This course builds upon concepts in basic nutrition to promote the understanding of how socio-cultural, environmental and psychological factors influence eating habits and health. Implications for health practitioners, health educators and for anyone interested in food and culture will be discussed.
Students will be exposed to long-standing culinary traditions and explore changes occurring in recent years and reasons for these changes, with a focus on Germany and Berlin. The course will familiarize students with the history of Berlin through foods and traditions introduced through the years and their connection to historical events. Further, the course will promote the understanding of Berlin’s immigrant populations through the examination of the diverse range of food options available in the city. Food options will also be examined with regards to refugee populations to promote understanding of the situation of a range of different groups in the city.
A number of experiential learning activities will underline the students understanding of the city’s culinary traditions. These learning activities will include: 1) A tour of Berlin’s breweries to understand the city’s old brewing tradition and the more recent establishment of microbreweries, 2) a visit to the currywurst vendors in the city, as currywurst is known as the most popular street food in Berlin, and 3) a visit to the Kreuzberg district to examine the diverse food options available and reflect on the composition of Berlin’s immigrant community and the place of immigrants in German society. While the experiential activities have a limited focus given time constraints, course discussion will focus on a number of other foods and characteristics of the German diet.
In analyzing the culinary traditions of immigrants in Berlin, there will also be a discussion of the recent influx of refugees and the influence this may have on German society, traditions, and food. The activities planned will expose students to the diversity of food-related practices in Berlin, and course assignments will help them to connect these practices with the history of Germany and the changes that have occurred in the country’s composition and identity.
Course learning outcomes:
We welcome students from all disciplines who are interested in learning more about the various influences on eating behavior and how culture in particular affects eating.
An elementary knowledge of nutrition is welcome but not necessary.
Each student is expected to 1) read and understand appropriate sections in the text and other reference materials, 2) be prepared to share and discuss this information with the class. Sharing findings and leading a discussion towards the end of class will be expected of all students. Students will be required to hold one presentations, to complete homework assignments, to attend each class, and to write the final examination.
A reader will be provided at the orientation meeting. It will include texts from: