Universiteit Leiden

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Lecture | Studium Generale

From Potato to Sushi

Thursday 13 December 2018
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden

Diversity of Global Culinary Culture

‘Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are’. This remark by the eighteenth-century French solicitor, politician and gourmet Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin is often considered to be a cliché; however, this does not make it any less true. Food is a universal, yet highly diverse, feature of the human condition. It is an essential way through which individuals and societies define themselves. Dishes we eat growing up often become the comfort food we seek as adults in times of frustration and stress. We proudly preserve culinary traditions and pass them on to the next generation. At the same time, cuisines are continuously changing, with new ingredients, technologies and practices successively replacing the old. The pace of culinary change has greatly accelerated during the last half a century, largely due to the intensified global interactions. In this lecture we will explore the processes of adoption and appropriation of foreign food, which have resulted in the diversification, rather than homogenization of global culinary culture.

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