Artful Dining: The Orchestration of the Meal

Sunday, January 20, 2013
3:00 pm

Darra Goldstein, professor of Russian at Williams College, will explore feasts—from the ribald gatherings of the European Middle Ages through the opulent banquets of the Renaissance, and on to the excesses of America’s Gilded Age. Vivid slides will illustrate the evolution of place settings and table decorations, as well as the progression of courses and the novel foods that were served.

Goldstein is the Willcox and Harriet Adsit Professor of Russian at Williams College and founding editor of Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture, named the 2012 Publication of the Year by the James Beard Foundation. She is also the author of four cookbooks: A Taste of Russia (nominated for a Tastemaker Award), The Georgian Feast (winner of the 1994 IACP Julia Child Award for Cookbook of the Year), The Winter Vegetarian, and Baking Boot Camp at the CIA (IACP award finalist). Goldstein has consulted for the Council of Europe as part of an international group exploring ways in which food can be used to promote tolerance and diversity.

"A Feast for the Eyes: Food, Porcelain, Silver, and Luxury Fabrics" is a four-part lecture series that celebrates sumptuously decorative, yet functional, works of art dating from the Middle Ages to today.  Specialist lecturers will trace the evolution of the elaborately set table from Medieval Europe to the Gilded Age in New York; explore our understanding of European and American silver from the past, and what certain objects tell us; place Meissen porcelain of the eighteenth century in its political context; and discuss the art of upholstering with Fortuny fabrics today. Each talk will highlight the luxury and opulence of decorative art objects and explore their intriguing social contexts.