Grad School
Comments 2

It’s for School, I Swear

Out in the school’s didactic garden as part of our Biodynamic Agriculture class learning what to look for in healthy soil. Not pictured: when an earthworm (a positive thing in this context) wriggled around and caused one of my classmates to shriek.

Yes, I have been traveling oodles lately. But I have also been in school. Though, by the looks of these pictures, it may seem more like I’m just frolicking around eating stuff and meeting cool people. Well, that’s kind of how I would describe the University of Gastronomic Sciences anyways. It’s only 10 years old (and remember, it’s in Italy) so it doesn’t really have the traditions or structure that an older, wiser institution would have. But if you think of it, as I do, as a physical place where experts come to share little tidbits for a few days at a time with a crazy group of 23 Masters students, then you’re golden.

For an Editing Techniques class a few weeks ago, we had to make a short movie promoting “fresh and crunchy vegetables.” That was all the instruction we were given. So naturally, we made an original rap video. Yes, we discussed beforehand about all wearing black.


The tasting classes continue. To date, we have had: cured meat, olive oil, cheese and more recently wine, chocolate and beer.

I must say, I really enjoyed wine week. Over the course of 4 days, I think we tasted somewhere around 20 wines and I (sort of) learned key words to throw around, like “round,” “balanced” and “astringent.” I must include a peek of my watch and note that this class was in the AM.


We also did a chocolate tasting. After a few hours of that, I was buzzing like nobody’s business. I had so much energy. Too much.


This next photo might raise a few eyebrows. But please, refer back to the title of this post. It’s for school, I swear.

As part of a Food Anthropology course, we conducted an ethnographic study in small groups. That meant participant observation, interviews, map drawing and photo taking. My group decided to study Vineria, a cozy little wine bar, and mostly asked people about their perceptions of the table layout. What we came up with was the space is unique because it has a certain allure (yellow lights and soft music will do that, folks), environment of trust (self-service booze means you take, drink and then pay) and a community feel (it’s common to run into colleagues and school administrators alike). While we were doing our research, we were admittedly also drinking wine.


Last week, I had a few classes in Food Sensory Evaluation. Basically, my school has this crazy laboratory where individuals sit down, eat a little bit of something and are asked any number of thousands of questions via a computer screen. For example, when you eat this particular chocolate, on a scale of 1 to 9, how daring do you feel? Comfortable? Guilty? On a scale of 1 to 5, how much does this cheese remind you of soap? Ammonia? Flowers?


I wanted to tell the computer that I just can’t eat Roquefort cheese. Feet was not one of the potential answers.


  1. Kristie Driscoll says

    very entertaining and descriptive Katherine. I love Roqeurfort cheese but have to say I won’t forget your description the next time I eat it!

    • Katherine Harris says

      I think I also dislike Roquefort because the Argentines used to put a big glob of it on top of the most beautifully mild, grilled fish! I just wanted the fish!

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