The Food Conference banner image

CONFERENCE PANELS — Friday and Saturday, April 4-5

The Staff of Life: Milling, Flour and Bread Baking Technologies

This panel opens with an introduction to the technology of the wood fired oven and then moves on to bread itself with a focus on milling and flour. Flour has always been a nuanced product surrounded by political, cultural, and dietary discourses.This session looks at milling methods, the flours they produce, and the breads produced from those flours to find insights into cultures from the Ancient world to our own. Bread is often freighted with meaning and at times even stands as the trope for everything right or wrong about civilization. Topics include: Connecting Function, Durability and Beauty to Wood-Fired Ovens and the American Grain Movement, presented by Richard Miscovich; Run of the Mill: The Politics of Flour and Grinding Technology through History, presented by Ken Albala and The Golden Age of Stone Ground Milling (1600 to 1840) flour, bread, and social change, presented by William Rubel.

Chair: William Rubel

Panelists:

Ken Albala

Richard Miscovich

Progress and Propaganda: Designing a Workplace for the Modern Housewife

Kitchens and kitchen tools tell us a great deal about how people cook, and perhaps even more about the social and political culture in which they cook. Like a time-worn recipe, domestic design evokes lost flavors of the practical, the aspirational and the seemingly irrelevant. This panel will look at design and kitchen ideology in postwar America and 1930s Italy, as well as in a century’s worth of ovens and refrigerators.

Chair: Laura Shapiro

Panelists:

Diana Garvin

Peter Hertzmann

Deborah Krasner

The Cutting Edge: Knife Techniques and Technologies

The knife is the most essential culinary tool, both in the kitchen and at the table, but the form and technology of the knife have changed over time. Different forms are favored according to the uses to which the knife will be put and varies according to the demands of different cuisines. This session investigates the technology underlying the knife in the kitchen and its importance in the dining room, exploring the role of carving as a performance that helps to civilize the violence wrought by the cutting edge meeting flesh.

Chair: Catherine Lambrecht

Panelists:

Peter Hertzmann

Heather Hess

Norman Weinstein

Cooking on Air: The Impact of Radio and TV Cooking Programs, 1920s-1960s

Radio and television, for better or worse, have changed the way we cook. In the America of the 1920s through World War II, housewives learned to economize and to demonstrate their patriotism through tips offered in programs invented by the Department of Agriculture. In the post-war boom, television soon eclipsed radio, and the impact of American television has been wide-reaching, with early celebrities such as Dionne Lucas reaching a world-wide audience.

Chair: Dana Polan

Panelists:

Barbara Haber

Jill Adams

Justin Nordstrom

A Matter of Rot

A 1857 article in the Chicago Tribune reported on the appallingly filthy conditions and food that were found in a pig feeding lot in New York City. Skip ahead in time, and Sosland’s meat and poultry industry newsletter almost daily reports pathogen outbreaks in the meat industry. There is clearly a war between germs and humans when it comes to meat processing and preservation. This panel discusses various aspects of meat preservation technologies in historical contexts. Salting (and smoking in some cases) is the oldest, but we will also address chilling, freezing, chemical and some cutting edge technologies.

Chair: Bruce Kraig

Panelists:

Marc Buzzio

Jonathan Rees

Kantha Shelke

The Business of Pasta: the Chairman, the Grandma, and the Curious Case of the Industrial Artisan

In September 2013, Guido Barilla, the chairman of the world’s largest pasta manufacturer vowed that his company would never include gay families in their advertising, a statement that ricocheted across social media. The ensuing backlash evokes the question that guides this panel: why does the business of pasta - its promotion, its manufacturing, and its board members’ opinions - matter so much to so many different people? The answer has less to do with Barilla and everything to do with how we use food to perform, negotiate, and transform social relationships through daily habits and rituals. In "The Business of Pasta," we will investigate how different companies engage with questions of social norms through industry in both Italy and the U.S.

Chair: Diana Garvin

Panelists:

Marco de Ceglie

Melissa Gray

Zach Nowak

Knowing Wine and Practicing Terroir: The Power of Science, Nature and Policy

All the papers in this panel address the complex tensions between the act of making wine and what such wine means - to the people making it, to the people drinking it, to the people evaluating it. The panelists consider various ways of knowing that influence, both the acts and the meanings, including taste of place, natural wine, reductionist science, and national and supranational policy.

