role of unseen microbial farmers, chefs and medicine makers throughout the food system, and our symbiotic relationship with them, from soil to gut. For thousands of years, humans have worked with their microbial mates to grow, ferment and digest food, tantalising our taste buds, ensuring diversity in our diet and keeping us in good health. The complex human-microbe relationship highlights our interdependence with bacteria, yeasts and other fungi. Yet for decades, the attitude towards microbes in our food system has put them out of place, forcing them into the pathogens-only category to suit food safety guidelines, a remnant of the decades-old war against bacteria.
With a recent resurgence in the West’s interest in fermented foods and gut microbiota, we’ve changed our relationship with microbes, understanding their place in maintaining balance in our food and our bodies. From soil ecology, microbial terroir, traditional ferments and modern quirky ones, to advancements in gut microbiota and nutritional medicine, our panelists will lead a lively discussion on the history, culture, science, anthropology and gastronomy of our microbial mates.
Dr. Miin Chan, MBBS, BMedSc. As a medical doctor & researcher obsessed with taste, food culture, ferments and nutrition, Miin founded Australia’s first tibicos business, Dr.Chan’s. She helped to create the local wild fermentation industry through products, education, science communication and consultation. Working with farmers’ markets, Slow Food Melbourne and urban agriculture charity Sustain, she has a deep love for all things food, from soil to gut. Engaged in a love affair with microbes, Miin is undertaking a PhD at the University of Melbourne researching the effects of fermented foods on chronic disease via gut microbiota. @dr.chans @slowferment @gastronomymagic
Dr Kate Howell, PhD, is a senior lecturer at the University of Melbourne, with research interests in microbial ecology and food biochemistry. She studies yeast and bacterial communities in a wide variety of food ecosystems, including bread, beer, wine and chocolate. Why does food taste better when a community of microbes is present? What can interactions between microorganisms tell us about wider ecological systems? Kate uses analytical methods to understand the biochemical pathways of yeasts and bacteria that influence flavour production, and draws these together with broader ecological and social understandings of taste, health and sustainability.
Giulia Smith, MSc, recently completed her Master of Food Science at the University of Melbourne. Her thesis, “Taming the Wild: The Practice of Wild Fermentation in Food andBeverage Production” uses an ethnographic approach to examine the values, practices and beliefs surrounding small-scale production and consumption of wild fermented products. A food-focused anthropologist, food scientist and food systems researcher, Giulia has worked in Rome with the FAO, IFAD and VEIL’s innovative FoodPrint Melbourne Project. Fascinated by the culture of cultures and the human-microbe relationship, she is currently applying her knowledge of fermentation to the winemaking sector.
Fetish & Food
In the matter of food, the media and the food industry are complicit in constantly referring to food as art and it is common for chefs, such as Ferran Adrià and Heston Blumenthal, to be described as making art, I would dissent from this view. Art, as in “Fine Art “, is out of place in the kitchen. The word art has many meanings, and while things such as sculpture, painting, architecture, writing, film and printmaking are called “fine arts”, the word can also be defined as the skill or craft of making something that is technically perfect. It is this latter meaning that I take as relating to food preparation, cooking and presentation. However food has long been a subject of an artist’s focus, from the earliest times the records we have show food has featured in the art of the times, for example ancient Egypt tomb paintings featured hunting, harvesting, preparation and banquets.
Fetish & Food is a series of art works produced to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Dada art movement that saw light of day in Zurich, in February 1916. Virtually every artistic principle and device which underlies the literature, music, theatre, and visual arts of our time was promoted, if not invented, by the Dadaists: the use of collage and assemblage; the use of random elements and chance in the act of creation. The Fetish & Food art works are autobiographical in the general sense that all artists draw on life’s experiences. While a thoughtful viewing will reveal connections to art history, contemporary art and in every work there is the influence of Dada, whether it be subversive, confronting, interactive, appropriation or elements of chance.; they also incorporate my comments, thinking, pet hates and enjoyment to do with food, nutrition and lifestyle trends.
Max Dingle is an artist, curator and writer and a National Art School graduate. As DeputyDirector of the Australian National Maritime Museum until 2008, he carried out research on food in maritime history. Since 2008, Max has authored a number of books and writes for South Coast websites and magazines, on art, culture, food and wine.
Haunted by the taste of laksa:
Dislocation and relocations in Australia and Canada
Dr Jean Duruz
University of South Australia
This paper reflects on journeys made on “the laksa trail” – my own in search of nostalgic flavours of a laksa-loving, young adulthood in Australia, and those of immigrant entrepreneurs seeking to re-imagine, through small businesses, their “Asian” culinary cultures in cities of the west. In following laksa’s haunting tastes – its diasporic traces, its intersecting foodscapes, this paper seeks to unravel complex relations of globalisation, culinary nationalism and heritage. Pertinent questions include: how well do historically mixed “fusion” dishes travel from Asia to cities of the west?; can such dishes epitomise both heritage, on one hand, and creative adaptation and entrepreneurialism, on the other?; does this contribution of dislocated and re-invented dishes inevitably mean loss of “authenticity” – a corruption of tradition in the name of fashionable experimentation with ingredients – producing, in Goldstein’s words, “a murky mélange” (2005)?
