On May 28, I attended the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation’s lecture at El Presidio de Santa Barbara entitled “Basque Culture, History, and the Study of Gastronomy.” In the talk, Dr. Iker Arranz of UCSB spoke about the philosophy of food – about thinking while we eat. According to him, we are no longer simply eating to consume, to feed ourselves, but to engage in an experience. He raised questions of eating and identity while establishing links between culture and gastronomy in the Basque Country.


Here are some of the exciting things Dr. Arranz has been doing over the last semester at USCB:

What classes have you taught as UC Santa Barbara, and what will you be teaching in the future?

I have been teaching Basque Culture, Basque Language (Levels from 101 to 103), Basque Cinema, Basque-Spanish Fantastic Cinema and Culinary Arts and Identity. I will be mainly teaching the same courses in the future, but we will might try to offer two classes on Culinary Arts and Identity for next year, it will depend on a few factors that we need to study during this summer though.
How did your Culinary Arts class go this last quarter?  

The class was awesome! Apart from the Chef I had 3 different scholars contributing to my class. I had Prof. Hertweck from UNR for one week. He gave 2 lectures for my students and another lecture for UCSB scholars and students. The feedback has been really good, and many students have been using these lectures in their papers. I also had Prof. Galfarsoro from Leeds University and Prof. Alvarez from UPV. They both gave lectures via internet to my students and they really enjoyed the experience. We have been using readings from these two lectures and the students had the chance to ask the authors about their ideas and writings, something that they really appreciated in my opinion. And finally, Chef Aingeru Etxebarria was teaching how to cook traditional and more elaborated “pintxos” to the students. The goal was to offer the chance to taste all the theory on culture and identity to my students and also try to change their habits with some healthy and tasty Basque creations.


Event at “El Presidio” with the Chef


Photo of Dr. Iker Arranz, former student at the Center for Basque Studies, photo courtesy of Rosie Sullivan

For more information and a summary of the event, check out Rosie Sullivan’s article: