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Eurasiatique A European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies Student Journal

The Food for Thought Edition Volume 1, Issue 1


Staff Editor-in-Chief

Laurie Drake

Managing Editor

Yoonhee Lee

Event Coordinator Finance Director Layout and Design Editors

Advisors

Ashton Osmak Alessandro Gemmiti Lindsay Parrott Laurie Drake Maeve Devitt-Tremblay Ashton Osmak Polina Osmerkina Rewa Oubari Robert Austin

Senior Lecturer, Centre for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies

Edith Klein

Program Advisor, Centre for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies

Alison Smith

Associate Professor, Department of History

Thank You The production of Eurasiatique would not have been possible without the help of a number of individuals and organizations. We would like to thank everyone who has helped make this endeavour possible.

Supporters

Hungarian Studies Program Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies Dean’s Student Initiative Fund Graduate Students Union


À la carte Eurasiatique Interviews

Using Food to Connect the Past with the Present: Eurasiatique Interviews Professor Alison K. Smith

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Engineering Food: Eurasiatique Interviews Professor Levente Diosady

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Book Reviews

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Kavita Bapat

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Christopher Kelly

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Lindsay Parrott

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Laurie Drake

Azerbaijan: Land of Fire –and Food

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Lindsay Parrott and Emily Leung-Pittman

Are you Hungary? Hungarians and their Food

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Maeve Devitt-Tremblay

Fast Food Will Save Italy (and the World?)

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Alessandro Gemmiti

Slow Food Will Save Italy (and the World?)

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Peter Bonetta

Conflict in a Cup: Coffee in the Balkans

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Rewa Oubari

Pasta and Pelmeni: Digesting Kyiv’s Ukraine

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Ashton Osmak

A ‘Basque’ketful of Taste: Fusion Cuisine in the Basque Region

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Kavita Bapat

Consuming Feminity: Representations of Women and Tea in Early Eighteenth-Century Poetry

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Emily Barrette

Döner Kebap & the German Imaginary: How depictions of translocal food on clothing intersect with national debates to define the ‘German’ space

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Emily Leung-Pittman

Bordeaux/Burgundy: A Vintage Rivalry By: Jean Robert Pitte

The Table Comes First: Family, France, and the Meaning of Food By: Adam Gopnik

The Geometry of Pasta By: Caz Hildebrand and Jacob Kenedy

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake By: Aimee Bender

Profiles

Features


From the Editor

Dear Readers,

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It was around this time last year that I decided to pursue an idea. I wanted to start a journal that examined the region of Europe, Russia, and Eurasia, in a way that was intelligent and academic, yet fun and accessible to the public. I wanted this journal to be broad in scope, and I wanted it to examine the region across time periods and disciplines. I instantly knew how I was going to do that: food! I have only recently come to discover the amazing and wide-ranging insights that food offers academics, thinkers, and well, people who just plain like to eat. Food is something that every nation, every time period, and every individual shares. It allows historians to develop better understandings of the daily lives of people who lived in the past; political scientists to understand the ways in which human needs are impacted by international relations, immigration, and trade agreements; and sociologists to gain insights into how cultural objects draw social and class boundaries. In short, food can tell us a lot!

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Working on this issue has not only allowed me to demonstrate the importance of studying food, but also has taught me so many things. I was transported to a sunny Italian village as Peter Bonetta and Alessandro Gemmitti battled out a place for slow and fast food in an increasing globalized world. I was swept away into Hungary’s rich past, which, as Maeve Devitt-Tremblay demonstrates, has left its mark on Hungarian cuisine. Overall, the articles in this issue present stories of food in different places and throughout time. As you read the journal, I hope that our discussion of food broadens your mind (as well as your taste buds), and that you become aware of the many ways that food can provide us with a more profound understanding of the world. I want to close this letter with special thanks to Yoonhee Lee, who not only provided the journal with excellent editorial support, but who also served as my pillar throughout this entire process. I also want to thank the Eurasiatique team and all of our writers and contributors, without whom this issue would not have been possible. I hope you enjoy reading Eurasiatique as much as I enjoyed creating it! Forks and knives,

Laurie Drake


Interview Alison K. Smith

Using Food to Connect the Past with the Present

Eurasiatique Interviews Professor Alison K. Smith Alison Smith is associate professor in the Department of History at the University of Toronto. Her early research focused on the production and consumption of food in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Russia, leading to several articles and a book, Recipes for Russia: Food and Nationhood under the Tsars (NIU Press, 2008). She has also contributed an article on national cuisines to a forthcoming Handbook of Food History, Jeffrey Pilcher, ed., to be published by Oxford University Press.

Alison Smith: For more than the first ten years of my academic career, food was the major focus of all my research. I did my first work that eventually led to my dissertation in 1995, and the book that came out of my dissertation (Recipes for Russia: Food and Nationhood under the Tsars) came out in late 2008. Throughout that period, I did research and wrote on a whole series of topics related to food and foodways. I worked in libraries and archives in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan’, and Helsinki, and wrote on subjects ranging from water supplies to peasant agricultural practices to a particular food writer in the 1840s who wrote under the pseudonym Doctor Puf. So, really, for most of those years, the study of food was the same thing as the study of Russian history for me.

Since 2005, I’ve also been working on a new project that doesn’t directly have anything to do with food. Initially it took a back seat to my work on food history, but for the past several years it has taken up most of my time. Even now, though, I continue to be associated with the study of food—I tend to be asked to present papers or provide comment at conferences when food is a subject, in part because more people are just now finally starting to do more work on the subject within Russian history. And I even still will continue to do more research and writing on food, as I’m able to do so—for example, I was just asked to take part in a conference panel on taste this fall, and so I’ll be revisiting some material I’ve already gathered, as well as looking into some new sources, to write that paper. E: What does the study of food bring to your research table? What does food show us that perhaps other sources cannot?

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Eurasiatique: Can you tell us a bit about your research? How do/did you integrate the study of food into your study of Russian history?

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She is now working on a project that examines social identities and social mobility in Imperial Russia, through an investigation of how individual Russians negotiated their soslovie (social estate) membership through interactions with local and central authorities. She is also taking advantage of her new Canadian location to think about Russia as a northern power, initially through co-teaching a course on, essentially, Arctic world history.


