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Food Psych #25: Culinary Class

Jude Webre Alex Van Buren food

This week we talk food and class (the socioeconomic kind) with Yahoo Food features editor Alex Van Buren and Columbia University History PhD candidate Jude Webre. Jude discusses his culinary upbringing in a poor Cajun family, and how his relationship to food changed when his father became a restaurant critic. Alex shares her journey from being a picky eater in a middle-class Irish-American family to becoming a food writer in New York City, where she's expected to know the finer points of foie gras and other fancy food.

Jude Webre is a writer, historian, and bass player hailing originally from South Louisiana, who has lived in Austin and NYC for significant periods; all have had their valuable if sometimes contradictory influences. He is currently a doctoral student in U.S. History at Columbia University, as well as a preceptor there in the Core Curriculum (teachin' Homer to 18 year olds). His historical writing has appeared in The Daily and Tropics of Meta. The bass remains his first love though, and he continues to record and perform with Two Dark Birds, Ben von Wildenhaus and others. He also helps to coordinate East Bank Music, a new-music series at the Church of the Ascension in Greenpoint.

Alex Van Buren is the Yahoo Food Features Editor, and has lived in New York City since 2000. Her writing has appeared in New York Magazine, Martha Stewart Living, InStyle, Bon Appetit and For a year, she hosted and co-produced a NY1 TV segment for called the New York CHOW Report, featuring some of the city's tastiest dishes, which was nominated for an International Association of Culinary Professionals award. She is obsessed with ice cream and Mexican food, and her most recent trip was to learn to make molé in Oaxaca. See her latest work at

Here's the article Alex wrote for Christy in 2009 about her parents' Irish-American culinary background.