University of the Pacific invites you to a Renaissance banquet,” said the evite. Would there be peacock and blancmange, I wondered? In honor of UOP’s new Master of Arts in Food Studies in San Francisco, the West's first such program, a group of us recently attended a meal cooked by professor Ken Albala that he based on a 16th-century wedding banquet. As we nibbled our way through 20 dishes (no actual peacocks died for our meal), Albala and team told us about the new program—which, despite the invite, is designed very much for the modern student.


The invitation for the Renaissance banquet

To accommodate working students, all courses will be held at night. Coursework, designed with an eye to jobs in food, will delve into today’s food system in all its complexities: the ethical, environmental and health impact of how we grow, process, distribute, and consume food; how cultures have obtained and processed food in history; why there are still serious inequalities in access to food; and the role food industries have in shaping how we eat.

The program begins fall of 2015.

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