Drawing on the conceptual frameworks of Asian food scholars such as Lily Kong, Chua Beng Huat and Lai Ah Eng, the paper focuses on fragments of narratives of migration and diaspora that involve re-location of laksa and other familiar Singaporean and Malaysian dishes to the street stalls, cafes and restaurants of Adelaide, Australia and Toronto, Canada, respectively. These re-inventions do not simply signal adjustment to unfamiliar places or expressions of creative entrepreneurialism, or even opportunistic adventuring; they also represent significant influences in shaping the foodscapes of multi-ethnic, multi-culinary global cities “out of” Asia. In these journeys of culinary heritage across the globe, it is possible that new “out of place” identities are forged through intersecting imaginaries of “Asian”, “western”, “modern” and “cosmopolitan”. In the process, ingested and remembered tastes of laksa, together with those of other dishes like it, make a distinctive “in place” Asian contribution to meanings of cosmopolitan commensality.
Dr Jean Duruz is an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow in the School of Creative Industries at the University of South Australia; she is also is an Affiliated Professor of the University of Toronto’s Culinaria Research Centre. Her research focuses on cultural connections of place and identity in postcolonial, global cities, such as London, Mexico City, New York City, Sydney and Singapore, and has been published in journals and edited collections, such as Gastronomica, Cultural Studies Review and Food and Foodways in Asia. Co-written with Gaik Cheng Khoo, Jean’s recent book is Eating Together: Food, Space and Identity in Malaysia and Singapore (Rowman & Littlefield).
When provenance might make more sense in this place…
Associate Professor Jacqueline Dutton
University of Melbourne
Why do we talk about terroir in Australian wine production? Who uses this French term here, and what does it mean outside France? According to the International Organisation of Wine (OIV), “Terroir includes specific soil, topography, climate, landscape characteristics and biodiversity features” (Resolution OIV-VITI 333-2010). While the OIV does recognise the value of knowledge in discerning terroir, many scholars including Marion Demossier, Amy Trubeck, and Kolleen Guy argue the need to foreground human influence in official definitions of the concept. A wealth of new research has been published over the past 20 years, helping us understand the art and science of terroir, and possibly separate the myths from the reality.
This paper takes up a different strand of the terroir debate. I want to explore how this mysterious word has retained its redolence despite crossing endless oceans and enemy lines. Can it translate centuries of French know-how into the Australian context of land-grabs and tax-breaks, with growing importance in discussions of geographical indications, climate change, and genetically modified vines? I will briefly trace the fluctuating fortunes of terroir in French winemaking, before examining its rise in the Australian context, lingering on some key figures like Brian Croser and Vanya Cullen. I will then present an alternative argument for “provenance” as a marker of vitivinicultural quality linked to people, palate and place – but perhaps minus the poetry…
Jacqueline Dutton is Associate Professor in French Studies at the University of Melbourne. She has published widely on contemporary French literature and culture, including a monograph in French on 2008 Nobel LaureateJMG Le Clézio’s utopian visions: Le Chercheur d’or et d’ailleurs: L’Utopie de JMG Le Clézio (2003). Her writing on food and wine ranges from articles on feeding utopian desires in futuristicFrench literature, to identity and authenticity for European winemakers inMyanmar. Recent editing projects include volumes on dark travel (Postcolonial Studies), counterculture (M/C Journal), time and travel writing (Nottingham French Studies) and the future of Francophonie (Australian Journal of French Studies). She is currently working on a cultural history of wine in Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne, and co-editing a book for Routledge on Wine, Terroir and Utopia with Peter Howland.
Dr Graham Ellender
University of Adelaide
Is it “out of the ordinary”, “out place” or actually “in place”? Can “taste”, in the context of a mental perception of quality, be out of place? Can this reflect taste in culture, arts, aesthetics, music, customs, etiquette?
Likewise, can “taste” in foods, preparation and presentation be out of “place”? Should the painful burn of chilli, the rough astringency of a robust shiraz, the bitterness of coffee and chocolate, be considered out of place and be regarded as masochism and self-flagellation?
Do we get out of “place” throughout life with taste and deviate from the ordinary? In fact, is there such a thing as “ordinary”?
The question posed is what is “the ordinary”, what is “in place” and what is “normal”.
