I met Mintz once, at a conference on Spanish gastronomy in Seville. It was a curious affair, alternately academic and pop, riveting and boring, with a good deal of food-biz backbiting and professional jealousy abroad. In the midst of it all, though, Mintz—the William L. Straus, Jr. Professor of Anthropology at Johns Hopkins University—seemed to be having a terrific time, meeting new people, listening to other viewpoints (sometimes with more respect than they probably deserved), and, above all, obviously enjoying the good food and wine offered between sideshows and slide shows. He seemed simply pleased by what was being cooked and eaten.