Sequence Spotlights

Dr. Gansen and Dr. Caillaud

Dr. Gansen and Dr. Caillaud

How did the two of you come together for this sequence, and how do you see your academic backgrounds complementing one another for this sequence topic?

Prof. Caillaud and Prof. Gansen both teach in the Modern Languages Department. Prof. Caillaud has taught a course on “French Food Culture, Cuisine and Communities” in French for several years and Prof. Gansen is embarking on her food-related teaching this year, with the freshman honors sequence as well as a course in Spanish titled "Hispanic Foods and Cultures." They both consider food a passion that they pursue outside of the classroom as well, be it in their own kitchens or in experiencing food locally and in their travels. 

How would you describe the main approach you’ll take in the sequence? What kinds of readings and assignments are there? Will there be any out-of-class activities?

Food is about experience as much as it is about learning; we envision this course as an opportunity for in-depth class discussions alongside hands-on cooking, food-related excursions in the Grand Rapids area, and conversations with food experts. We will explore the history and literature behind Food on the European continent, as well as in South and Central America. We will also delve into the politics of food, using Reacting to the Past games such as “Food Fight: Challenging the USDA Food Pyramid- 1991” “Food or famine: Feeding Africa,” and “Food and Killer disease: The McGovern Committee hearings – 1977” in which students become major players in key policy debates and food controversies. Students will thus engage the many facets of food facts, fiction, and factions.

What do you expect students, regardless of major, to take away from the sequence?

Students will be able to reflect on various aspects of food related topics. They will gain a deeper enjoyment of food by preparing and sampling it. They will develop an appreciation for it as a form of identity with all the connections that entail to the world (past and present) at large.

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Page last modified April 10, 2023