Interview Alison K. Smith AS: There’s a quote I really like from the editors of the volume Food and Cultural Studies—that national cuisines (which is one of the specific ways I’ve tended to look at food in history) suffer from “problematic obviousness.” (Bob Ashley, Joanne Hollows, Steve Jones and Ben Taylor, Food and Cultural Studies [London: Routledge, 2004], 76) By looking at the history of food, we can really challenge some of the things that seem “obvious” about national (or other!) histories, but which don’t necessarily hold up to scrutiny. To an extent, that’s what a lot of historians do, but I think there’s something about looking at food that’s particularly vital, and really makes people think about the way they think about the past and its connections to the present.

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E: What are some of the drawbacks (if there are any) of researching food?

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AS: A bit at random. I initially thought I’d write a dissertation about the early populist movements—the “going to the people” movement—in imperial Russia, but somewhat fell away from that by the time I actually got to the point that I had to start thinking about actual dissertation research. Literally one evening (at a bar), a friend said, “cooking’s a hot topic,” and it struck me as the obvious right choice for me. I went to my advisor, and he responded, “I’ve always wanted to know what the Russian peasant ate.” And so there I went.

By looking at the history of food, we can really challenge some of the things that seem “obvious” about national (or other!) histories, but which don’t necessarily hold up to scrutiny.

AS: I think there’s one real drawback (which is also an opportunity), and one that’s not terribly serious, and which is fading. The first is that when you set off to research “food”—which is exactly what I did for my dissertation—you quickly realize that there are so many possible ways to look at the topic, and so many possible sources to look at, that it can be very hard to narrow your study down to something actually doable. The second is that for a long time, and to a certain extent still, some scholars view the study of food as “soft,” or somehow not “real” history. I think that’s fading as more and more strong work is being done on topics related to the history of food, but it’s still a bit of an issue. That said, as far as I’m concerned, the best response to that is to do good research, and let people take it as it comes. E: As an academic, you define yourself predominantly as a Russianist. How is it that you stumbled upon food in your research?

E: Having spent a lot of time doing archival work in Russia, I am wondering if you could share a particularly memorable food experience with us.

AS: Oh, gosh. My first trip to Russia was in the fall of 1992. Most Russians, when they hear that, say something along the lines of, “oh, that was a hard year.” It really was—the stores tended to be fairly empty, though lots of stuff was showing up in open-air markets, somewhat at random. I totally stood in line for bread, and snapped up things when they showed up whether I needed or wanted them or not, just because who knew if they’d show up again? I was living in Krasnodar, which is near the Black Sea, and that meant that the markets were actually really pretty good—it’s a fairly agricultural region, so there were lots of vegetables available in September, when we got there. By December it was a different story. But the taste memory I most have from that year involved my first experience of food from the Caucasus. One of the markets had a literal hole in the wall way in the back. From it you could get lavash, which is a flatbread, that was, if you were lucky, so hot from the oven that you could barely touch it. It was amazing. Most of my diet from the time I discovered it was lavash, with adjik (a peppery paste) I bought from some woman at the market, and a side of Korean carrot salad (it’s a thing there).


Interview Levente Diosady

Engineering Food

Eurasiatique Interviews Professor Levente Diosady Levente L. Diosady is the professor of Food Engineering in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry at U of T. His research interests include oilseed processing, membrane processes, extrusion, advanced separation processes, and micronutrient fortification of food. He is the author of over 120 publications in refereed journals, including 17 patents. He supervised more than 75 graduate students. 12 of his students and PDF’s are professors on four continents.

Levante Diosady: I was trained as a chemical engineer, but spent my professional life specializing in food processing. The basic definition of food engineering is the application of chemical engineering principles to the large scale processing of food. My work has focused on edible oil products and also on extraction of proteins, and a very big part of my work focuses on third world development and the fortification of food. E: What brought you to the study of food? Have you always been interested in it? LD: A consulting engineering company hired me after I completed my PhD, and in consulting engineering you do whatever comes in the door. Through this work, I ac-

tually became an expert in edible oils. Then about eight years later one of my professors from the University of Toronto thought that food engineering would be a good addition to the department so I was invited to become a Professor. So I went from being interested over a period of time into becoming more and more involved in food, and once I was here of course I had to actually learn something about it. E: What do you think are some of the advantages of working with food in your particular field? LD: Basically, food is the single largest industry in the world. It accounts for roughly 25% of the world’s GDP. It is by far one of the world’s most exported products, and it is the largest employer in Canada. Over the last 50 years, food has become more centralized, industrialized, and more engineers are required to do this work. Even though it seems as if everybody wants to get away from processed foods, the fact remains that a percent-

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Eurasiatique: Many of our readers might not be from the physical sciences or engineering. I was wondering if you could explain the work that you do as an engineer with food.

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He is the recipient of the Canada Award for Business Excellence, the Professional Engineers of Ontario Engineering Medal the Eva Award of the Canadian Institute of Food Science and Technology, the KY Lo medal of the Engineering Institute of Canada and the Babcock-Hart Award of IFT. He is a Fellow of the Chemical Institute of Canada, the Canadian Institute of Food Science and Technology, the American Oil Chemists Society, International Academy of Food Science and Technology, The Hungarian Academy of Engineering and the Canadian Academy of Engineering. He is a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, and is a member of the Order of Ontario, the province’s highest civilian honour.


Interview Levente Diosady age of all the food we eat has not been prepared at home and is industrially processed. In the grand scheme, this means that we’ve witnessed the elimination of millions of people dying of hunger every year because food production in the world has increased to such an extent that all famines now are due to politics and distribution problems as opposed to production problems. In general, the quality of nutrition has gone up; for some people it has gone down. Obesity and diabetes problems come about from over consumption, which is a big problem. It’s a big social problem though, not just a technical one. E: Most people don’t intuitively think about the global/ macro-perspective of processed foods. How do you deal with their stigmatization?

