Saturday, 19 January 2019 Contact us

INFINITELY MORE PALATABLE THAN FORESKINS - MAR 30 - 1.29PM

Charles Spence, Gastrophysics

Now this was more like it…
A talk on food that sounded - and was - irresistibly appetising.
Yesterday I had intended to attend a talk by Jeremiah Tower, an American celebrity chef who’s talk was entitled “Eating Desire: Our Appetite for the Erotic and Other Desires”.
Now, with a title like that who wouldn’t queue in a long, dirty raincoat with sweating palms and cotton-mouth and mumble about “fluids” and “soft, gooey textures”?
EXCEPT that is until you read the small print in the Festival’s brochure - ‘Tower looks at the aphrodisiac, from the well known oyster to the lesser known experiences of Agnes Blannbekin (1244-1315), who was known for her visions of Christ and for the pleasure she gained from eating…foreskins”.
No great surprise then that I ultimately declined.
Which is why today I had my fingers crossed about Charles Spence’s talk: “Gastrophysics: The Science of Dining From Restaurant Music to Sonic Crisps” which sounded, even via its small print, like an event unlikely to trigger my gag reflex.
And I was right.
In fact, more than right. Indeed, it turned out to be a crowd-pleaser of thrilling and mouth-watering proportions that was every bit as two-ring circus as it was educational.
Mr Spence is clearly a man who doesn’t believe in breathing since in his first five minutes and 40,000-word oratory, I don’t believe he inhaled once. Like a runaway train stuffed with delicious foodie treats.
In short, his presentation centred on his belief that the most important organ of the enthusiastic diner is their mind, not their tongue.
After all, as he pointed out: ‘When you eat it’s your mind that’s doing all the work, providing the senses, the mood, and everything else. And remember as well, 75 per cent of what you taste is provided by its smell”.
His anecdotes about why drinking plonk in some Mediterranean climate is always more enjoyable than bringing a bottle home and opening it on your patio were priceless. As was his machine fire enthusiasm.
A perfect amuse bouche before lunch…

FT Weekend Title partner University of Oxford BBC World Service International radio partner Bodleian Libraries Festival cultural partner Oxford Martin School Festival ideas partner Worcester College Worcester College: Festival college partner Irish Embassy, London Supporters of the Irish programme Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press. Sponsors of the programme of American literature and culture The Dorchester Hotels Collection Festival London hotel partner Blackwell’s Festival on-site and online bookseller Head of Zeus The Macdonald Randolph Hotel The festival hotel Italian Cultural Institute HM Government of Gibraltar Festival green room sponsor Gibunco Group Sponsor of Gibraltar Lecture British Academy BBC Four Television Broadcast media partner Earthwatch Europe Ian and Carol Sellars Emily Rose and James Marrow Jill Dunsmore New College Lincoln College Lincoln College St Cross College St Cross College Jesus College St Hilda’s College St John’s College St John's College The Queen’s College The Queen's College Exeter College Exeter College Hertford College Keble College Keble College Oxford Brookes University The Feathers Hotel Said Business School University of Oxford Mathematical Institute Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies The Oxford Times Regional media partner BBC Radio Oxford Local radio partner Bear Ram Elk Festival Digital Strategy & Web Design The Royal Society of Literature Royal Literary Fund Princeton University Press Felicity Bryan Associates University of Oxford Alumni Office Alumni Office Conference Oxford Oxford University Images Oxford University Images The Sheldonian Theatre Oxford University Press Floris of London Critchleys City Audio Visual Bayard Presse Eynsham Hall Macdonald Bear Hotel Sloane Club Ashmolean Museum British Humanist Association The Story Museum Oxford City Council The Litmus Partnership K T Bruce Photography K T Bruce Photography OX magazine Liaison Financial Services Steer

FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival partners & sponsors

FT Weekend Title partner University of Oxford BBC World Service International radio partner Bodleian Libraries Festival cultural partner Oxford Martin School Festival ideas partner Worcester College Worcester College: Festival college partner Irish Embassy, London Supporters of the Irish programme Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press. Sponsors of the programme of American literature and culture The Dorchester Hotels Collection Festival London hotel partner Blackwell’s Festival on-site and online bookseller Head of Zeus The Macdonald Randolph Hotel The festival hotel Italian Cultural Institute HM Government of Gibraltar Festival green room sponsor Gibunco Group Sponsor of Gibraltar Lecture British Academy BBC Four Television Broadcast media partner Earthwatch Europe Ian and Carol Sellars Emily Rose and James Marrow Jill Dunsmore New College Lincoln College Lincoln College St Cross College St Cross College Jesus College St Hilda’s College St John’s College St John's College The Queen’s College The Queen's College Exeter College Exeter College Hertford College Keble College Keble College Oxford Brookes University The Feathers Hotel Said Business School University of Oxford Mathematical Institute Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies The Oxford Times Regional media partner BBC Radio Oxford Local radio partner Bear Ram Elk Festival Digital Strategy & Web Design The Royal Society of Literature Royal Literary Fund Princeton University Press Felicity Bryan Associates University of Oxford Alumni Office Alumni Office Conference Oxford Oxford University Images Oxford University Images The Sheldonian Theatre Oxford University Press Floris of London Critchleys City Audio Visual Bayard Presse Eynsham Hall Macdonald Bear Hotel Sloane Club Ashmolean Museum British Humanist Association The Story Museum Oxford City Council The Litmus Partnership K T Bruce Photography K T Bruce Photography OX magazine Liaison Financial Services Steer