Thinking and writing about food. Not always in that order.

Did you know? When I’m not being a smart ass I am a real writer

In Uncategorized on June 26, 2013 at 4:21 pm

orange-avocadosaladOccasionally, I write about being a grad student in the MLA in Gastronomy program at Boston University where I get to study unbelievably interesting things and meet great people along the way.

A bunch of those interesting people and classes come together in my June 11, 2013 cover pieces in the Boston Globe’s G Magazine  on Food and Fashion.

Here are the links:

Where Food and Fashion Meet
What Was Cooking Besides Couture
Recipe for Orange-Avocado Salad

The articles are about Michelle Tolini Finamore, Fashion Curator at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, and her collection of cookbooks written by people from the fashion industry. There’s also an article on a lunch held at the unbelievable Salem, Mass. home of fashion collector Jimmy Raye.

All the food for the lunch came from the fashion cookbooks, including a really good orange-avocado salad first published in 1939.

It was all very fancy and everyone was very, very nice. I had on my good suit (from Saks!) and still felt pretty rumpled.

I met Michelle when writing about Culinary Salons for my Food History class. Culinary salons were competitions among professional chefs held for much of the 20th Century in Boston and other cities. At the salons, chefs created extremely elaborate and very formal displays of culinary artistry which were judged on appearance. Although everything was edible, nothing was ever eaten.

Very little has been written about the salons, other than a great article by Michelle in Gastronomica which detailed her family’s three generations of participation in the events. As a design scholar, she focused on the visual artistry of the displays.

Michelle spoke with me as part of  my research project where I was trying to create a more general history of the culinary salons in Boston. And she put me in touch with her uncles who, along with her grandfather and great-grandfather, competed in the salons.

So a history project on the very cool subject of culinary salons led me to an informal conversation with the design curator of the MFA about her rare collection of fashion-themed cookbooks which led to a cover story for the Boston Globe.

Stuff like that, plus the fact that wine is generally served in my classes, makes me love going to school and being a food writer.

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  1. 1) Actually you are a pretty good journalist, when you are an asshole, which you are not. You are a contrarian, and there aren’t enough of those around.
    2) Culinary salons still exist.. They are usually connected to restaurant or food shows, but the great ones like the French Coupe du Monde for pastry. http://www.sirha.com/evenements/evenements-phares/coupe-du-monde-de-la-patisserie .The ACF holds quite a few.

    • oops…that’s smartass. so sorry. spend too much time with kitchen people.

      • No problem. I didn’t mean to suggest that ALL culinary salons no longer exist. I know many competitions are alive and well. Wasn’t very clear about that. I focused on those sponsored by the Epicurean Club of Boston which were very popular through the 1950s and slowly faded by the 1980s.

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