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LD: Consumers can be very schizophrenic; they complain about processed foods but at the same time if you look at the figures, they indicate that despite all these complaints people are still buying processed foods. Consuming processed foods in North America is different though, we do it because of ignorance and poor choices but in the developing world they do it because there is no other choice. This is where the engineering work is very significant; here proper modern technology results in much increased food safety and quality. Most people think all food processing decreases quality, which is not true. In some cases you would not have enough variety without processed foods.

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E: Food is often relegated to the margins of the social sciences (which is hopefully changing.) Is this the case for scholars working in the physical sciences? LD: Scientists are usually very careful in defining their area of knowledge and expertise, so they rarely would comment on science stuff outside their expertise; but, there are two exceptions. Everybody feels entitled to talk about the environment and food. Often comments from scientists on food are totally ignorant because they don’t really have the basic scientific expertise for that. Food is very complex; it’s a very complex chemical system. In the engineering department, food is kind of a niche. But, my work on food in developing countries has brought a lot of publicity to the department, so maybe that will change. E: A few years ago, you were involved in creating the largest ice cream cake in Dundas Square. Can you tell me more about that experience? LD: I actually came to that by accident. Dairy Queen

wanted to celebrate their anniversary, and Dairy Queen’s PR people thought a big ice cream was a great idea. The problem isn’t so much in keeping the ice cream cold –there is so much of it that it will keep itself cold for many hours. The real problem was how to assemble something that large. There is actually only a small window of time during which you assemble the cake, ice it, decorate it, and then consume it. The other thing they didn’t realized, which was kind of funny, was how to get rid of it. So there was 10 tons, that’s 10000kg or about 1000 double or triple cones of ice cream to give away. We ended up giving out about 10% of the cake to people and the rest essentially went to food banks. But, this is the fluff. The important thing is the health of humanity both here and abroad and this is where food engineers can really make a huge impact. E: They say that home sickness begins with the food; so we were wondering what might be your strongest childhood memory of eating in Hungary? LD: Hungarians, like most East Europeans, pack a good lunch when they go on excursions or when they travel. This is one of my favorite memories. My mother was a teacher, and she had left to teach her course, so she was away. I was about six or seven, and my father took us out somewhere on the side of the road where they served these breaded chicken legs. There’s also foie gras, which is a basic Hungarian staple. E: Is there anything else that you want to add? LD: This is a very difficult type of interview because there are so many different levels of what we can talk about when we talk about food. There is the economics of food; there is the sociology of food; and there is the science and nutrition of food. Then there is engineer who applies all of these elements to create completely new products. Some of that is driven by greed and money, but some of it is also driven by genuine concern for the nutrition of the consumer. So you cannot blame the food companies for selling chips to the market; if you were not buying chips, the food companies would not make a single chip. It’s supply and demand. The food industry is very strong and only recently – in the last 10 to 15 years, has nutrition been a real concern. When it becomes a concern, companies immediately respond by, if nothing else, changing the tone of their advertising to meet the demand. But they also eventually changed their products. If what you could purchase from supermarkets has changed in the past 20 years, it is simply because the consumer wanted it to change.


Book Review

Reviewed by: Kavita Bapat Published by: University of California Press – Berkely, 2008

Jean-Robert Pitte’s Bordeaux/ Burgundy: A Vintage Rivalry is a fascinating consideration of the feud between two of France’s most world-renowned wine making regions. Bordeaux and Burgundy’s gastronomical personalities divide the two wine producing cultures and also fuel their common ambition for making the best wines in the world. A professor of geography and President of the University of Paris-Sorbonne, Pitte utilizes his considerable academic prowess to write a rich historical and geographical tapestry that both binds and separates these regions. What makes Pitte’s analysis stand out is the way in which he delves into the key roles played by medieval monks, dukes, and peasant vignerons in creating the reputations of Bordeaux and Burgundy and cementing the rivalry between them. One of the book’s highlights

is Pitte’s description of how both regions are influenced by the markets they have come to serve. Pitte presents an intriguing cultural argument underlying the wine trade, claiming that Bordeaux vintners conduct business in the characteristically efficient Anglo-Saxon manner, while Burgundians adopt a more emotional Mediterranean merchant economy approach. Thus, production in Bordeaux tends to be much larger and more uniform, while Burgundian wineries are smaller and reflect local variances. For example, the owners of many top châteaux in Bordeaux have traditionally been absent, relying on employees to do the majority of vineyard work, while Burgundian wineries are more likely to be small owner-managed businesses and maintained by the local farming community. It is clear that Pitte considers “terroir” and “technologie” as the most important universal elements in wine production. He is quick to note, however, that the physical environments that affect wine production in Bordeaux and Burgundy differ greatly. The book is organized into four chapters, which cover the historical backdrop of both wines, their markets and consumers, the physical environments their grapes

are grown in, and their respective incomparable natures. Of the book’s four chapters, Pitte’s most interesting analysis is saved for the third, “The Physical Environment.” Chapter Three is a lengthy essay on the various terroirs in France and the people who manipulate and manage them. Pitte concludes that Bordeaux wine is more popular, as its advantageous terroir permits larger production. In Bordeaux, for example, hot summer temperatures allow for grapes to ripen even on flat land, while in Burgundy, they can do so only if vineyards are terraced on a steep slope. Despite all the differences he cites, Pitte’s apparent aim in this work is to mend fences between Bordeaux and Burgundy. In doing so, he accomplishes the difficult task of striking a middle ground in one of the world’s fiercest wine debates. Pitte’s ultimate message is that both regions have more in common than they would like to admit, a common theme in French food culture. For example, Pitte claims that both regions are intertwined by their origins as both owe a debt to foreigners, namely the Romans, who introduced France to viticulture. Burgundy/Bordeaux: A Vintage Rivalry gives the reader a detailed look at what makes these two re-

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Bordeaux/Burgundy: A Vintage Rivalry By: Jean-Robert Pitte

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Book Reviews


Book Review gions distinctive and how the interaction between a region’s people, landscape, and culture impacts their wines. The book is dense with text so readers should be warned that similar to a good pinot noir from either region, this tome cannot be consumed in one sitting, rather each chapter must be sipped and savoured in order to be properly appreciated. Though this book is extremely well researched, it is desperately in need of good maps to orient the reader and provide a better understanding of the regions discussed. Nevertheless, Jean Robert-Pitte succeeds in weaving a rich history of Bordeaux and Burgundy wines with unique insights into their origins, contrasts, similarities, and rivalries. This is a great book for the reader who enjoys history, France, and good wine.

