The June meeting of the Experimental Cuisine Collective is co-presented with
Culinary Historians of New York. It will take place on Monday, June 8 from
6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the
Chemistry Department at NYU, room 1003 (31 Washington Place, between
Washington Square Park and Greene Street). You will need a photo ID to
enter the building.
Registration is $10 and available
Nadia Berenstein, a doctoral candidate in the department of history and sociology of science at the University of Pennsylvania, will present Making It Delicious: Flavor Science and
the Industrialization of Food in the U.S.
Grab any item off the shelf of a grocery store, and you're almost
certain to find some variation of the words, "contains natural and
artificial flavors" on the package. What are these flavors, where do
they come from, and what makes some of them "natural"
and others not? Flavor additives are inescapable in our food system,
but just as their components are often mysterious or mischaracterized,
the history of these specialty chemicals remains largely untold.
Berenstein will examine how chemical additives designed to
imitate, enhance, and improve flavor made their way into the U.S. food
supply from the beginning of the twentieth century to the 1950s, telling
the stories of the people and companies who made
flavors, the food manufacturers who used them, and the people who
consumed them. Along the way, she will consider how scientific and
technological knowledge about flavor and its chemical and sensory
properties reshaped scientific, legal, and cultural meanings
of "pure," "natural," and "artificial" in the first half of the
twentieth century, transforming the food we eat and the ways we
A reception will precede the talk, and a tasting of foods flavored artificially and naturally will be passed during the talk.
Berenstein is a doctoral candidate in the department of
History & Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania. A
2014-2015 Haas Fellow at the Chemical Heritage Foundation, she is
currently completing a dissertation about the history of flavor
science in the United States. She holds a BA from Harvard College and
an MA from New York University.
here (and note the exceptional for ECC $10 registration fee). A link is also posted on our website.
All my best,
Anne E. McBride
Director, Experimental Cuisine Collective
ABOUT THE EXPERIMENTAL CUISINE COLLECTIVE The Experimental Cuisine Collective is a
working group that assembles scholars, scientists, chefs, writers,
journalists, performance artists, and food enthusiasts. We launched in
April 2007, as a result of the collaboration of
Kent Kirshenbaum of the chemistry department and Amy Bentley of the
nutrition, food studies, and public health department at New York
University with Chef Will Goldfarb of WillPowder. Our overall aim is to
develop a broad-based and rigorous academic approach
that employs techniques and approaches from both the humanities and
sciences to examine the properties, boundaries, and conventions of food.