Are we too conservative to try something for the first
time? Examples of “out of the ordinary”
changes are emerging from multimodal studies around the world, Oxford in
particular, in fields of molecular gastronomy and “gastrophysics”, and likely
more to follow. At first sight much
which is presented appears “out of the ordinary” and “out of place”.
But are we just latent neophobes? Should some boundaries be demolished, and if so which?
Graham Ellender graduated in Dental Surgery, University of London, worked in general practice for four years before taking appointments at the University of Western Australia, and then University of Melbourne where he completed MDSc in Biomaterials and Restorative Dentistry, and PhD in Experimental Pathology.
Eventually, desiring country life he started a “one day a week practice” in Central Victoria with the intention of remaining an academic, BUT the urge to become “a country bumpkin” prevailed and Jenny and Graham bought 40 acres and developed a vineyard and winery with an “Osteria”. Having sold, is now residing in Adelaide, and reviewing “changes in flavour perception throughout life and its relationship through gastronomy on physical and mental wellbeing.
Currently holds an appointment as Adjunct Senior Lecturer, School of Dentistry, The University of Adelaide.
The changing tastes of memory:
Karen human-plant movement across borders
Syracuse University, USA
In Karen State, Burma/Myanmar, biocultural memory and practice which bind people and plants in intimate engagements come to be memorialised, recreated and/or transformed across the border in Northern Thailand. These processes occur within a humanitarian and touristic space, a semi-state space, and a liminal space of homemaking in exile. The shifts in memory and more-than-human socialities take place across these boundaries, as nostalgia for rural Karen economies and species interrelations are reconfigured in each of these sites, based on their structural constraints and affordances and persuasions/coercions of exile and return.
Considering processes of possession vs. dispossession of biocultural memory and economies is a useful place to begin. Following Tsing, I explore the fruitful middle ground between these two poles, looking at how “things come together” in new ways within and across these different spaces. For example, there is productive tension in considering the simultaneous continuation and transformation of memory in the context of shops and cafes selling Karen food and produce, where things that would be grown and foraged at home, dense with memory, are now bought and sold. This study offers tentative insights into how different performances may substantively transform memory and (re)create imagined homelands.
Terese Gagnon is a PhD student in anthropology at Syracuse University. Her dissertation research focuses on the co-movement of Karen peoples from the mountainous areas of Karen State in southeast Burma/Myanmar with their plants and agricultural practices, to refugee camps in northern Thailand and to third-country resettlement sites such as Syracuse, New York. This ethnographic project asks questions about collective memory and political economy/ecology post-conflict and in the contexts of forced migration and exile.
The role of animals in Australian archaeology:
How it can inform on the past, present and future of native bush tucker
Dr Jillian Garvey
La Trobe University
Australia’s unique climate, geology and environment has meant that for millennia people have had access to a variety of unique flora and fauna. While there has been much written and discussed about native plants, we know little about what sorts of animals people hunted and how they butchered and cooked them. The ‘Native Animal Bush Tucker Project’ is aiming to fill some of these gaps by combining the traditional archaeological analysis of faunal assemblages with ethnography and modern practises by Aboriginal people.
This is being supplemented with innovative butchery and nutritional analyses of a wide variety of potential prey, which provides an estimate of how much meat, fat and marrow might come from particular species (and specific body parts), as well as how good they are for you to eat. For example, some marrow on a carcass is more palatable, keeps you satiated for longer, and is healthier for you. All of these things can be used to assist in interpreting patterns in the archaeological record, as well as predicting the likelihood that a particular animal and body part might be selected. It can also be used to assess changes through deep-time, and may have implications for the modern Australian diet and how we might rethink our attitudes towards native animals.
Jillian Garvey is an ARC DECRA Fellow in the Department of Archaeology and History at La Trobe University specialising in Indigenous Australian archaeology with a focus on the role of animals (zooarchaeology). She has been involved in numerous research projects on the late Quaternary of Australia including: southwest Tasmania; Lake Mungo, NSW; Cuddie Springs, NSW, and Lancefield, VIC. She has also worked on faunal assemblages from the Middle Palaeolithic of China. Her current research is on human occupation and use of the landscape in the central Murray River Valley in northwest Victoria, and northwest and eastern Tasmania.Much of this recent work has focused on freshwater and marine shell middens. To help interpret faunal patterns in the archaeological record, Jillian has combined her background in zoology and archaeology to undertake economic utility or butchery experiments and nutritional analysis of modern native animals. She is also using this information, coupled with the archaeological record, from to help inform on the potential role of native animals in the modern Australian diet. She discussed some of these ideas in The Conversation ‘The Australian Palaeodiet: which native animals should we eat?’ (July 52017), and at the 2017 Theo Murphy High Flyers Think Tank on Rethinking Food and Nutrition Science organised by the Australia Academy of Science.