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The Table Comes First: Family, France, and the Meaning of Food By: Adam Gopnik

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Reviewed by: Christopher Kelly Published by Vintage Canada – Toronto, 2012

In his compelling book, The Table Comes First: Family, France, and the Meaning of Food, Adam Gopnik undertakes a sweeping survey of

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how food is consumed, imagined, and represented in the West. At the outset of his work, the author states, somewhat hyperbolically, “Civilization is mostly the story of how seeds, meats, and ways to cook them travel from place to place.” This quotation encapsulates Gopnik’s perspective on the meaning of food and its fundamental importance not only to survival, but also to the formation of identities and the organization of life, both at the individual and societal levels. The author approaches the topic of food from anthropological, historical, philosophical, and sociological perspectives, interweaving the narrative with personal anecdotes. As a result, readers receive an eclectic and thoughtful reflection on the topic. The work is arranged temporally as a meal at a restaurant, starting from sitting down at the table to the coffee-capped conclusion. Gopnik opens and concludes his work with references to Jacques Decour, a French-Jewish professor of German language who was executed by the Nazis during the Occupation. In the face of his executioners, Decour found solace in the enjoyment of his last meal and its associations with family and community. His discussion of Decour highlights the elevating function of food. In between the first and last courses, Gopnik presents ideas that range from the simple to the sublime, from how to make an omelet to a discussion of

dining as a form of fellowship and quasi-sacred ritual, as well as the choice of food as indicators of aesthetic and social distinctions. The most profound of Gopnik’s discussions are not those directly regarding food as a thing in and of itself, but rather those relating to the social customs, distinctions, and functions surrounding the act of dining. An ardent Francophile, Gopnik traces contemporary understandings of the form, function, and rituals of food to France, or at least, the imagined and romanticized myth of France. Gopnik argues that the aesthetics and structure dictated by French culture and cuisine are responsible for modern institutions and objects such as the restaurant, the recipe book, and ultimately the elaborate social rituals that have shaped the way people consume food and conceptualize the meal. In an interesting combination of lament for a fading past and enthusiasm for the future, the author traces the ebb of old forms of dining and conceptions of cooking and the emergence of the movement Le Fooding of the new millennium. It is Gopnik’s judicious treatment of these culinary movements that makes The Table Comes First an instructive as well as a delightful read. Gopnik’s text can be faulted for being cluttered with disembodied and rather cursory references to diverse theorists, such as Foucault, Bourdieu, and Habermas, with-

Terroir

Pronunciation: /ter-wahr, terwar/ The characteristic taste and flavour imparted on agricultural products by the environment in which it is produced. Origin: French – literally, ‘soil, land’

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The Geometry of Pasta By: Caz Hildebrand and Jacob Kenedy Reviewed by: Lindsary Parrott Published by: Quirk Books – Philadelphia, 2010

In their stylish and passionate collaboration, graphic designer Caz Hildebrand and chef Jacob Kenedy present in The Geometry of Pasta a cookbook unlike any other. With its bold prints, modern take on Italian recipes, accessible layout, and

amusing vignettes, the book bridges genres by providing something for both enthusiastic cooks and serious readers. Hildebrand, who was drawn to the geometry and visual impact of pasta, conceived the idea for the book. For a culinary perspective, Hildebrand combined talents with Kenedy, who provided delicious recipes and a knowledgeable look into the history and utility of pasta shapes. These valuable insights are the shining star of this book, elevating it from the standard cookbook to a scholarly gem. Kenedy begins by situating the reader within the history of pasta, explaining variations stemming from Italian regional differences in wealth. The historically wealthier North is known for its rich egg pasta, which lends itself to small shapes and is often paired with rich meats. Conversely, the less wealthy South used semolina for its longshaped pasta creations and added local vegetables to bring dishes to life. Following this overview, there are a few quick tips, to bring the reader to the essence of the book: the pasta shapes. Complementing these shapes are Kenedy’s historical depictions of the shapes’ origins, though some get more attention than others. Tales, like that of capelli d’angelo (angel hair), originally made by nuns during the Renaissance to feed to new mothers, or of tortellini (miniaturized hats), allegedly made in honour of Lucrezia Borgia’s bellybutton by an innkeeper after spying it through a keyhole, add a unique dimension to the book. Other shapes, Kenedy notes, are inspired by industrial parts, such as ruote (wheels) and fusilli (spindles), or by nature, like farfalle (butterflies) and cocciolette (sea snails). These stories, along with the interjections of a variety of languages, bring the shapes to life and give the reader a fuller understanding

of pasta. Likewise, Kenedy’s clever and humourous style entertains the reader, drawing in even the most serious cook, who will undoubtedly linger over each page before diving into the recipes. The first thing that jumps off the page with each shape is Hildebrand’s striking black-and-white patterns. Beautifully organized and compelling, the graphics draw on a different physical aspect of each shape. Some bring the reader’s attention to their symmetry, while others highlight unusual angles. The unmistakable merit of Hildebrand’s designs is their ability to elevate Kenedy’s work. They highlight the structural components described in Kenedy’s stories, as well as the efficiency of the shapes: ridges to hold sauce or the width of an opening to allow for even cooking. These graphic representations offer an alternative perspective on how to view pasta and give the cookbook a new level of modernism. The recipes themselves showcase Kenedy’s writing. They express an admirable knowledge and passion for Italy and pasta; however, they are not for the timid. Though classics like fettuccini alfredo and macaroni and cheese are included, other recipes appear intimidating for the novice chef. Ingredients such as wild boar, lambs’ brains, monksbeard, and bone marrow demand a level of expertise in the kitchen and a courageous palate. Nonetheless, for those brave enough to face Kenedy’s challenge, the reward of a savoury dish that oozes Italy is worth the work. What is most impressive about this book is its ability to blend the literary, culinary, and visual worlds into something applicable to everyone, much like pasta itself. Whether you’re wealthy or poor, vegetarian or carnivorous, or from just about anywhere in the world, pasta is ac-

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out adequate discussions of their systems of thought. One gets the impression that such references, which only add a sense of claustrophobia to an already broad topic, are included for the purpose of enhancing the writer’s academic credibility; however, it is important to note that Gopnik makes no claim to academic writing, and that such references can be interpreted as invitations to the reader to perceive food through more complex lenses. The above criticism notwithstanding, Gopnik’s discussion of Thorstein Veblen’s theory of taste and the concept of conspicuous consumption provides insight into the role of food in differentiating social class. This foray into Veblen’s theory highlights that the acts of eating and dining have a function beyond mere survival—they mark the distinction between existing and living. Gopnik’s masterful survey on food and its meaning is compulsory reading for historians, philosophers, gastronomes, and general readers alike – one will never look at food and the constellation of social rituals it creates the same way again.