Chair: Amy Trubek

Panelists:

Grace Ballor

Rachel Black

Zach Nowak

Tweaking Sensory Profiles: Flavor and Color Technologies

As growing segments of consumers express preference for fresh and natural food, we cannot ignore the role that the flavor and color industry has played in shaping our contemporary food system, influencing consumers’ taste and expectations. This panel will explore the development of the industry in the past, its current state, and the attempts of social movements to have an impact on these issues.

Chair: Fabio Parasecoli

Panelists:

Nadia Berenstein

Ana Maria Ulloa Garzon

Ai Hisano

Maya Weinstein

Cultural Ferment

Fermentation is one of the most ancient and healthful culinary processes, giving us everything from intoxicating beer and wine, to yogurt and cheese as a way of preserving highly perishable milk and meats, to piquant pickles such as kim chi. What used to be a home craft has become shrouded in mystery as our food production has become increasingly industrialized. This session will explore the cultural significance and renaissance of fermentation as culinary production.

Chair: Ken Albala

Panelists:

Suzanne Cope

JinKyung Kim

Anne Mendelson

Jessica Sennett

The Future is Now: The Brave New Worlds of 3-D Printing, Outer Space and Non-Thermal Technologies

This panel will explore some of the cutting edge technologies that are impacting the ways we fabricate and process foods as well as changes in food technologies necessary to explore the unbounded environment of space travel. Panelists will discuss the feasibility of these different frontiers, raising the question of whether these technologies can lead to a new “Garden of Eden”?

Chair: Cathy Kaufman

Panelists:

Jane Levi

Jade Proulx

Henry Richmond Young

Olive Oil

Few commodities produce the intensity of debate that exists about olive oil, one of the most ancient and exalted of all foods, yet one ever more in the news, ever more newsworthy, and ever more in need of elaboration. Therefore, panelists will discuss production in Provence, California, Anatolia, the Mediterranean and beyond, ranging from revolutionary technological changes of the present day to the traditional methods of thousands of years past. Controversies concerning marketing, authenticity, and the economics of olive oil will also be addressed.

Chair: Cara De Silva

Panelists:

Edward Behr

Nick Coleman

Nancy Harmon Jenkins

Banu Özden

Tales of A Thousand and One Layers

Baklava, the emblematic, shatteringly delicate and sweet pastry of the Balkans, Eastern Mediterranean and Central Asia, has an ancient history, starting as a humble nomadic flat bread and evolving into a royal sweet. The technique for making the thin layers is painstaking and requires lengthy practice. This panel will cover the history and evolution of the dish, regional and cultural variations, as well as a demonstration of the dough.

Chair: Michael Krondl

Panelists:

Nick Malgieri

Charles Perry

Aylin Öney Tan

From a Cauldron to a Coffee Pot and Dessert: Methods and Apparatus in the Traditional Cooking of Turkey

This panel explores evolving technologies of traditional dishes of Turkey, situated at the crossroads of the Occident and Orient. Iskilip dolması, roast lamb stuffed with rice, is a feast cooked in a single pot, covered with a lid and sealed with a flour dough. The cauldron is placed over a wood fire and cooked for at least 12 hours – an ancient technique that inspires modern cooking technologies of slow cookers and pressure cookers. Coffee, first popularly drunk in Ottoman Turkey, is a distinctive drink: one paper will investigate the history of coffee in Ottoman geography, the evolution of the long handled lidless copper pot, cezve and how it took its final form. And finally, Turkish Delight, Turkey’s most famous sweet and its evolution from earlier sweetmeats will conclude the panel – a veritable feast, a complete meal.

Chair: Katherine McIver

Panelists:

Nihal Bursa

Mary Isin

Aylin Öney Tan

From the Natural to the Synthetic and Back Again.

Throughout history, food producers have created food that substitute for the real thing, either for reasons of health, religious scruple, or shortage. This panel will explore these reasons and show how different groups have accepted, or resisted, the introduction of plant-based and other synthetic food products, such as margarine and plant-based substitutes for meat. We’ll examine how people experience these foods--their taste, their texture, their relationship to “real” foods, raising the fundamental question of what is “real” and why people covet substitutes.

