A few years ago, Vagnoni – who once freelanced as a food writer – created a course at FIU for students to learn about the rhetoric of food, analyzing the messages society sends about food and the ways we are taught to think about eating.
“We look at a number of different contexts, including advertising, menus and restaurant designs,” says Vagnoni, who is teaching the course this semester. “The class is meant to help people decide their relationship with food. A lot of our conditioning and the rhetoric we see are grounded in deep personal connections related to family, emotion and comfort food. We see a lot of different rhetorical strategies that try to exploit that.”