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Book Review


Book Review

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cessible. This book is a reminder of the time and effort that went into crafting each aspect of our favourite pasta shapes. Pasta is more than bowties and elbows; it’s a labour of love, a mathematical wonder, and the perfect comfort food. Overall, Kenedy and Hildebrand are successful in creating a cookbook for the modern age. Their eye for detail and thoughtful design, including helpful hints like complementary recipes and sauces, contribute to making the book simple to navigate, despite the intimidating recipes. Though the strong, schematic-like prints and witty writing may turn off the traditional cookbook user, who may prefer glossy pictures and basic text, these elements add undeniable style. It’s hard to say how often The Geometry of Pasta will be cracked open in the kitchen, but there’s no doubt that those looking for an inspirational read will not be able to resist gravitating toward it on the bookshelf. Its place on the bookshelf is left to the readers’ imaginations.

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The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake By: Aimee Bender Reviewed by: Laurie Drake Published by: Arrow Books – Toronto, 2010

Rose Edelstein leads a quiet suburban life: she has friends, goes to school, and spends a lot of her spare time being bored. Rose’s father is a quiet, private, and hardworking man, while her mother is passionate, openhearted, and emotional. Rose’s older brother Joseph is an intelligent reclusive character who prefers books and math problems to human interaction. Rose’s

seemingly normal life is overturned on her ninth birthday when Rose’s mother bakes her a lemon cake, and Rose discovers something magical: she can taste her mother’s emotions in the cake. Rather than tasting lemon, sugar, and flour, Rose tastes “absence, hunger, spiraling, hollows.” Aimee Bender’s The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake traces Rose’s life through childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood, paying particular attention to Rose’s magical relationship to food and her family’s quiet and hidden dysfunctions. As the book’s plot unravels, the reader learns that Rose’s mother is drowning in an unfulfilling marriage, while her father’s narrow understanding of human emotion blinds him. Bender intertwines two narratives: Rose’s relationship with food and her brother’s reclusion. As Joseph grows up, he gradually retreats from social interaction, trying to blend into the background until he literally becomes a piece of furniture. Rose’s ability to taste emotions combine with her brother’s metamorphosis and create a setting that is firmly grounded in our world, yet borders a magical and intangible reality. Bender successfully challenges readers to broaden their definition of reality and to see magic within the mundane. I was drawn to The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake because Bender used food as a lens to understand human emotions. Food touches upon all five of the human senses: touch, taste, smell, texture, and sound. Yet, food is often more than physical; it is emotional. The term “emotional eating” has become synonymous with cookies, cake, ice cream, and a variety of other snack foods. Rose’s ability to taste people’s emotions in their food pushes food past the five senses and encourages the reader to be more open about how we experience food.

Beyond emotions, Rose can also taste where food comes from. This concept, which borrows heavily from the French term terroir, implies that the soil, climate, and space in which food is produced impart something to the very food we consume. In this sense, Bender suggests that the dishes we eat are more than the ingredients we combine; rather, a dish comprises all the environments and people involved in producing the food we purchase for cooking and consumption. Overall, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake was disappointing. Contrary to the book’s title, which draws a strong connection between food and emotion, the book focuses more on constructing and describing a magical reality dressed in the garb of the real world. By using the human senses as the entry point into her magical reality, Bender successfully blurs the boundaries between the normal and the paranormal. There were many moments in the book when I found myself thinking it was perfectly normal for Rose to taste emotions. However, Bender’s desire to create a seamless magical reality detracted from the richest storyline: Rose’s intriguing and complex relationship with food and the analytical windows that this relationship opened up for her character and the reader.


Azerbaijan

Photo Credit: Lindsay Parrott

Profile Azerbaijan

Photos by: Lindsay Parrott and Emily Leung-Pittman Text by: Lindsay Parrott In January 2013, five students from the University of Toronto, including myself, went to Azerbaijan to pursue academic research. While we were there, we were able to take in many aspects of Azerbaijani culture, including dance, architecture, and dress. One of the most significant features of this culture we experienced was food. Having the good fortune to taste food from both the city, in Baku, and rural areas, specifically Lankaran, we were presented with a wide range of the delicious food Azerbaijan has to offer. Meals frequently included lamb, fish, fried potato, pilaf, bread, greens, eggplant dolma, pomegranates, and tea. Desserts included sweets, such as the pastry shakerbura, which is filled with almond or hazelnut. Thyme, saffron, and sumac were used to enhance flavours. Frequently served family-style, dishes were set in the middle of the table, reinforcing the idea of food as a means of coming together and sharing – an important philosophy to Azerbaijanis. Most importantly, there should be no leftovers!

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Land of Fire – and Food

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An eye-catching Caspian kutum (whitefish) with walnut stuffing and assorted garnishes steals the show at lunch in Lankaran.


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Photo Credit: Lindsay Parrott

Profile Azerbaijan

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One restaurant we frequented during our time in Baku was Chanaq Qala. Rather than having a dining room with many tables, the restaurant has individual rooms for each table, each with a different theme to allow for a more cozy and private meal. During our first meal there, a huge cart of meat passed by our door. Running after it, I was gladly welcomed into the restaurant’s kitchen. The staff were friendly and eager to have a visitor see them at work, posing for pictures without being prompted. The kitchen was relatively large and had vast steel tables covered in lamb for prepping and potatoes for skewering. Rows of kebabs could be seen waiting to be cooked near the grills along the back wall and in one corner stood an impressive bread kiln. Seeing these happy cooks drove home the joy food can bring and the love that went into every meal.


