The problem with 'Gastronomy'

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Why on earth would anyone choose to give a radical, unique, interdisciplinary study of food culture, systems, science and philosophy, the name 'Gastronomy'.  

The term Gastronomy is currently predominantly associated with exclusive cheffery and high-end food products. But the origins of the word elude to a deeper, broader understanding of what we eat. In the words of Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, a French lawyer, politician and respected philosopher of food, Gastronomy is the 'the reasoned comprehension of everything connected with the nourishment of mankind'. Brillat-Savarin called for a school dedicated to such a study back in 1825, with the recognition that the complexities of culture, economy and the natural world can be illuminated through understanding what we eat, and that the way we eat impacts all aspects of human life. 

For the most part, western culture (and in particular, British culture) does not think of food in this way, but - we would argue - it needs to.

Re-defining and reclaiming the term is part of the Queen Margaret University MSc Gastronomy programme's mission, as is explained in this wee piece by Edible Edinburgh. The article also introduces a video we made so as to avoid having to explain our rationale for the billionth time ;)

Watch this video for an insight into our world of Gastronomy, to meet a few of our students, and - the piece de resistance - Donald Reid in a toque.