Evelyn J. Kim, today’s guest blogger, is an author and writer working on issues of food and food justice through the lens of science. Trained as a historian of science, her work has been in the The New York Times, Scientific American, and The Atlantic. She is our guest curator for this year’s programming, Eating Through Time.
“Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es” (Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are)
– Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826), Physiologie du Goût ou: Méditations de Gastronomie Transcendante
“Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food” – Attributed to Hippocrates
What do you do every day, beyond sleeping, breathing and thinking? You eat! This year, The New York Academy of Medicine is proud to announce its programming theme for 2015: Eating Through Time.
Top Chef. The Salt. Lucky Peach. Grub Street. Modernist Cuisine. And thousands upon thousands of food blogs. Unless you’ve been living underneath a rock, food seems to be all around us. On television, on the web, in art, in books, in science…Food seems to be having its own “moment” as form of cultural currency. But lest anyone think that this is a new phenomenon, food has always been with us, from pre-history to the present, a basis of our bodily, social, economic, and historical selves.
To that end, we are sponsoring a whole year of activities around food, including guest lectures at the Academy and panel discussions at this year’s Food Book Fair, culminating in a full-day festival at the Academy on October 17, 2015. Based on the Academy’s collection of more than 10,000 volumes on food and health, the festival will include speakers, demonstrations, and performances centered on the topic of food. Featured speakers include our keynote speaker, famed chef Jacques Pépin, food historian Dr. Ken Albala, and Nordic Food Lab’s Joshua Evans, as well as the Culinary Institute of America and Harvard School of Public Health’s Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives program.
This year’s programming will encompass not only contemporary debates surrounding food, medicine, and culture, but also the historical linkages that undergird much of those discussions. We will ask chefs, historians, writers, and public health experts their perspectives on not only food’s past influence but also what’s in store in the future for us as eaters and as a society.
To kick off this year’s programming, our inaugural lecture on March 17 will feature historian of science Dr. Steven Shapin from Harvard University. Dr. Shapin has written on several topics, from Dr. Robert Boyle to the role of business in scientific research, and his current interests lie in the history of dietetics. His lecture, entitled “Beef-Eaters: A Cultural History of Food and Identity” exemplifies the complicated nexus between our dietary habits and our social identities—and is a perfect start to this year’s theme.
We’re excited about this year’s programming and we hope to see you at any or all our events. Visit www.nyam.org/events for event details and registration, and follow this blog for more delicious tidbits on our year in food.