Table Matters is Back for Another Helping

Still life by Floris van Dyck, 1610

Table Matters, the food-based online journal, has returned to bring you commentary and contemplation of all that we eat and how we eat it.

Established in 2009 by Jason Wilson and Jesse Smith, Table Matters has gone through many forms before settling into its current incarnation. A joint effort of the Pennoni Honors College and the Hospitality, Culinary Arts and Food Science programs of the Center for Hospitality and Sport Management, this new Table Matters promises to be a more scholarly, more entertaining and, in the words of editor Edward Bottone, more peculiar.

“I’m looking for peculiar,” Bottone said. “There are lots of people who write about the generic, there are lots of people who write about survey pieces that just cover the topic in general. I want the strange, the small, the tiny little aspect of something. If you’re going to write about coffee, I want to know something that’s really small. Not just ‘all about coffee,’ but ‘how did it influence journalism in the 18th century?’ You can find the general information anywhere.”

Currently published pieces like Donna Lee Brien and Rachel Franks’ academic exploration on poison, “Food’s Dark Shadow,” and Bottone’s own meditation on how radio shows have influenced American cooking, speak to this new focus on the more esoteric side of food culture.

Bottone has also added a third category to Table Matters, lengthening the subtitle to “the Journal of Food, Drink & Manners.”

“Manners are not talked about much, but they’re an important part of the anthropology of food and foodways,” Bottone said. “It’s evolved at the same pace, it’s evolved to accommodate different eating habits and different cultures and cuisines, so I thought that would be good. It’s not just about table etiquette, it’s about all the things that influence our behavior that even slightly impinges upon food.”

The new Table Matters is a feast not just for the mind, but also for the eyes. Bottone credits Diane Pizzuto for making it so attractive and easy to navigate. Paula Marantz Cohen, dean of the Pennoni Honors College and overseer of Table Matters’ sister  journal, The Smart Set, has also been instrumental in making sure this isn’t just another foodie blog.

“I want Table Matters to be informative and entertaining and enlightening,” Bottone said. “I don’t think that’s too much to ask.”

Table Matters is currently looking for articles from student, faculty and independent scholars. If you think your work is sufficiently informative, entertaining and enlightening, there are instructions on how to contribute here.