Food can be used to promote tolerance in an increasingly fractious world. My work explores ways in which food and culture transcend differences.
Darra Goldstein is the Willcox B. and Harriet M. Adsit Professor of Russian, Emerita at Williams College and Founding Editor of Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture, named the 2012 Publication of the Year by the James Beard Foundation. She has published widely on literature, culture, art, and cuisine and has organized several exhibitions, including Graphic Design in the Mechanical Age and Feeding Desire: Design and the Tools of the Table, 1500-2005, both at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. In addition to serving as Editor in Chief of the James Beard-nominated Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets, she is the author of eight cookbooks.
Darra is Series Editor of California Studies in Food and Culture (University of California Press) and Editor in Chief of The Oxford Reference Encyclopedia of Food Studies. She has consulted for the Council of Europe as part of an international group exploring ways in which food can be used to promote tolerance and diversity. She was the national spokesperson for Stolichnaya vodka when it was first introduced to the US. Darra did her undergraduate work at Vassar College and holds a PhD from Stanford University.
She currently serves on the Kitchen Cabinet of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History and on the Advisory Board of the Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts.
My cookbook led to wonderful opportunities. I consulted for the Firebird Restaurant in NYC and for the legendary, madcap Warner LeRoy of the Russian Tea Room.
I got to be the “Stoli girl” for a couple of years, doing PR for Stolichnaya Vodka, as well as food editor for Russian Life magazine. I also wrote another cookbook, The Georgian Feast about the spectacular food of the Republic of Georgia.
I felt a little madcap myself trying to straddle the divide between the sensual, popular world of food and that of academia. But I kept pushing, working hard to make a place at the scholarly table for food studies.