March 24, 2014 Meeting
In her presentation, Teaching The Evolution of Food and Medicine with Bitters, Shoots and Roots Bitters cofounder Rachel Meyer will take us on a journey into the history of the foods we eat and the mechanisms of evolution at work during the domestication of plant species from around the world. Through a series of interactive tastings, you will be treated to a molecular, chemical, and archaeobotanical tour of the geography of food origins and the ways plants have traditionally been exploited before they became the foods we prize today. Some unusual suspects, experienced through bitters, cocktails, and tisanes, include arborvitae, bhut jolokia peppers, cannibal’s tomato, Chinese indigo, devil’s hand flower, hemp seeds, monkfruit, moringa, sambong, and tartary buckwheat.
Rachel is a plant evolutionary biologist and founder of Shoots and Roots Bitters, which manufactures bitters and educates people about a wide array of the most evolutionarily and ethnobotanically fascinating species found around the world. Many of these species are her or her business partners research subjects. She earned her doctorate through the City University of New York and New York Botanical Garden Plant Science PhD program, and is currently a postdoctoral researcher in New York University in the Purugganan lab, focusing on crop genomics. As part of Shoots and Roots, she teaches workshops on the Evolution of Food, Nature’s Pharmacy, The Science of Taste, and Botany for Bartenders. Her team also delivers their bitters and botanical science knowledge through flavor-sensory rich lectures and cocktail hours. She is from Los Angeles, but has lived in Harlem for 8 years, which is where the Shoots and Roots headquarters and kitchen space are.