What is Food? The question deserves to be asked in a radical way.
Every day we eat, taking so many things for granted – edibility, availability, or pleasure, if we are among the privileged. But more and more, people become critical towards the food system and what we eat.
How can we work at making food more sustainable, good for the body and mind, rich with meaning, bursting with flavors?
This website gathers features from the What is Food? exhibition held at Concordia University’s 4th Space. The program showcased research and experiential learning activities proposed by scholars and organizations working in the field of food studies and on food-related topics at Concordia.
This space, designed to serve as an archive and a virtual exhibit, continues the reflection on the subject. Enjoy your visit!
What is food? On a basic level, it is sustenance, vital for maintaining life. But it has so many other dimensions. Food is a “total social fact” (Marcel Mauss). And with that comes an array of angles featured in this website.
Sustainability is a key theme in food studies now. How can we grow vegetables at home using aquaponics? What is a recipe to make good vegan cheese? Which conservation techniques are useful to can fruits or vegetables? In the end, sustainable choices empower us as citizens and can help transform the food system.
Food is also examined from a social angle. How can accessibility be improved? What are the actors that make for a more inclusive food system? The Montreal Food Map research team, coordinating communal resources and effort, is an example of this type of work. Here as well, citizenship built through local initiatives is a driving force of change.
Edibility and taste are at the core of our experience of food, so we have raised a few questions about this. Can I eat insects? What taste should have baby formula? How is chocolate to be tasted, evaluated and enjoyed? This fresh take on the daily experience of eating allows for more pleasure and builds a critical outlook on food.
Food can become an artistic medium, bringing emotions and beauty. Documentation from a performative dinner and a project of digital literature show that beyond sustenance, food is intermingled with our intimate emotions and history.