Chair: Laura Weiss

Panelists:

Elizabeth Jones-Minisinger

Kian Lam Kho

Allison Lakomski

The Many Conundrums of Raw and Pasteurized Milk

Neither pasteurized nor raw milk gets to people’s tables in a cultural, political, or technological vacuum. This panel attempts to look beyond the usual polemical claims and counterclaims in order to examine aspects of the regulatory climate and technological context, in both the U.S. and Europe, in which milk moves from farm to consumer in different forms.

Chair: Anne Mendelson

Panelists:

Diana Mincyte

Kendra Smith-Howard

Gretchen Sneegas

The Urban Rice Paddy Project: Food for Thought, Food to Eat

This panel reports on the Randall’s Island Urban Farm, which has been experimenting with growing rice in New York City, both for possible application in urban environments and to use pedagogically for students to learn about science, nutrition, and the origins of food. We involve students with the planting, cultivating, harvesting and processing our rice in an effort instill the techniques by which people in the past and in the present created the diets they eat today. We hope to expand the program as part of multicultural and intergenerational education.

Chair: Nicholas Storrs

Panelists:

Phyllis Odessey

Eun Young Sebazco

Genetics and Nutrition

Chair: Bonnie Tandy Leblang

Panelists:

Richard Delerins

Susan McLellan Plaisted

Richard Sutch

Changing Media

Chair: Judith Weinraub

Panelists:

Holley Atkinson

Susan Carter

Molly O’Neill

But is it Kosher? Religion and Technology in Modern Food Production

This session will explore the challenges of integrating kosher food production within modern technology and regulatory practices. The panel will address issues of ethics in kosher and halal slaughter, including objections raised by animal rights activists and efforts to develop humane slaughtering techniques that comply with religious law, as well as how kosher law has been extended in ways to understand the complexity of ingredients in modern processed foods such as Coca-Cola and Jell-O.

Chair: Roger Horowitz

Panelist:

Joe Regenstein

Near, Far, Wherever You Are: Food Production, Marketing and Regulation in the Industrial Era

This panel focuses on diverse production and market strategies related to food and drink in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century United States and Brazil. The three speakers address a variety of strategies for marketing, producing, and regulating foodstuffs particularly beer, chicken, and fresh meat as industrialization took hold and local and national markets for foodstuffs were transformed.

Chair: Cindy Lobel

Panelists:

Anne Marie Lodholz

Maria-Aparecida Lopes

Hannah Weksler

Baskets, Buckets and Bottles: Transporting and Transforming Food in the U.S.

American foodways in the twentieth century have famously been shaped by new technologies as much as by immigrant cultures and agricultural developments. These three speakers focus on transformations brought about by new kinds of transportation of food, observing how the automobile changed picnicking, how the lunchbox emerged as a cultural artifact, and how changes in home food preservation technologies sometimes limited, rather than expanded, practitioner horizons.

Chair: Megan Elias

Panelists:

Danille Elise Christensen

Carla Lesh

Mary Murphy

Industrial Farming and GMOs

Chair: Roger Horowitz

Panelists:

Kristian Bjørkdahl

Sheldon Krimsky

Joe Regenstein

The Eight Minute Egg

As new time-keeping technologies are developed, cooks are always among the first to find uses for them. This panel will discuss how accurate ways to measure time have not only changed the way we prepare food but also how we value cooking as a chore, an art, and a pastime. We will discuss the history of time-keeping devices and food, and kitchen clocks in particular, and explore how efficiency experts and home economists used stopwatches and time charts to bring about a revolution in the way Americans cook their meals.

Chair: Andy Coe

Panelists:

Bob Frishman

Barbara Santich

Katie Turner

The Romance and Reality of Artisanal Versus High Tech Production

We tend to think of lower-income food entrepreneurs as driven by economic necessity, and higher-income entrepreneurs as passionate foodies with Do-It-Yourself aspirations. We also tend to think of less complex technology as adequate to meet the needs of the former, while a greater range of tricks and toys are more appropriate for the latter or even the purview of industry. But is the division that neat? What does the resurgence of craftwork say about postindustrial labor? And what about complex technologies developed for industry—how can they be integrated into small scale and domestic use?

