Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery

Synopsis: In this talk I will explore the strange world of vegetable acoustics, from the sounds that tell us how fresh a vegetable is when we tap it to the use of vegetables as musical instruments. The talk will cover:

  • The screams, groans and agonized poppings that trees make as their xylem columns break, and which root and leaf vegetables make as they dry out after harvesting.
  • Acoustic testing of vegetables, from the laboratory to the supermarket.
  • Vegetable music, with a demonstration by leading jazz saxophonist Nick Sorensen of the cucumber clarinet and the carrot flute and a video of the Vienna Vegetable Orchestra.
  • An after-dinner workshop in which members of the audience will be shown how to manufacture and play their own vegetable instruments.
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