Back to school

There’s the inescapable edge of gold on the maple leaves, the geese are gathering on the Gorge and the wasps are getting cranky and slow. The blackberries are getting tasteless and starting to wither, the autumn apples are beginning to drop. Those of us blessed with the permanent-student gene are feeling itchy for new stationery, the crack of textbook spines, the scent of printers ink.

And so, narrowing my view to avoid inconvenient questions like how I’ll afford it, or how I’ll make 10,000 arrangements in 60 days, I’ve accepted a place in a year-long master’s program at the Slow Food’s University of Gastronomic Sciences in Colorno, near Parma in northern Italy.

No, it’s not a cooking course, or even a study of stomach ailments – at least not deliberately – just a year of learning about food. The courses include:

Food History and Elements of Food Culture
Wine History and Wine Culture
Food Anthropology
Sociology and Psychology of Food Consumption
Journalism and Web Page
Techniques of Food Photography
Sensory Analysis
Culinary Techniques

Field trips are required, throughout Italy and in France, Spain and southern Germany, in order to study pasta, cheese, cured meat products, oil and wine. Luckily it’s taught in English, as my Italian was bad even before it was rusty, though there are language classes and of course a lot of opportunity to practice. So now I have a couple of months to get ready for the next adventure.

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