American Cuisine: Chefs, Authors and Critics

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American Cuisine: Chefs, Authors and Critics


This six-week New School course, which expands on the content of the short free course Innovators of American Cuisine 1, is dedicated to culinary giants Craig Claiborne, MKF Fisher, Edna Lewis, Marion Cunningham, Clementine Paddleford, and Michael Batterberry. As we examine their lives and work, we will explore aspects of the food world ranging from restaurant criticism to food writing, looking in particular at cookbooks, magazines, and newspapers. Each unit focuses on one of the six innovators and draws on panel discussions and interviews with food writers, researchers, and practitioners who knew or worked with them. During the six weeks, you will interact with other students and an instructor, contribute to a blog, and share your writing and images. You will also have the option to submit your own research and reflections to the New School Web magazine, The Inquisitive Eater, a forum for food lovers, professionals, artists, and academics to discuss the role of food in our lives, and its impact on the environment, politics, economics, nationalism, poverty, inequality, and family. We hope this course will encourage you to deepen your exploration of food. With this in mind, we have provided a space for you to discuss your ideas, practice and improve your investigative and analytical skills, and experiment with your ability to communicate through word and image. As we noted in Innovators of American Cuisine 1, we do not aim to create a canon by identifying a set of founding fathers and mothers, but rather to draw attention to the cultural and social dynamics that have brought American cuisine to its present flourishing and popularity. We invite you to look beyond current trends and celebrities to reflect on the contributions of these luminaries to the history of U.S. culinary arts. We do not intend to set U.S. culinary arts as a model. Through the close examination of the American experience and the contributions of innovators to its gastronomy, we want to help you acquire critical tools you can adapt and use to explore your own food culture, wherever you are. This is an open and burgeoning field with much to observe and learn.

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