MULTICULTURAL LONDON: FOODS AND STORIES OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE THAT WAS
Foods function as cultural bridges, bringing people of different nationalities, languages, and beliefs together. Foods carry stories with them, about where people come from, what their lives are like, and how they experience the world. Foods also contain essential nutrients that make being human possible. A complex, multiethnic society like London, which has been enriched by the culinary traditions of many varied cultures, provides the perfect backdrop to explore the effect of food on culture and human health.
The London Centre Spring 2023 program will focus on the foods, nutrition, and stories of the British Empire (that was), from the Plantagenet conquest of Ireland, with its soda breads, colcannon, and bangers and mash, and the Tudor/Stuart acquisition of Scotland, with its haggis, oatcakes, and neeps and tatties, through the colonial spread of British influence over swaths of South Asia, Africa, and China, which introduced curries, chutneys, teriyaki, dim sum, and pounded yams, among many other foods, into the British foodscape. Our primary resource for understanding the intersections of empire, food, and stories will be the city itself, with its many ethnic neighborhoods and restaurants, as well as visits to Ireland and Scotland. We will eat our way through the city, connecting the actual chemical and nutritional content of the foods we encounter with the stories those same dishes can tell about the people who invented, market, prepare, and consume them.
In London, in addition to eating amazing food, we will visit such iconic sites as the British Museum, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the National Gallery, as well as exploring ethnic neighborhoods and cultural centers. Outside the city, we will visit the Belfast, Dublin, the Scottish Highlands, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stonehenge, Bath, Oxford, and many other fascinating destinations. By the end of the program, you will have begun building your own cultural bridges to the many cultures that make up the UK today!
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