Tag Archives: University of Warwick

Around the Table: Digital Resources

By Sarah Peters Kernan

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations cancelled conferences and events in staggering numbers. As it became clear that events would have to move online in order to continue, our organizations and institutions did so with gusto. While the Recipes Project community may not have had the chance to socialize in person at these events, we are left with a treasure trove of recordings. This is a roundup of free recipes-related recordings from Fall 2020-Fall 2021 conferences, webinars, workshops, and symposia.

The Food and the Book: 1300-1800 Conference (October 2020) hosted by the Newberry Library and Folger Institute is available online. The Newberry Library’s Center for Renaissance Studies also has a series of collection presentation videos related to food history.

The Folger Institute’s Critical Race Conversations hosted Jennifer Park and Gitanjali Shahani for the conversation “We Are What You Eat” (15 October 2020).

The Huntington Library’s conference, Ecologies of Paper in the Early Modern World (November 2020), is available on the library’s YouTube channel.

The British Society for the History of Pharmacy’s YouTube channel has videos of the BSHP March 2021 Conference sessions, as well as other 2021 lectures.

A recording of Revealing Recipes: Top Tips from Early Modern Women (4 March 2021), hosted by the Early Modern Recipes Online Collective, Royal College of Physicians, and the Wellcome Collection, is available here.

The Food Cultures research theme at the University of Warwick hosted several 2021 events. Recordings are available for their “Food and Drink Cultures through the Ages” webinar (23 March 2021) and a “Food, Religion and Writing” panel debate (11 June 2021).

Bruce Moran’s keynote address of the Science History Institute’s “The Applied Arts of Alchemy” symposium (May 2021) is available here. The Science History Institute YouTube channel also has a wide variety of lecture recordings, demonstration videos, and “Distilled,” a series of collection presentation videos.

The IEHCA – University of Tours (L’Institut Européen d’Histoire et des Cultures de l’Alimentation) hosted the 6th International Conference on Food History and Food Studies (May-June 2021). Recordings of sessions are available through the conference program by clicking on the “Detailed Schedule” link.

Cooking Recipes of the Middle Ages: Corpus, Analysis, Visualisation (CoReMA) recently hosted a symposium on The Culinary Recipe from the XIIth to the XVIIth Centuries: Europe, Islam, Far East (May 2021). Recordings and detailed abstracts of each presentation are available on the symposium website. CoReMA’s other video offerings, such as cooking demonstrations and lectures are available on their site.

Several presentations from the Institute of Historical Research Food History Seminar are available on the seminar YouTube channel.

Intoxicating Spaces: The Impact of New Intoxicants on Urban Spaces in Europe, 1600-1850 hosted a seminar series, “What’s Your Poison?” Recordings are available for Part 1 and Part 2 of the series. Intoxicating Spaces also hosted the conference, Intoxicating Spaces: Global and Comparative Perspectives (July 2021). Session videos are linked on the conference website.

If you’d like to feature a project, scholar, or institution on Around the Table, please email Sarah Kernan.

The Early Modern Potato: A Global History

By Rebecca Earle

Vincent Van Gogh, The Potato Eaters, 1885. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Vincent Van Gogh, The Potato Eaters, 1885. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Have you encountered a reference to potatoes from before 1800?

I’m interested in all early modern potatoes and would be delighted if you could alert me to any references, however fragmentary. You can email me on r.earle@warwick.ac.uk or use this form.

This Potato Project asks two inter-connected questions.

  • How, why, and by what routes did the potato spread around the world and into individual diets after Europeans first encountered the tuber in the sixteenth century?
  • Why did states across eighteenth-century Europe begin to promote the cultivation and consumption of the potato?

The first question builds on the pioneering work of Alfred Crosby. Crosby and other scholars suggested that the spread of new world foods such as potatoes and maize helps explain the dramatic increase in the world’s population over the last five hundred years, and also hinted at the ways in which these foods travelled to Africa, India and elsewhere. At the same time, the details of their dissemination remain in many cases opaque. The Project traces the ways in which potatoes entered the diets of individual eaters around the world.

The second question examines the historical roots of the our conviction that food, agriculture, health and state security are intrinsically linked. The Project investigates the moment, in the late eighteenth century, when European philosophers, political economists, agronomists, doctors, bureaucrats, priests and other historical actors began to insist that strong, secure states were inconceivable without a resilient agricultural programme grounded on significant changes in the dietary practices of the population as a whole. It was in the eighteenth century that the processes connecting individual diets to the wealth and strength of the state began to be theorised in ways that allowed for effective manipulation and state intervention. Many projects and proposals for dietary reform were articulated in the eighteenth century. This Project focuses on the central role the potato played in many of them.