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20 Fascinating Lectures for Serious Foodies

by Staff Writers

Serious foodies know there’s so much more about food than just eating. Food plays a part in culture, history, and even revolutions. These 20 lectures will have you on the edge of your seat and ready for another serving.

  1. Julia Child, Culinary Revolutionary: Watch this lecture to study the American culinary influence of Julia Child. This panel features speakers discussing Julia’s life, as well as the effects of her books, shows, and persona on American food and culture.
     
  2. Mark Bittman on what’s wrong with what we eat: In this lecture, you’ll find Mark Bittman’s opinion on what’s wrong with what we eat. He explains that we eat too much meat, too few plants, too much fast food, and too little home cooking, which is putting the planet at risk.
     
  3. Peter Reinhart on bread: Master breadmaker Peter Reinhart offers this lecture on bread. Watch the lecture for a tribute to this beloved staple. He discusses the couplings of wheat, yeast, starch, and heat that will have you wanting a piece.
     
  4. Slow Food Nation: Slow Food Nation considers a reworking of the way we prepare and eat our food. This lecture asks viewers to buy food locally in order to save money, support local economies, and preserve energy.
     
  5. Ann Cooper Talks School Lunches: Learn about school lunches from this "renegade lunch lady." She discusses a revolution in the way kids eat at school, and a move toward local, sustainable, seasonal, and educational food.
     
  6. Food for Thought: Behavioral Economics and What You Eat: Watch this lecture for an insightful look at behavioral economics and how they influence what we eat. Cornell Professor David Just considers whether food manufacturers are intentionally pushing unhealthy foods in this lecture.
     
  7. Dan Barber’s Foie Gras Parable: Foie gras has long been reviled as an inhumane food to produce. Chef Dan Barber shares the story of a farm in Spain that produces foie gras humanely.
     
  8. A Short History of the American Stomach: Study Kaufman’s lecture for an exploration of America’s relationship with food. You’ll see food culture extremes, diet books, and genetically modified foods.
     
  9. Women, Men, and Food: This lecture puts gender on the table. You’ll take a look at the relationship between food and gender, all the way from production to consumption. It also considers how men and women shape and are shaped by food.
     
  10. How Food Shapes Our Cities: Food is an essential part of life, but did you realize that it had an influence on shaping the modern world? Watch architect Carolyn Steel’s lecture to learn how ancient food routes had an impact on the world.
     
  11. Cooking in Silico: Understanding Heat Transfer in the Modern Kitchen: Check out this lecture to learn about technologies that have transformed the modernist kitchen. You’ll learn about the computer in particular as an underutilized tool for cooking.
     
  12. In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto: Award winning author and Berkeley professor Michael Pollan speaks from the heart in this lecture about food. In this lecture, you will take a look at the science of diet and health, and be asked to change the way you think about food.
     
  13. Beef: As American as Apple Pie: If you’ve ever wondered about the beef industry and its relationship to culture, be sure to watch Betty Fussell’s lecture. She shares what she’s learned from traveling to ranches, slaughterhouses, and steakhouses to talk to people about turning cattle into meat.
     
  14. Reporter Jennifer 8. Lee Hunts for General Tso: Jennifer explores the origins of Chinese-American dishes in this lecture. You’ll find the hidden spots where the cuisines and cultures have combined to create something new and tasty.
     
  15. James Beard: The Quintessential American Epicure: You’ll learn about James Beard, the "quintessential American cook," from this lecture. Speakers discuss how Beard laid the groundwork for the gastronomical revolution of the end of the 20th century.
     
  16. The Omnivore’s Dilemma with Michael Pollan: Michael Pollan offers this definitive account of the American way of eating. Watch this lecture to better understand our food chains from the source to the meal.
     
  17. An Edible History of Humanity: Through this lecture, you will learn how food shapes and transforms societies around the world. Tom Standage explains food’s impact on history here.
     
  18. Sugar: The Bitter Truth: We all know that sugar is bad for you, but just how bad is it? Dr. Robert Lustig offers this lecture explaining the damage caused by sugary foods, and takes a look at their influence on the obesity epidemic.
     
  19. The End of Overeating: David Kessler is a former FDA commissioner lecturing to uncover the reasons why we’re hardwired to overeat. Kessler’s lecture explains the influences that produce this problem, and how it perpetuates itself.
     
  20. Malcolm Gladwell on Spaghetti Sauce: Malcolm Gladwell teaches a lesson using spaghetti sauce. He discusses the pursuit of the perfect spaghetti sauce as an argument on choice and happiness.