Food Sense Conference – March 16 – 18, Columbia, MO

Mark your calendars for this coming weekend, March 16-18! The MU Life Sciences department is putting on its annual conference on health and eating. They have gathered experts in nutrition, psychology, taste science, cultural studies, marketing analysis, journalism and chefs to speak about how we can make healthy choices about what we eat for our life. This event is free and open to the public, so feel free to register here (link: and come hear from and discuss these issues with local chefs and nationally-renowned experts.

Here are some of the highlights of the conference that you won’t want to miss!

From Mindless Eating to Mindlessly Eating Better– Brian Wansink

Friday 7 p.m. – 8:15 p.m. Jesse Auditorium in Jesse Hall

Wansink is the Director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab and has authored best-selling books on mindless eating and nutrition. In his keynote talk Friday night, Wansink will synthesize his 20 years of research findings for us, arguing that the key to banishing mindlessly overeating is not mindful eating, but setting up food in your surroundings so that you mindlessly eat less. 

The Secret Life of Food– Shirley Corriher 

Saturday 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Conservation Hall in Anheuser-Busch

Corriher is an author, journalist, chef and perhaps best known as an actress on Alton Brown’s TV show “Good Eats”. Her entertaining talk will center around practical tips on how to get food to come out like you want. Her philosophy is the more you know about how food works, the more in control you will be over what happens and what you use.

The Theater of Dining– Jonathan Justus 

Saturday 2:15 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. Conservation Hall in Anheuser-Busch

Justus will be lecturing about getting beyond the actual “fuel” of a meal and actually figuring out what the connotations of certain foods can bring to the table. He says, “obviously, a meal can speak of at least seasonality, but can’t it weave a much broader narrative? Underneath the immediate visceral level an individual ingredient can reflect culture and ritual; beauty of course… with a mere whiff, memory retrieval can bring an onslaught of emotion. Stringing ingredients together provides the lexicography of the dining experience forming the narrative of the theater.”

Confessions of a Self-Hating Foodie, or How Classism, Food Fetishism, Political Narcissism and Neo-Agrarianism Is Ruining My Dinner – Todd Kliman

Sunday 9:30-10:25 a.m. Conservation Hall in Anheuser-Busch

The food revolution has changed the way Americans eat and think about food — for one thing, the simple fact that many of us now think about food at all. But at the same time Michael Pollan and Alice Waters enjoy the status of public intellectuals, and the Slow Food and locavore movements are regarded as representing an almost spiritual enlightenment, Big Agriculture remains dominant, the large grocery store chains have made only modest changes in how they do business, and fast-food is stronger than it has ever been. The little-acknowledged truth is that the revolution has produced a two-tier world, and the gap between the haves and have-nots is widening. The Neo-Agrarians mean well, but their appeals have succeeded mostly in flattering their well-educated audiences and encouraging a self-aggrandizing and parochial world view, one that sees hard political realities in soft-focus terms and holds that all meaningful change begins with a glance in the mirror. Meanwhile, reforms that might fundamentally alter the system — appeals to government to subsidize different crops, to chefs to create a new kind of chain restaurant — are seldom, if ever, debated.

The Science of Wine Sensation- Hildegard Heymann

Sunday 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Conservation Hall in Anheuser-Busch

In this talk, Heymann will be exploring how sensory scientists can describe the different flavors associated with wines. This will lead to conversations about why certain people like one wine over another and how manipulating the vineyard affects what we taste in our wines.

For the full schedule and list of events, from workshops on food writing to panel discussions with local chefs, click here:

Hope to see you there!