Accepted abstract - Creative Tastebuds Symposium

Ethnography and Taste Education in Cooperation with Comté Cheese: A Cross-Cultural and Collaborative Approach to Food Pedagogy and Taste Learning

By Christy Shields-Argelès, Cultural Anthropologist, American University of Paris (AUP), Claire Perrot, Taste Educator, Le Groupuscule d’Actions Gustatives (GAG), Beth Grannis, Degree Candidate, Master of Arts in Global Communications (AUP), Samuel McKeown, Degree Candidate, Master of Arts in Global Communications (AUP)

For several years, Christy Shields and Claire Perrot have collaborated on a food pedagogy project, focused on taste and terroir, in association with Comté cheese.  Christy introduces students to ethnographic methodologies and perspectives and Claire transmits basic sensory skills.  Together they strive to bring students to: reflect upon their own cultural and sensorial frames; work collaboratively with others; become “situated” in place by attending to sensorial perceptions, mobilize ethnographic perspectives and methodologies; extend embodied understandings in empathetic and culturally attentive representations of others. We propose to create an interactive space to present our collaboration through the following set of interactions:

1. Smell as a medium for exchange (Christy)
Two sets of synthetic aroma capsules will be available. The descriptor names will be hidden from view.  Participants will smell and note their impressions individually, and then share their sensory perceptions with others. The exercise explores notions of sensorial subjectivity and intersubjectivity, language and memory. 

2. Tasting terroir (Claire)
Participants will taste three different Comté cheeses and learn the reasons for it’s sensorial diversity.  Language and memory are brought into play again.

3. Student work:  embodied and empathetic representations of others (Beth and Sam)
We propose to show some student work, including: a 3-minute film on food, the senses, memory and the experience of displacement for Syrian refugees in France (Beth), and a blog dedicated to place-based food and wine producers in the Maryland/D.C. area (Sam).