Chair: Doug Duda

Panelists:

Josh Galliano

Kari Hensley

Dan Lodholz

Modernist Cuisine: A Dialogue

We’ve longingly read the descriptions of—and if we’re lucky, tasted—the creative cookery coming from modernist chefs, né molecular gastronomists, the generation of chefs using sophisticated science to enhance culinary technique. This panel will offer a rare opportunity to hear from one of the foremost practitioners of Modernist Cuisine, as well as scholars who have thought deeply about the cultural interrelationships between cuisine, gastronomy, science, and innovation.

Chair: Anne McBride

Panelists:

Stefani Bardin

Wylie Dufresne

Stephanie Hartman

The Technology of Cake

Cake as we know it bears little resemblance to cake from before the nineteenth century. Modern American cakes are not only centerpieces of celebrations, they are also masterpieces of industrialization. Nineteenth century technology changed the types and milling of flour, and the processing of sugar. It also created commercial flavoring extracts, and most importantly, the chemical leavening shortcuts that reduced cake-making time from hours to minutes. We will trace the evolution of cake from its European origins to its Americanization in various incarnations: from yeast-risen and bread-like to pound, sponge, angel, devil, wedding, and birthday. The icing on the cake? Technological innovations changed that, too, from egg-based icing to butter-based frosting.

Chair: Linda Civitello

Panelists:

Steve Schmidt

Andrew F. Smith

Mechanizing Cacao: Processing the Food of the Gods

Chocolate is an unusual foodstuff in that, unlike so many ingredients, it benefits from some of the innovations of industrial processing. Unlike the labor intensive metate that yielded a (relatively) coarsely ground cocoa mass, today’s processing yields cocoa mass ground to 18 microns, with accompanying improvements in conching and tempering that lead to incredibly smooth mouthfeel. This panel will examine the technical history and current state of chocolate processing, with a taste of chocolate to illustrate tradition and innovation.

Chair: Alexandra Leaf

Panelists:

Maricel Presilla

Deanna Pucciarelli

Rodney Snyder

Urban Farms

Chair: Marc Oshima

How Apps are Changing the Food Space

There’s an app for that. Or if there isn’t, there will be soon. More and more, apps are becoming a natural extension of our lives, and if the adage is true that “software eats the world” then prepare to have your smartphone eat your lunch (and help you find it, rate it, and pay for it too). Through this panel discussion, we’ll talk about the rise of food apps, how they have solidified a place in the mobile lexicon and what it means for food content providers. We’ll explore issues of app development on an individual level, look at some of the new apps and functionality out in the marketplace that help food professionals do better business, and discuss trends in the app development world that could have an impact on mobile strategy in the future.

Organizers: Bruce Shaw and Adam Salomone

Kitchen 2.0 - Smart Appliances, Digital Platforms and Cooking for the Future of Food Lovers

For many, the kitchen is the epicenter of the home, and as more people learn to cook and become empowered to make better food choices, the home kitchen is going to become an increasingly crowded place. Unsurprisingly (and more and more) our devices are following us to the stovetop, providing recipe inspiration at your fingertips, video techniques on demand, and help with substitutions, allergies, and all manner of tricky food questions. But, this is just the beginning. What does the kitchen of the future look like? How will it be influenced by technology, and what exactly is a “smart” appliance? Join us as we explore how new hardware devices, software platforms, and appliance innovations will change the way the kitchen functions. We’ll talk about what these changes may look like, and also how they affect how consumers access, consume and share food content online and off.

Organizers: Bruce Shaw and Adam Salomone

Content Gone Digital - What Happens When Food is Free?

We’ve been talking for years about how the sky is falling for cookbook authors and food content creators. With an abundance of free recipe content out there, content creators have to think outside the box about where business opportunity lies in food. Through this panel, we’ll discuss the current state of the free food web, exploring what content creators are doing to increase business potential, attract consumers and generate revenue from their online operations. Along the way, we’ll examine the various ways that value can be extracted from consumer content engagement online, talk about the rise of individuals as content creators and see how trends in content generation will impact culinary livelihoods in the years ahead.

Organizers: Bruce Shaw and Adam Salomone