Opposite: There’s no napping in the kitchen as staff get busy prepping the meat. Left: A cheerful butcher uses a hatchet to prepare a thick piece of lamb for dinner service.

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Bottom: The welcoming kitchen staff at Chanaq Qala gladly break from skewering potatoes to pose for a group photo.

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Photo Credit: Lindsay Parrott

Photo Credit: Lindsay Parrott

Profile Azerbaijan


Photo Credit: Emily Leung-Pittman

Profile Azerbaijan

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Bold fruit bowls and full platters set the stage for the myriad of courses to come.

Entertaining is important for Azerbaijanis, in which food plays a large role. During our visit to Lankaran, we were treated to a never-ending meal with city officials. Seated at a long wooden table, six chairs down each side, the table was full when we arrived. Elaborate fruit bowls, pomegranates, chicken and lamb, tomatoes, celery, and a variety of greens and sauces covered the table from end to end. The star of this course was the Caspian kutum with a walnut stuffing. This initial course was followed by more fish, then chicken, as assorted rice dish that included thyme and saffron, and finally a rice pilaf. This scrumptious meal was followed by a brief trip to a tea house where we enjoyed Lankaran’s famous tea and lemons; and a variety of jellies and nuts. Needless to say, Azerbaijanis never let their guests go hungry and this meal was no exception.

Photo Credit: Lindsay Parrott

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Stained glass lamps illuminate a succulent six-foot long platter of grilled meat and vegetables at Sultan Restaurant in the heart of downtown Baku.


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Students relax into dinner and dancing at Pencere Restoran after a long day’s work.

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Photo Credit: Emily Leung-Pittman

Profile Azerbaijan


Photo Credit: Emily Leung-Pittman

Profile Azerbaijan

Left: A beautifully carved watermelon serves as art and food at an Azerbaijani wedding reception. Right: A bright bowl of pomegranates is never far from reach at any meal.

Photo Credit: Lindsay Parrott

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Due to its warm climate, Azerbaijan has become notable for its succulent fruits and vegetables. Most celebrated is the pomegranate, considered by many to be a symbol of good luck, abundance, and fertility. Home to over 100 different species, pomegranates are an important part of Azerbaijan’s agricultural landscape. They have become so popular, the Pomegranate Festival is held in the city of Goychay every fall. Another prominent fruit in Azerbaijan is the watermelon. Sweetest when picked in August, watermelon can be seen for sale in vast quantities at streetside markets. Watermelons in Azerbaijan can be eaten alone, served with cheese, or cooked into tasty preserves. Watermelons are also used to read your fortune. Before eating, Azerbaijanis say you should cut the top off and quarter it. Imagine whether the four pieces will fall skin-side up, down, or a combination of both. Finally, make a wish and throw the four pieces of watermelon into the air. If they land in the combination you imagined, your wish will come true!

Photo Credit: Lindsay Parrott

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Roasted tomato and potato skewers wait to be served in the Chanaq Qala kitchens.


Profile Hungary

Are you Hungary? Hungarians and their Food

Paprika peppers are left out to dry before they are crushed and turned into paprika

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The relationship between Italy and Hungary during the Renaissance period contributed to both diplomatic and culinary developments. During the reign of King Matthias Cornivus from 1458-1490, Hungarians were introduced to the culinary culture of the Italian Renaissance. King Matthias’ marriage to Queen Beatrice, daughter of King Ferdinand of Naples, resulted in the adoption of Italian culinary traditions into his own court. King Matthias and Queen Beatrice’s wedding was not only a diplomatic moment but also a turning point for Hungarian cuisine. Italian chefs and pastry makers were brought over from Naples to prepare the wedding feast. Ingredients such as pasta, pastry, cheese, ice cream, pepper, nutmeg, ginger, anise, chestnuts, ca-

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hen you think of Hungarian cuisine a few things come to mind: goulash, strudel, and sauerkraut are likely high up on that list. Although these dishes have come to represent modern Hungarian cuisine, many of their most basic ingredients, including the onion and paprika, are not historically Hungarian. A combination of Italian, Turkish, Austrian, and Slavic influences have helped create and define Hungarian cuisine. Looking at the exchange of ingredients and recipes, Hungary’s relationship with its neighbours is more nuanced than statecraft and surface bravura would indicate.

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Photo Credit: Creative Commons

By: Maeve Devitt-Tremblay


Profile Hungary

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Photo Credit: Creative Commons

pers and dill were all imported to Hungary. Hungarians were tasting many of these ingredients for the first time. Through King Matthias Cornivus’s royal marriage to Queen Beatrice of Naples, one of Hungary’s most rudimentary ingredients was introduced from Italy: the onion. The arrival of onions from Italy was of the

