Building lives around meals… Take a seat!

Meals Matter

GASTRONOMY is the diner’s sense of the world, and Meals Matter, the blog, provides a focus, through which Michael Symons brings together books, ideas, debates, news and observations.

I research food at the centre of social life, and its cover-up

NOW PUBLISHED by Columbia University Press, Symons’ latest, Meals Matter: A Radical Economics through Gastronomy, rethinks the human predicament from, perhaps for some people, a surprising direction.

Yet finding and sharing food and drink is the most imperative human activity, and economists thought so, too, until the rise of capitalism, which diverted attention to money. That might have suited corporations, but they don’t eat.

With the present crisis making the reworking of economic theory from the bottom-up even more timely, here are purchasing suggestions.

The book’s originality is why food anthropologist Professor David Sutton generously locates the “potential to upend many orthodoxies”.

“A book I wish I had written”, writes former chef and now academic economist, Professor Ted P. Schmidt. The book succeeds “brilliantly in a radical project” for politics professor Janet Flammang. “Meals Matter is a passionate call to create a more convivial world,” according to professor of European history Bertram M. Gordon.  More reactions to the book.

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Here is the cover of One Continuous Picnic, a gastronomic history of Australia, which appeared in 1982, with an expanded edition in 2007. It was inspired by living for a year in a former watermill down an ancient Roman road near Radda-in-Chianti in Italy, and then setting up the Cantina di Toia restaurant in another Tuscan town, Bacchereto. Symons found the contrast with his own country was so sensual, important and revelatory that he researched that book, Jennifer Hillier and he ran the ground-breaking Uraidla Aristologist restaurant in the Adelaide Hills for 15 years, and he kept up gastronomical research, including completing a Ph.D.

Here is a list of Symons’ books.

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Why do human beings cook? Who are our gastronomic heroes – that’s beyond Epicurus, Thomas Jefferson, Brillat-Savarin and M.F.K. Fisher? What’s the origin of the flat white? So many questions … while grateful for good food and company.

For blog essays, hit the Posts & Essays button (sometimes it’s above). To keep up with the latest, hit the Follow button (also, sometimes upper-right).

And to contact Michael Symons, email, or fill in the form:

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