Michael Symons

Michael Symons
www.mealsmatter.net

BSc, PhD

About

17
Publications
20,336
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
220
Citations
Introduction
Michael Symons is an independent scholar, based in Sydney, working in transdisciplinary gastronomy. His latest Meals Matter: A Radical Economics through Gastronomy (2020) re-argues a liberal political economy. A History of Cooks and Cooking (2000) established a distributional theory of cooking, shaping civilisation since the "cook's knife" of flint. His gastronomic history of Australia, One Continuous Picnic, gained an expanded 25th anniversary edition in 2007. Internet site: www.mealsmatter.net
Additional affiliations
May 2011 - October 2011
Macquarie University
Position
  • Research Associate
February 2005 - January 2008
Marsden Fund, New Zealand
Position
  • Associate Investigator
Description
  • Working (0.5) with Professor Helen Leach on Marsden Fund project, "The development of New Zealand culinary traditions". Resulted in seven sole-authored papers and chapters

Publications

Publications (17)
Article
Full-text available
Purpose ‐ The aim of this paper is to examine the early history of restaurants, as invented in Paris around 1766, deciding whether a market orientation ruled out genuine hospitality. Design/methodology/approach ‐ Contemporary accounts, such as Brillat-Savarin's section "On Restaurateurs" in The Physiology of Taste in 1825, are considered against a...
Article
Full-text available
Both Australians and New Zealanders claim the Pavlova (a large meringue cake, covered in cream and fruit) as their national dish. The historical record does not settle its birthplace. On the contrary, published recipes reveal the complex process of social invention through the swapping of practical experience across both countries. The illusion of...
Article
Full-text available
The dictionary meaning of ‘cooking’ is heating food, but cooks do much more. Socially, the essential activity is distributing food. Kitchen knives are central. The historical success of kitchen knives has led to their being overlooked; for the division of food at meals goes hand in hand with the division of associated tasks, and specialist helpers,...
Article
Full-text available
Simmel, the only classical sociologist to have left an explicitly gastronomic discussion, published his essay on "The sociology of the meal" (here translated into English for the first time) in a German newspaper in 1910. Simmel argues that, as the quintessential social occasion, the shared meal provides the basis for a natural urge to lift off int...
Article
Full-text available
The evolving vocabulary used in the titles of New Zealand recipe books neatly encapsulates twentieth-century culinary history. The disappearance of some words and arrival of others correlate with changes in eating and wider social and cultural developments. In particular, a dramatic shift in the language in the early 1960s reflects a culinary revol...
Article
Incessant marketing generates a concomitant reassurance: nothing is asked but purchasing. The desperation of sales might be reasonably expected to protect consumers from further complications. This consolation of profit helps explain a wide range of otherwise surprising preferences – for commercially bottled over tap water, for example. As a case s...
Chapter
Full-text available
Conventional academic wisdom detaches the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus from the love of eating and drinking that bears his name. He should not be associated with ‘epicureanism’ in the sense of either irreligion and debauchery or, more positively, the display of refined sensibilities. According to principal interpreters (including Bailey, Dian...
Book
A frequently acclaimed Australian classic on the history of eating in Australia. It now contains a major new section on developments over the past quarter-century. 2007 marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the first publication of One Continuous Picnic, a frequently acclaimed Australian classic on the history of eating in Australia. The text rema...
Article
A culinary revolution in America and elsewhere has recently been pinpointed to around 1963. Three important New Zealand cookery books were published that year, and these are investigated to characterize the worldwide shift. Was "grandma's cooking" lost or "gourmet cooking" gained? Seemingly contradictory evaluations might be reconciled in the light...
Book
Never has there been so little need to cook. Yet Michael Symons maintains that to be truly human we need to become better cooks: practical and generous sharers of food. Fueled by James Boswell's definition of human as cooking animals (for "no beast can cook"), Symons sets out to explore the civilizing role of cooks in history. His wandering take us...
Book
We come to the table not just to share nourishment, but to share ideas. In this thoughtful book, Michael Symons sets out his views on Australian cuisine - how it developed and how it fits into the multicultural society in which we live. He writes in a stimulating and entertaining manner, bringing an unexpected viewpoint to the previously familiar....

Network

Cited By

Projects

Project (1)
Project
Published by Columbia University Press on 2 June 2020, this book makes gastronomic sense of liberal economics and politics, developed by Enlightenment writers on behalf of self-preservation through cooperation, and as then subverted, on behalf of money, by "classical" economics, "classical" liberalism, recently by "neoliberalism", and increasingly by populist autocracy.