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Making sense of cuisine
Molecular Gastronomy 2


Gastronomy for Students

and all who would like a greater depth of Gastronomy

"Making sense of cuisine" - an introduction - is here and in the side panel.

Click the text which is underlined.

A reasonable level of fluency with the contents of "Gastronomy for All" is called for before starting this page.  Similar comment applies to the "For Students - 2" link above and its sub-pages.


This page takes the reader through a process of clarification before moving to "Gastronomy as a Fine Art". Following that is the question "What is Gastronomy?".

Links to related pages are found in the list above.


The process

  • Gastronomy in everyday life

    Over the years, people have asked me how the subject matter of formal courses is determined. The answer is written in terms of defining Gastronomy. The definition determines the course content.

    The prologue

    1a Why define it?
    2a Who defines it?
    3a Who uses the definition?
    4a Who benefits from the definition?

    1a Why define it?

    The ‘why’ is a function of the ‘who’s.

    A travel writer describing Nepali food for European readers, works within a generally and subconsciously accepted meaning of the word Gastronomy within ‘Nepali Gastronomy’.

    That’s the title in the magazine so everybody expects to read about the dishes and beverages in everyday use in Nepal. (For ‘Nepali’ read the more common ‘Nepalese’ if you will.)

    Those operating within such a sub-sector of society need a framework, a blue-print, to regulate their actions and interpretations as they proceed.

    2a Who defines it?

    So far, all concerned. In the first instance, the magazine editor sets to work within the context of his knowledge of the market for the magazine. A space for a certain type of article exists in the magazine and writers are recruited.

    They are given a brief in terms of content, length and style. A series of gastronomic articles is published. The series, as it progresses, is deemed by the readership to be successful.

    3a Who uses the definition?
    4b Who benefits from the definition?

    Readers, the writer, the editor and the shareholders are all happy. When sales fall, editors change the variables which include the writers and the definition. The readership is more difficult to change.

    Informal courses

    If your local Adult Education College/Department were to offer a course entitled “ The Gastronomy of France”, you would expect to learn how to prepare dishes as served in different areas of France.

    If there is a wider focus detailed in the course description, it might include wines, festivals and other special events in the French calendar. The course description is the definition and, probably, there is scope for those who attend the course to request dishes to be included. In that respect, they, of course, participate in the definition.

    Now to colleges and universities – formal courses

    Here we deal with a procedure so it doesn’t matter if we discuss Gastronomy or Astronomy.

    In UK Adult Education, courses are available in Needlework, Bookkeeping and German. The differentiation may be in level and use.

    Bookkeeping for Clubs and Societies

    Bookkeeping for Small Businesses

    Advanced Needlework

    Beginners’ German.

    Gastronomy may appear on the subject list for a three year full time degree course in Hotel Management as an option or elective. It may be a core subject within the curriculum for a three year part time degree course in Culinary Arts. Whether an option or core subject, it may take quite a different format in courses in Tourism.

    1b Why define Gastronomy?
    2b Who defines it?
    3b Who uses the definition?
    4b Who benefits from the definition?

    These are all simple questions with simple answers. We don’t need 4b. The Gastronomy lecturer defines it and the Course Board accepts it, the Academic Board approves it and all concerned at grass roots get on with it.

    The Gastronomy lecturer sets out the meaning of the word for the students following the core subject or option. However, the lecturer works within wider definitions relating to the overall course within which Gastronomy as a core subject or option sits.

    Those wider definitions encompass the aims of the overall course. It is a question of relative importance. Within a Culinary Arts course, Gastronomy will rank higher than if it were within a Tourism course. Its place in the pecking order determines the resources it will receive.

    This leads us to the very practical determinant of the definition. The Gastronomy lecturer bids for resources this year for next year’s use. If he or she aims to ask students to compare the gastronomies of countries X and Y in practical terms, the finance may well be available for that to be done in the laboratory, as it were. It would be far more realistic if visits to X and Y are resourced, perhaps in part.


    Let’s return to the opening paragraph.

    Over the years, people have asked me how the subject matter of formal courses is determined. The answer is written in terms of defining Gastronomy. The definition determines the course content.

    In everyday parlance, “course” is understood. Within the context of formal courses, as with most specialised fields, words become terms overnight. What would you expect within ivory towers?

    That question points the way to discussing Gastronomy and Architecture in the same breath. You can look forward to another page.

    While you wait, consider the psychologist treating someone afflicted by anorexia. What can be drawn from Gastronomy? Read on to see if there is an answer at this stage of the website's develpoment.



    Gastronomy - a Fine Art -- By Ioan Margineau

    Everything in green text is from the Internet article.

    Some general definitions define gastronomy either as “the art and science of good eating”, the activity and knowledge involved in preparing and appreciating good food, or as the study of the relationship between culture and food. I for one think that gastronomy is all of the above and a bit more.

    The word “gastronomy” is derived from the Ancient Greek words gastros (stomach) and nomos (knowledge or laws that govern), however the etymology of the word is also attributed to the title of a French poem from 1801 called “Gastronomie”.

    Although the foundations of modern Western gastronomy were laid during the Renaissance, especially in Italy and France, the first formal study of gastronomy is probably “The Physiology of Taste” by Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin in the early 19th century. This was the first book that studied the relationship between the senses and food, treating enjoyment at the table as a science.

    The concept of gastronomy has evolved from its original dictionary meaning to a point where it needs to be studied broken down into subsets by culture.

    Gastronomy nowadays is an interdisciplinary activity combining the Fine Arts of dancing, painting, the dramatic arts, sculpture, architecture and music with exact sciences like physics, mathematics, biology, geology, chemistry, agronomy as well as with the subjects of anthropology, history, philosophy, sociology and psychology.
    (Sounds like Google.)

    All of these quite many and different subjects of interest can be found with the aid of good observation to revolve around food in one way or another.

    The concept of gastronomy isn’t limited anymore to just beautifying the ritual of consumption; today’s gastronomy implies the ability to appreciate and understand the many avenues of cooking and food production.

    Today’s gastronomist needs to have some basic knowledge in respect with the chemistry and physics of food, food history , culinary anthropology and to have somewhat of a link to the many cultures of the world with the help of the computer and the Internet.

    Today’s gastronomy aficionado needs to have a good understanding of agriculture, aquaculture and the technology of newer cooking methods and equipment.

    He or she need to understand the impact of eating and diet upon health, including things like food-borne diseases and worldwide ecology.

    The lessons of gastronomy need to promote how to taste, how to savor the whole dining experience, whether it is a family meal at home or a special dining-out event.

    Unfortunately in later times, the tendency to judge food solely by what it looks like has increased. Almost everywhere in the modern world taste and aroma are demoted in favor of stylistic architecture, people no longer savor and appreciate the joy and satisfaction of eating and the entertaining and pleasant conversations over the dinner table seem to have disappeared entirely.

    The time has come for us to relearn or reemphasize how the senses can be used to fully appreciate and relish the hedonistic pleasures of life. We as human beings are equipped with the necessary anatomy and physiology {to go beyond}the boring biological function of eating. {That converts it} to one of life’s greatest pleasures.

    Words in { } are guesswork due to technical problems in the source.

    This is a link to the statement in green text above on Gastronomy. The writer is wide-ranging as demonstrated by using the link to other articles written. No more on Gastronomy, though..




    What is Gastronomy?

    Although "wise-geek" may sound insignificant in the academic sense, this site has something to offer.



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