Is Enogastronomy The New Frontier For The Development Of Teaching Methods?
Few teachers and trainers know that places (from huge cities to tiny villages) are open-air handbooks and excellent teaching resources. Researching a country’s enogastronomy provides plenty of opportunities to explore the connections between the “food and wine” universe and the history, geography, economy, art, culture and folklore of places.
Enogastronomy is also a mine of multidisciplinary fascinating “links:” art, literature, chemistry, physics, mathematics, biology, marketing, visual merchandising, and teaching best practices as well.
Participants at the Genoese IATE (International Artist Teacher Exchange) program (March 31st 2010) attended a one-day “train the trainer” session focused on this teaching approach.
First, the group had a guided tour of a local market as an introduction to the ingredients of the Ligurian cuisine –- including the connections with healthy nutrition, visual merchandising, behaviour and communication (verbal and nonverbal), economy, marketing, mathematics and art.
Afterwards, the “students for a day” attended a “History and culture of Ligurian enogastronomy” course in the Scuola di Panificazione e Pasticceria di Genova, experiencing a blend of different teaching methods: laboratory short lecture, live demo, hands on active participation, guided tasting (basil pesto, focaccia alla Genovese and wine).
In the afternoon, the tour of an ancient chocolate manufacturer’s premises, usually not open to the public, was an immersion into the Italian art of candied fruit, dragées, chocolate and preserves, inclusive of the illustration of ancient tools and appliances, and insights into chemistry and physics, too (e.g. the role of osmosis in candied fruit processing).
“Meeting the owners of such long-lived family businesses (18th century) is like leafing through the pages of an economic history handbook” commented a participant.
Italy and Liguria are a cradle of history, their antiquity showing in the skillful combination of ingredients and in food and wine pairings, too. This is what “ethnogastronomy” is about: an anthropological focus on the multifaceted context that – through time – has generated a place’s gastronomic identity. Produce, ingredients, recipes, traditions etc. do represent first-hand evidence of the history of people, trades, arts and crafts.
“Teachers have proved to be excellent, dutiful students” said lecturer Luisa Puppo (Ligucibario).
Now it is time for homework.