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COP Professor Wins International Culinary Award

Feb 12, 2009

Ken Albala, Professor of History at College of the Pacific has won the 2008 Cordon d'Or Award in Culinary Literature / History for his book Beans: A History. Dr. Albala has been invited to attend the awards ceremony during the Southern Food & Wine Festival in May. The Cordon d'Or Award was first established by Chef Noreen Kinney in 1985. In 1990 Kinney further established the Annual Gold Ribbon International Cookbook and Culinary Arts Awards Program.

Beans: A History was also the winner of the 2008 International Association of Culinary Professionals Jane Grigson award. The acclaimed book not only follows the history of beans, but also the cultures that have used these beans through the centuries. Dr. Albala writes "Over time the bean has been both scorned as 'poor man's meat' and praised as health-giving, even patriotic. Attitudes toward this most basic of foodstuffs reveal a great deal about the society that consumes them."

Dr. Albala is the author of 9 books on food history including Eating Right in the Renaissance ( University of California Press), and The Banquet (University of Illinois Press). He is also the editor of the Food Culture Around the World series (Greenwood Press), and the co-editor of the journal Food Culture and Society.

This semster Dr. Albala is completing a textbook on World Cuisines for the Culinary Institute of America, and also writing a cookbook for Penguin entitled The Antiquated Kitchen. The upcoming cookbook flouts the recent trend of easy-to-make, quick recipes that is so popular today, by delving into difficult, time-consuming and dangerous recipes from the past.

Dr. Albala is currently teaching History 61: A Global History of Food. The class covers food and culture in civilizations of Asia, America, Africa, and Europe from antiquity to the present. Whether he is teaching in the classroom or penning books, Dr. Albala works to understand the practical side of history through hands-on experience with food, actually cooking with recipes translated from historical texts. "I want to understand the practical side of history. For example I won't just read about a typical 16th century meal- I'll make it using authentic ingredients and techniques. When I cook the actual recipe I can further appreciate what it was like to cook in those times, and ultimately find deeper meaning in the recipe as a historical document."

The College of the Pacific and entire University congratulate Dr. Albala on yet another culinary award. The Cordon d'Or Award is a prestigious honor, not to mention well deserved by Dr. Albala.

me with dum dum