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Food: The Secret Sauce of History

Tuesday, February 6, 13, 20, 27, March 5, and 12 Fee: Free

Because all human beings must eat to survive, finding food has been our major preoccupation. That’s why the search and securing of food created what we call history. Britain sabotaged China to get tea; Maine was “discovered” because southern European Catholics needed to eat fish; Rome conquered Spain to get olive oil just as Hitler invaded Ukraine to get wheat. We’ll look at the seemingly ordinary items in our pantry—salt, potatoes, cinnamon, pasta—and discover how they actually changed the world.


Sandy Garson, with her popular catering business, helped start the local food movement in Maine. She wrote the first ever book to support farmers’ markets, which had a second updated edition. She joined the initial exploratory course in Food History at Radcliffe College and went on to publish articles and a second cookbook. She taught food history for the USM OLLI Senior College and runs its food discussions and workshops. She also spoke on The Indian Kitchen for the 2024 Camden Conference.


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