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the end of a unified Hungary. In 1526, Hungary was divided into three parts: Transylvania, a northwestern Hapsburg-ruled territory, and the central, most fertile region ruled by the Ottoman Empire. Although this fragmentation presented a divided and conquered land, new occupiers meant new ingredients. The Turks were particularly resented oppressors, but the arrival of Turkish spices has had an enduring impact on Hungarian cuisine. The Turks introduced Hungarians to their single most defining ingredient: paprika. Paprika’s integration into Hungarian culinary culture was slow. The Turks brought peppers, which in turn provided paprika. Chefs and culinary critics regard paprika as an ingredient that demonstrates the uniqueness of Hungarian cuisine. It was and still is added to stews, soup and meat dishes. Goulash, a famous Hungarian stew, is heavily seasoned with paprika. According to Chef Magyar, the base of a savoury Hungarian meal consists of paprika, pork fat, and onions. In The Great Hall is a market in Budapest where locals (and tourists) can buy ingredi- fact, pork fat concentrates the flavour of ents for most Hungarian dishes paprika better than any other type of fat. Turkey’s culinary influence extends most important and lasting culinary influence. Onions, beyond paprika. The Turks also introduced Hungarians which are now a rudimentary vegetable in Hungarian to philo pastry, which was integrated into Hungarian cooking, were precious and rare at the time. In a letter pastry making. Strudel was created from the new thin from Queen Beatrice to her sister Elenora, she writes, pastry and was embraced by Austrian and Hungarian “Thanks for the onions and garlic sent me from Fer- bakers. The Turks also introduced Hungarians to pita rara. The King could not have been more pleased if they bread or langós. Furthermore, the Turks were sophistihad been pearls.” cated gardeners and imported into Hungary the tomato The link between Hungarian and Italian cooking is and corn, vegetables that they had attained through the still present today. Chef Arpi Magyar, who has worked New World. The addition of new vegetables allowed in several Italian restaurants in Toronto, admits that he Hungarian culinary traditions to expand. In addition, has occasionally altered a traditional Hungarian dish prior to Ottoman rule, Hungarians traditionally stuffed slightly and transformed it into Italian fare. For exam- cabbage. The arrival of new vegetables and flavours ple, a typical Hungarian stew of sour cream, veal, calf permitted the Hungarians to combine old habits with liver, onion, and bacon on top of Italian pasta instead of new flavours. Stuffed peppers and eggplants are two Hungarian egg noodles is suddenly Milanese veal stew. According to Chef Magyar, seasonings are very similar in Italy and Hungary, particularly onion and garlic. The addition or removal of paprika often determines the Hungarian versus Italian character of a dish.

The Turks introduced Hungarians to their single most defining ingredient:

Paprika enters the story of Hungarian cuisine after 1526— an important date, which marks

paprika.


Photo Credit: Creative Commons

Profile Hungary

For many years, Austrian culture influenced the Hungarian aristocracy. Hungarian nobles spoke German and usually lived in Vienna. When Austrians developed a taste for French cuisine and customs, the Hungarian aristocracy also began to appreciate all things French, especially their food. The Austrians introduced Hungarians to a leavening agent for crepes: seltzer water. Although the French may have inspired crepes, the addition of seltzer water to crepe batter is unique to Austria and Hungary. During this period Viennese and Hungarian pastries became famous; strudel and tortes were particular favourites in Hungary. Austria introduced new ingredients to Hungary; mustard, schnitzel, and egg noodles were all imported from the Austrian kitchen. Dumplings, dough wrapped around a filling, either sweet or savoury, also became popular in Hungary during Hapsburg rule. One of Hungary’s most popular dumplings is the Marillenknödel (apricot dumpling). Originally from Vienna, these dumplings consist of a whole apricot covered in batter and then fried. Marillenknödel can still be found today in Hungary and Austria. In Transylvania, where Austrians and Turks were not present, culinary identity was balanced between Hungarians and Slavs. It is often difficult to differentiate Hungarian and Slavic dishes. Serbs and Hungarians both have recipes for bean soup, or Pasulj, which combines white beans, vegetables and sausage, and both the Hungarians and the Serbs believe that the dish is rightfully theirs. Cabbage rolls provide another example of a

meal common to Slavic and Hungarian tables. Both Slavic and Hungarian recipes call for a cabbage leaf rolled around a meat filling. The Hungarians, however, tend not to add tomatoes to their cabbage rolls, whereas people in most Slavic countries do. A particularly contentious food is sauerkraut cooked with meat. The typical cabbage and pork dish comes from an especially complex territory in Hungary, co-habited by people of both Slavic and Magyar heritage; both groups believe that the area is their rightful territory. Would the sauerkraut be a Magyar or Slavic dish? Chef Magyar believes that while the Slavs might beg to differ, sauerkraut is Hungarian. Sauerkraut is one of many ambiguous dishes in the Hungarian lexicon; its identity cannot be clearly defined. The evolution of the Hungarian palate communicates royal alliance, conquest, and migration. Outlining the history of Hungarian cuisines provides a more nuanced understanding of Hungary’s encounters with its allies and its enemies.

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recipes still popular today, which date back to the Ottoman Empire.

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Hungarian goulash is one of the most famous and most coooked dishes both within and outside Hungary’s borders.


Profile Italy

Fast Food Will Save Italy (and the World?)

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By: Alessandro Gemmiti

n international movement founded in Italy by Carlo Petrini in 1986, the Slow Food movement is often presented as an alternative to fast food which celebrates the meal as a pleasure rather than a necessity. The movement originally strived to preserve traditional and regional Italian cuisine while encouraging the use of regional and local produce and traditional farming and cooking methods. It has since expanded globally and local chapters now exist in more than 132 countries worldwide. Despite its humble origins, the Slow Food movement has quickly become associated with gourmands and bon vivants, who have remained relatively unaffected by soaring global crop prices and systemic food shortages. As some critics of the movement have argued, “Who cares about the perfect mushroom when people are going hungry?” Sure, slow food tastes great, but with a global population nearing nine billion by mid-century and low organic farming yields compared to standard farming, the worldwide Slow Food movement risks turning more forests into farmland. According to a recent Food and Agricultural Organization publication, the world will need to double food production by 2050 to meet increased global food demand. This pressure is coming at a time of global recession when many countries are seeing a drop in their average disposable income. In Italy, where the Slow Food movement originated, a high unemployment rate that reached 11.2 percent in early 2013 and the tough economic measures taken by the Italian government in order to contain the public deficit are the main factors sending the average Italian disposable income into decline. Due to these dismal economic circumstances, those Italians who are employed are pressed to work longer hours, and many are unwilling or unable to spend the exorbitant sums that are demanded for many Slow Food ingredients. It is in these dire straits that Italians can turn to their fast food heritage to find a solution to some their current problems. The fast food movement in Italy has much deeper historical roots than the opening of the first McDonalds in 1986. One of the original Italian fast foods was the pizza, which was bought and sold by the urban poor

