IMC 2016: Sessions

Session 199: Keynote Lecture 2016: The Taste of Food

Monday 4 July 2016, 13.00-14.00

Introduction:Paul Freedman, Department of History, Yale University
Speaker:Massimo Montanari, Dipartimento di Storia Culture Civiltà, Università di Bologna

Taste is an ambiguous word that refers either to the physiological sensation that begins in the body by contact with food, or the aesthetic evaluation that a particular society places on the gustatory experience (also in the metaphorical sense, in areas not only of gastronomy but also and above all else of art, literature, or music). Taste in its first meaning is an individual and biological attitude. Taste in its second meaning (understood now as Good Taste) becomes a collective and cultural attitude. This lecture sets out to show how the respective importance of these two meanings was modified over time – between the Medieval and Modern period – with a progressive disequilibrium away from the first to the second. It aims to show how both concepts might discover an essential affinity in the ‘principle of knowledge’ which, moreover, allows utilisation of the idea of Taste in a metaphorical sense; and how, through such a principle, the medieval ideal of Taste (restricted to the act of eating and particularly understood as a spontaneous datum) prepares the modern idea of Good Taste (extended to other activities and mostly as a cultural datum, that is, as the fruit of social learning) which, in turn, allows elaboration of the very idea of Food Taste as a Good Taste culturally learned.

Please note that admission to this event will be on a first-come, first-served basis as there will be no tickets. Please ensure that you arrive as early as possible to avoid disappointment.