By Michael Riggs, Ph.D, CEC, FMP
An educator returns from a summer excursion abroad with a new appreciation of community and culture communicated through food and cuisine.
Over the summer of 2010 I was given a unique opportunity to spend 14 days in England at Oxford University studying the history of European cuisine. First let me say that what took thousands of years to develop could not be researched in 14 days even with the 100 miles of books at the Oxford Bodleian Library. But what I did learn and experience came in the form of the best kind of research, eating and having conversations with chefs, restaurateurs and the people of the countries I visited: Let’s begin my journey…
[See part 1 of Riggs’ story of his journey by clicking here. The story concludes below.]
While in Oxford I was able to gain a solid understanding of English cuisine, its focus on fresh products, light meals, healthier cooking techniques (except for the pastries) and a more relaxed approach to dining as an event—not just something to somehow squeeze into the day. The diversity of ethnic cultures in Oxford and England as a whole has led to a wide selection of international cuisines with a great deal of authenticity in them in comparison to the “Americanized” international cuisines we commonly see in the United States.