Culinary Identities: Regional and National

AHA Session 10
Thursday, January 3, 2013: 1:00 PM-3:00 PM
Preservation Hall, Studio 7 (New Orleans Marriott)
Joyce Chaplin, Harvard University
The Audience

Session Abstract

Among the forms nation-building has taken place in terms of imagination and ideology is through identifying certain culinary traditions with national identity.  This is not limited to one or two iconic items (hot-dogs for the US, frites for Belgium).  It is more often a collection of regional specialties selected by the metropolis as representative.  This is the case with France and Italy where the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries saw a definition of a style of cooking related not to court, class, or region but representative of the nation.  In other cases, as in the US, regional traditions tended to yield to standardization and technological advances tended to diminish environmental constraints while at the same time industrialization and economic growth extinguished the habitats of regional specialties, ranging from terrapin to prairie chickens to redfish. The panel compares several instances of culinary national "traditions" and explores the assertion, preservation or reconstitution of regions and their cuisine (Perigord, Tuscany, New Orleans).

See more of: AHA Sessions