On the basis of “One man’s meat is another man’s poison” your gastronomy is different from mine. If we take two examples of staple food – bread, and rice, it is clear that the part of the world you are from dictates your traditional diet. Once you start looking at the forms of a particular staple food, you begin to localise. Bread in one region is a white, probably sliced loaf, in another it is Naan. In others, bread as a staple is supported by pasta and rice is supported by noodles.
It follows from this that the Gastronomy of Asia is different from that of a westernised region. The rise of the tourism industry came from the desire to visit other countries and experience their gastronomies. Once underway, the tourism providers at the service end realised that personal gastronomy means that UK visitors to Spain want fish and chip shops and a wider consumer group wants burgers in every part of the world.
Vive la difference!
And that demonstrates human nature in relation to comfort and security. A two-week trip to somewhere where what is on the table is vastly different, may follow a pattern. Arrive, sample the food, make decisions, and resort to familiar diet if possible if there is a problem.
Even the phrase “what is on the table” needs consideration. In some cultures, the floor is the table. In western society, there is a movement from the table to the sofa and more individuality within the household diet.
Once that type of analysis is started, the generalisations are less sweeping and more tidying. For some, the table is what was used for generations and will be for the future.
At this stage, we need not delve too deeply into the varieties of the table as it changes as much as the different cultures within the world.. Within many aspects of this journey into Gastronomy, we use the voices of many experts. Here is our first.
“There would be greater happiness in the world, better bodily health and less selfishness, if more people ate and drink more intelligently than they do and if they were at the same time more hospitable, in other words if there were more people seeking to live according to the principles of the Art of Good Living.” The writer was a gourmet at the table and a wine connoisseur in the work place. Andre Simon has his own pages as you will see later.
We all like to entertain
The host-couple will consider their guests before the shopping list is written so that steak is not offered to a vegetarian guest. Indeed, the meal for this occasion in a normally meat-eating household may well exclude that component.
In another social context, the host couple asks what everyone wants once all are present. Armed with a list such as “3 of No. 45; 4 of No. 19, one with no fried rice”, the man disappears for twenty minutes. The table, if still there, is used for the bottles and all present eat within their temporary comfort zones of couches, armchairs and other seats. …… Gastronomy is life.
So far, the table is laid or at least the scene is set. Gastronomy is concerned with what people eat and how they eat it. Use of “host couple” is shorthand for the basic unit of society. “ . more individuality within the household diet” is shorthand for the way in which the pace of life means that people rush in, use the microwave, eat on the run and rush out. As training for adult life, children do this. Entirely individual eating habits form. Family cohesion suffers. Bring back the table.
Life-styles are different
A trip to France tells you that a lot of shops and places of work in many smaller towns close for lunch for two hours. If you read this in Birmingham, UK; Borneo or Alabama, what happens in your equivalent situation? If you are Joe Bloggs, George Bush or Barrack Obama, we all entertain in one way or another. This site has been created for you with the hope that it will inspire. It is for you.
"One man’s meat ..” depends on where he is, who he is and what he is. As we will see, the phrase “Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.” has been around since the early 1800s. Tomato ketchup is mentioned in the American Sugar House Book in 1801 . Heinz in the UK started selling it in 1876 [Wiki]. There's a morsel of understanding if you put it on your meat. If you put it on fresh or grilled tomatoes, this website is probably not for you.
Improving enjoyment of food and drink - who can be excluded?
There are numerous topics of general interest. As Christmas is a time when traditions feature strongly and Gastronomy is in focus, an early visit is recommended. There's so much going on then that it's probably better to read the page weks before [or after].
This page started by looking at culture. We may go abroad to experience diffferent cultures but not consciously set out to study society when we arrive. When we visit a restaurant, we don't examine the bricks. However, a wide look at food and drink is enhanced by looking at the social framework which is taken for granted.
You would think that a News page would be first in the nav panel but it is too early. Newcomers to Gastronomy as a topic might find it difficult to cope with before acquiring a general understanding of the scope the topic has to offer. A few news items have been included to give a preview of the sort of thing to be covered.
Keeping up with the developments in the food world can be achieved by, among other things, using this site. Some creations may have passed you by such as snail porridge, fake caviar, instant cheese or seaweed icecream and tea [shaving (?)] foam [molecular gastronomy].
There is a deeper discussion of what Gastronomy is and that it is for everyone. There is an open invitation for students of life to join Gastronomy students.
Gastronomy for lecturers and many other professionals
The future of Gastronomy as a field of study is in their hands.
The Gastronomy of Scotland
There are pages dealing with the history of Scottish food. A new book on that subject is being posted on the site and when complete, it will be posted as an etext.
Health Education and Food
In the UK, this is the concern of everyone but nobody’s responsibility. There is discussion of the school meal since it influences one’s personal gastronomy in the formative years and as a parent later. The "other professionals" mentioned above include those who plan the meals within education.
F I N A L L Y
It is easy enough to say that the future of Gastronomy is in the hands of lecturers. That referred to the subject of study. Our own Gastronomy lies in our own hands. The democratic ideal has not enabled the quality of food available to us to improve in line with the progress made in, say, information technology. The educational ideal has not caught up with the need for more of us to understand that diet is linked to health. What you eat is what you get and is what you are. If we go on as we are, the next and next again generations will live in the future described when you reach the Health Education pages. The need to promote Gastronomy is evident from that type of argument if nothing else.