Eating for Pleasure: transformations in food culture from Medieval to Modern world

Co-presented with the Department of History, Faculty of Arts and Social Science, University of Sydney

Eating for Pleasure image

Dr John Gagné
6 September, 2011


The transformations of European food culture from medieval to modern engaged with global trends in commerce, science, and environmental change. This talk traces the history that changed Europeans’ focus from diet to delight, from vinegar to butter, and from Asian to American influence. In particular, it aims to uncover the intellectual and cultural shifts that promoted new possibilities for thinking about food in moral terms.


John Gagné is a lecturer in History at the University of Sydney, where he has come after stints researching and teaching in Boston, Paris, Milan, and most recently, Montréal. John studies the history of early modern Europe, particularly France and Italy in the sixteenth century. He is currently writing a book on the impact of the French occupation of Milan, 1500-1525, a study that investigates how new cultural, political, and media forms emerged from a time of international war. John teaches courses on the Renaissance, on food and environmental history, and – in 2012 – will offer a new class on the history of information.

This lecture is part of History Week 2011 – EAT History, hosted by the History Council of NSW.