From pavement to plate:
Harvesting weeds for nutrients and nutraceuticals
This presentation is based on my current research project focused on the bioactivity in Australian Purslane Varieties. I am comparing local and desert varieties and looking for compounds that may be used to treat inflammatory diseases such as Diabetes Myelitis. This project came about after researching The Panara, or grass seed people of central Australia and their legacy as the oldest bread makers in the world. Although Purslane is found worldwide and eaten by most societies, Australia’s sovereign people were the only society to harvest the seed of purslane for food. Though generally viewed as a weed here in Australia, purslane has been described by the WHO as a ‘global Panacea’ and is used to treat everything from hysteria to leprosy and almost everything in between.
As well as a food and a medicine, purslane also offers a way of tackling rising salinity in Australian soils. Purslane has the ability to sequester salt from effected soils and flourish in drought conditions. My research will profile betalain compounds in purslane which are a relatively rare group of compounds with great potential as natural food colours, antioxidants and medicinal therapies. The aim of this project is to demonstrate the potential of this plant as a new sustainable high value food and nutrient crop that can also help to ameliorate compromised soils. As well as my research findings, the presentation will include details of other common Australian edible weeds of nutritional significance and how they can be utilised.
Colette Geier is a former chef and food writer turned scientist. Colette is using her background in food and agriculture to help guide her current role bioprospecting native Australian plants.
Cooking with what you have, not with what you want
The terms “local” and “seasonal” have developed a buzz word character across the hospitality industry. As they mainstream, the already complex definition of these has become further stretched and ultimately, lacking in meaning and depth. A sales pitch, rather than a practice. This paper will explore the cultural meanings behind these terms and why they are employed, despite the product not matching the promise. Notions of authenticity, health and community are key topics of this dialogue. A culinary tradition supported by consumerism of cooking with what you want, rather than starting from what you have, will also be explored. The dynamics of the industry, including time poverty, budgets and competition, will add a practical element to this largely cultural discussion.
Utilising the narratives of farmers and chefs in the Canberra region, the paper will dissect ways of understanding, educating and working with local and seasonal produce. With the trend of quantity over quality creeping onto our plates, this presentation will offer a timely reminder of stepping back into our communities to truly link paddock to plate.
Jenni Gough combines a background in cultural studies and hospitality to draw together communities around regional and seasonal food. You’ll find her driving out into the country to visit people who grow and nurture our food, serving up dishes that celebrate this and helping the community and industry to get closer to the source. In her previous life, Jenni was a social researcher and advocate with a focus on the social determinants of women’s health. She has a professional background in art, the not for profit sector and hospitality. She holds a Bachelor of Arts with honours in Gender, Sexuality and Culture from the Australian National University and has studied Gastronomic Tourism through Le Cordon Bleu, Australia. She currently resides in Canberra.
Creating “out of place” from “out of place”
Post the hype of the early 2000s Modernist Cuisine continues to influence our gastronomic perception of food. Through its underlying philosophy, it’s scientific association, use of laboratory-centric equipment, controversial ingredients and iconoclastic techniques this influence is consistently being challenged as an “Out of Place” aberration. An aberration that has and continues to circumvent and undermine the “In place” gastronomic and cultural heritages of preeminent food locales, heritages born through being both the longstanding epicenter of haute cuisine and quintessential champions for regional, rural and local foodways. Foodways and traditions that are distinctly seen as “Out of Place”
Paradoxically notable proponents for and practitioners of Modernist Cuisine have used these “Out of Place” techniques to recreate singular “Out of Place” food experiences; experiences that encapsulate both the quintessential essence of their place of origin as well as create a nostalgic link to a food that lies at the heart of a culture. Ferran Adrià’s spherified olive is proof in point of an approach using modernist techniques to create an iconic food. What could be more characteristically Spanish than a green olive? Similarly, Italian Chef Massimo Bottura’s signature dish “Crunchy Part of the Lasagna” is a deconstructed lasagna and ode to Bottura’s favourite childhood dish from Northern Italy. A multisensory dish he created where sound is used as an essential ingredient to create and communicate an intention, a feeling as well as a memory
This paper aims to outline how the ideas, technology and underlying philosophy of the Modernist Cuisine movement has and can be leveraged to create true “Out of Place” food. Nourishment that speaks directly to culturally defined locale and gastronomic traditions hinged on concepts of terroir and aligned to and formed by cultural, social, economic forces.
Neil Gow was born and educated in Scotland. He holds a Masters Degree in Gastronomic Tourism from Le Cordon Bleu and Southern Cross University where he authored a thesis entitled “Leveraging Gastronomic Science & Culinary Trends to Embetter Society’s Ability to Eat Well Now and in the Future”. He additionally holds a Diplôme Universitaire du Goût, de la Gastronomie et des Arts de la Table from the Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Neil works with a number of internationally recognised culinary and gastronomic organisations and lectures on a range of subjects including Modernist Cuisine and Gastrophysics.