CHEFS Online Research Talks

CHEFS is delighted to host a series of online research talks, covering the varied terrain of the socio-cultural dimensions of food and drink. Thanks to Zoom, we are able to virtually bring in speakers from around the world to share their research. When possible, recordings will be available after the live event (on our Past Talks’ page). All welcome: local and global, students and staff, practitioners and public. Please feel free to share with your networks.

Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 971 0918 6251
Passcode: CHEFStalks
If you’d like to receive a meeting invite for your calendar with Zoom link, please email Jennifer Smith Maguire (


CHEFS PAIRED PAPERS SESSION: Food, Drink, and Discourse
Date & Time: Thursday 9 March, 16.00-17.30, on Zoom (joining link above) *rescheduled from 9 February*
This session will feature two talks:

‘The once-despised beetroot is treated with distinction’: Austerity chic in the Daily Telegraph’s cookery columns during World War II
Joanne Hollows (freelance researcher and writer)
Abstract: Despite their enormous potential as a resource for understanding food history, newspaper cookery columns have remained a relatively unexplored form of food media. Often anonymous newspaper food writers act as cultural intermediaries who help to construct the wider foodscape at particular historical moments. During World War II, newspaper recipe columns were a valuable source of advice and information on the impact of changing national food policy, offering guidance on how to source and prepare available foods in a period of restriction and scarcity. Like many other newspapers, the Telegraph appeared to endorse the government’s message about ‘equality of sacrifice’ in the national interest and privileged the values of economy, moderation and frugality in its food columns. However, I demonstrate how the newspaper mobilized particular values and techniques to elevate and distinguish its readers’ food practices within an egalitarian morality by using allegedly equal resources in distinctive ways. This was achieved through appeals to both tradition and modernity, to a conservative rural Englishness and cosmopolitan tastes and to gastronomic values, and through the application of culinary technique. While higher class women may have had far less opportunity to practice distinction through their choice of goods due to wartime restrictions, the Telegraph’s anonymous cookery writers demonstrated how the mode of consumption of widely available foods could be used to maintain class hierarchies while avoiding the moral taint of luxurious eating.

Toward a New Lexicon for Wine
Meg Maker (wine and food writer and artist)
Abstract: The wine industry relies on wine communicators to persuade global consumers to discover and taste new wines, yet the contemporary lexicon leans heavily on Eurocentric tropes and analogies; broad, pseudo-objective pronouncements; and numeric point scores which reveal little of a wine’s aesthetic impact. Such lexicographic and numeric systems are wine-centric rather than consumer-centric, and yet they are perpetuated by the formal wine educational programs required to earn professional credentials (sommelier, educator) to work with customers. Adding complexity is the recent proliferation of digital wine search platforms, which, in codifying the lexicon, require searches using these terms. The net effect can be gatekeeping to new wine drinkers, alienating them as the industry tries to address its shrinking footprint. Wine communicators seeking to work in a way that is more personal and persuasive must learn to diversify both their language and their mindset, bringing into the discourse not only the specific qualities of a wine but also the cultural, aesthetic, chemical, organoleptic, emotional, and other facets of wine writ large, specifically as seen from the perspectives of the potential consumers. Through a series of discussions with wine writers, editors, lexicographers, library scientists, and other communication professionals, we review the existing lexicon to explore its successes and shortcomings. We then offer suggestions for re-imagining new approaches and new ways to discuss wine that are more inclusive, diverse, and accessible.

To attend the session, please use the joining link above; if you’d like to receive a calendar invite, please email


Titles, presenters, abstracts and (where available) recordings are found on our Past Talks page.