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ENGLISH 143G: Forbidden Foods: Exploration and Temptation in the Renaissance

In the 19th century, French gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin wrote, 'Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.' The 150-year period between Columbus's earth-widening encounters in the Caribbean and the English Civil War represented a paradigm shift for those interested in what was on the table, as tastes for newly discovered foods - and tales of 'exotic' eating habits - fueled further global exploits. Medieval and early modern physicians believed that diet could change a person's temperament, which complicated questions of travel and living abroad: were race and nationality malleable, and able to be transformed by a change in environment?nnThis course explores Renaissance literature and culture through a focus on food, reading texts both canonical and a little farther afield. Beginning with cultural and culinary taboos in the New World found in narratives from Peru and Brazil, we'll turn to a variety of European perspectives written in poetry, drama, prose, and epic. nnNote: This class includes a cooking lab in which students will adapt and recreate early modern recipes.
Terms: Aut | Units: 3-5
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