Eating What We Teach


February 16, 2022
Gonzaga Magazine
Professors respond to this question: In what ways has your academic study informed or impacted what – or how – you eat?

ETHICS

Ellen Maccarone, Associate Professor

After teaching about ethics and food for more than a dozen years, what I learned is to eat more plants, eat more from farmers I know, eat more I cook myself, and eat more with friends than by myself; to eat less highly processed food, eat fewer animal products, and eat less when I am rushed or doing other things than pay attention to the food and who I am with.

RELIGIOUS STUDIES

Patrick McCormick, Professor

As a religious studies professor, I’ve studied the ethical implications of the Eucharist. Why is Christianity’s central sacrament about eating and drinking, and how should I eat and drink differently in light of the Eucharist? Biblical scholarship on Jesus’ table fellowship convinced me I should eat in ways ensuring no one goes hungry and all our shared meals breach the walls of class, race and gender. Jesus’ “table manners” oblige me to create domestic, national and global tables where everyone gets a seat and a healthy meal. So, at home I eat less meat and processed foods, buying more local, seasonal and fair-trade food. And in Congress I press for subsidies and laws protecting small and healthier farms, as well as workers and animals. Bon Appetit!

BIOLOGY

Carla Bonilla, Associate Professor

My academic interests are influenced by my passion for food. I love sour, fermented food and even more the microorganisms that make it so through fermentation. Wanting to learn about the microbes that ferment the food we eat, and the cultural practices that embrace fermentation, led me to build a course on it, Food Microbiomes. The collection of microorganisms (fungi, bacteria, viruses) that inhabit a defined environment is called a microbiome. The human microbiome is fun to teach because the dietary choices we make influence the health of our microbiome, which in turn can have effects on our health. So, what I like to eat found itself on my course syllabus and hopefully made students reflect on their own food choices.

HUMAN PHYSIOLOGY

Patrick Crosswhite, Associate Professor

Over the years, my relationship with food has been significantly impacted by both my background in physiology and teaching nutrition to students every spring semester. As I learn more about how the body functions, and engage with students in those conversations, I’ve focused on promoting nutrient-dense foods over restriction diets. I try to tell my students that if you are just focused on the calories, you are likely missing key nutrients, like vitamins or minerals, which over time may cause problems with your health. I also tell them that I’ve come to view my relationship with food as similar to other relationships in my life; it may not always be perfect, but you can always work to improve it.

LAW

Mary Pat Treuthart, Professor

I was raised in Peoria, Illinois – the heartland of America. “Supper” consisted of one identifiable meat protein, one starch (bread or potatoes), and one vegetable such as iceberg lettuce or anything that was limp and green. My mother believed that cottage cheese with a canned pineapple ring on top was dessert. Fast-forward to my living in New York City and San Francisco where I was exposed to food from across the globe. Teaching courses in comparative women’s rights further piqued my interest in international cuisine, especially after learning about the effort that women in many parts of the world put forth just to get the nutritional basics for their families. Thank you to Gonzaga for the opportunity to teach, research, study and volunteer in almost a dozen countries where my palate became much more varied and sophisticated. Now in Spokane, I appreciate the take-out meals from Feast World Kitchen with its offerings prepared by chefs from the refugee community.

COMMUNICATION & LEADERSHIP

Mike Hazel, Associate Professor

As part of two immersive courses offered in the School of Leadership Studies, some of our students spend time and engage with monastic communities. Both the Benedictine Monks of Valyermo, California (Roman Catholic), and Venerable Monastic Nuns of Sravasti Abbey in Newport, Washington (Mayahana Buddhist), eat at least one daily meal in silence, contemplating the gift of food and focusing on savoring the experience. Along with this experiential learning, I have also benefited immensely from considering the life, systems, structures, producers, energy and supply chains, among many other factors, that bring food to our tables. Taken together, I am left with a sense of deep gratitude and appreciation for all that I eat and share, and how very fortunate I am to have ample access to healthy foods.

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