The Vermont Humanities Council recently hosted its' 36th annual fall conference titled Food For Thought at The Essex in Essex Junction and sponsored by C & S Wholesale Grocers and King Arthur Flour.
The two day event held last Friday and Saturday, brought together noted authors, scholars, cooks, and other experts to examine the ways that food and eating not only shape us as individuals, but also as a culture and society.
This falls' conference takes a unique angle, examining food from the perspective of the humanities, including artistic, literary, ethical, social, religious and cultural aspects of food and how it effects our future.
The Food For Thought schedule was packed with a variety of events, lectures and demonstrations, while also touching upon Vermont's rich agricultural history, which over time has developed the Green Mountain State into one of America's leading specialty food sectors.
Friday afternoon began with several workshops revolving around the personal experience of food, including a wine and cheese pairing, an exploration of taste and a Japanese tea ceremony.
Later in the afternoon the New England Culinary Institute (NECI) hosted tasting workshop and an Italian dessert demonstration.
Other activities on the day included a discussion with editor Darra Goldstein about the book Gastromania : The Journal of Food and Culture, a talk with syndicated food columnist Maria Calta and a discussion about terroir as it is expressed in Vermont Maple Syrup.
Saturday was another packed day with events and demonstrations.
In the morning was a lecture with international health expert, presidential advisor and former director of the World Health Council, Dr. Nils Daulaire.
Another interesting guest was University of Vermont Assistant Professor of Nutritian and Food Sciences Amy Trubek, who discussed the relation between Vermont's working landscape and sense of taste, and the linkages between food, culture and land.
Other interesting sessions included on the afternoon explored a variety of topics including food as it is represented in painting, writing and film, food as it impacts our communities and food as it reinforces the society we live in.
The conference concluded with Goldrein, Trubek and jeffrey Roberts discussing why good food matters, both to us as individuals and as a society.
To learn more about the conference visit the Vermont Humanities Council at www.vermonthumanities.org