on the streets of eighteenth-century Naples. Pizza consumption was an integral part of the “culture of poverty,” as the majority of the city’s residents lacked proper cooking facilities and therefore had to buy “fast food” on the streets. Pizza was inexpensive and relatively easy to make, and its basic ingredients could be combined in diverse ways to achieve a variety of different tastes. Despite its humble origins, pizza soon became one of Italy’s national dishes. Other staples of Italian fast food cuisine include the espresso. Created in the early twentieth century by Luigi Bezzera, the espresso is the epitome of fast food; indeed, the word espresso in Italian literally means fast. Espresso is intended to be drunk within 15 seconds of its brewing in order to preserve its flavour. This explains why many Italians choose to drink their espresso standing at a bar as opposed to waiting for it to be served to them at a table. Pasta is another example of a traditional Italian fast food dish. Although cooking times vary, the majority of pasta dishes can be cooked in less than 15 minutes in a near infinite number of ways. Throughout the country a number of pasta bars are popping up which specialize in serving tasty and healthy types of pasta to urbanites on their way to or from the office. Similar services have spread to other food types, including Mozzarella and Prosciutto bars which serve a variety of these staples to customers. Though not fitting the traditional description of fast food, these dishes do not fall under the category of slow food either. Instead, they are healthy compliments to a fast paced lifestyle. I am not arguing that Italians should replace Slow Food with a greasy hamburger and french fries, or even McDonald’s new McItaly for that matter (a hamburger made with artichoke spread, asiago cheese, and lettuce, all produced in Italy). Instead, I am encouraging Italians to give fast food a chance, as it can provide a healthy alternative to the Slow Food movement while simultaneously addressing the problem of global food shortages and rising food prices. In doing so, Italians have the potential to overturn the current stigma of fast food and provide consumers with delectable dishes that don’t strain their wallets or their waistlines.


Profile Italy

Slow Food Will Save Italy (and the World?)

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the hosting farm. While enjoying the sunset (yes, the tables are all set outdoors!) guests are then treated to a four- or six-course meal and wine pairing prepared by a talented group of travelling chefs, using only the products from the hosting farm. Guests are also able to watch the chefs as they prepare their meal, allowing them to develop a closer connection to the methods used to prepare their food. The idea is to bring together consumers and producers at the same table while emphasizing the profound connection between food, conviviality, and identity. Cavolfiori a Merenda thus represents much more than a dining club; it reflects the core values of the Slow Food movement by encouraging consumers not only to question where the food on the dinner table came from and how it was cultivated, but also how it was prepared and by whom. My readings of the Slow Food movement made me realize that Slow Food has endured over the years through a hardened dedication to a number of core values. One cannot speak about Slow Food’s success without first mentioning the passion, persistence, and charisma of its founder, Carlo Petrini. Whether he is whisking around Italy, Europe, or beyond to attend conferences, give speeches, sit on advisory panels for European governments, or unrelentingly sponsoring the establishment of new convivia, Petrini functions as an inspirational figurehead. Slow Food has also cleverly

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t is of little surprise that the Slow Food movement was founded in Italy, a country rooted in the culture of eating well and in good company. Slow Food was founded in 1989 in Bra, Italy, by Carlo Petrini. Continuing the tradition of counter-cultural and anti-consumerist movements of the 1960s and 1970s, the movement’s main goals are fivefold: (1) placing emphasis on the pleasure of food consumption and learning how to appreciate different recipes and tastes; (2) sustaining the education of taste as a defence against poor quality, food fraud, and the standardization of meals; (3) safeguarding local cuisines, traditional production systems, and vegetable and animal species at risk of extinction; (4) sustaining a new model of agriculture that is cleaner and less intensive; and (5) defending biodiversity and peoples’ right to food sovereignty. Since its inception, Slow Food has become an internationally-recognized movement with more than 100,000 members across 130 countries. In recent years, Slow Food has met with opposition, particularly following a wave of critical articles in the publications Food, Culture and Society and Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture. Critics have accused Slow Food of being an exercise in privilege, nostalgia, and reactionary attitudes toward modern technology. Regardless of these criticisms, Slow Food has consistently expanded its membership base, established new convivia (local offices) in far-off lands, and hosted hundreds of thousands of people at its internationally-publicized events. From this paradox stemmed my inspiration for this article. How then does Slow Food continue to flourish? Speaking informally over lunch with an old friend – a recent graduate of the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Bra and a former personal assistant to Carlo Petrini – I was intrigued by his passing mention of an association that was founded by a handful of his former classmates. Established in Turin, Piedmont’s largest city, Cavolfiori a Merenda (literally translated, “cauliflower for snack”) is a cultural association that travels across Italy by organizing culinary tours. As the members travel from town to town, guests lucky enough to be seated at their table are treated to an aperitivo in the early evening and a chance to explore the premises of

Photo Credit: Creative Commons

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By: Peter Bonetta

An inscriptionfound wall surrounding a restaurant in Santorini


Profile Italy activated sensory and intellectual pleasure in order to command strong value choices. The movement seeks to de-emphasize the notion of eating as a physiological necessity and promote the idea of eating as a cultural, social, and political act. Yes, as the saying goes, “you are what you eat,” but Slow Food represents more than that: food consumption is a way of relating to the world, of becoming one with the natural environment in which one resides, and of becoming a unique and integral component of society.

too thin by almost continually expanding its mandate. This flaw, however, is also one of Slow Food’s noblest traits. Though the movement may not always produce visibly tangible and measurable results, it possesses significant power to bring about normative reconfiguration. By simply encouraging a food shopper in North America, for example, to stop at the tomato counter of their local supermarket and think twice about purchasing cheaper, out-of-season tomatoes grown in China and opting instead to spend a little extra on locally produced tomatoes, Slow Food has done its job. Despite amassing an impressive membership base and a global network of partners, Slow Food has not proven to be immune to continually advancing globalizing forces. Given that Slow Food is a nonprofit organization, financial resources remain a considerable hurdle, especially in times of global economic downturn. In an ironic and rather discouraging turn of fate, Slow Food has at times sought out financial support from corporations, which the movement itself fights against. The industrialization of the means of production and the promulgation of material pop-culture, both off-shoots of globalization, continue to dominate our consumption behaviours. For now, we remain unwilling to part with the conveniences proffered by industrialized food production, and we are likely to do so for as long as the human species remains on this planet. The real strength of Slow Food in the industrialized world, however, is most evident not in its ability to solve world hunger but in its impact on a grass roots level: encouraging consumers to question where the food that they eat comes from and what impact it has had on the community of where it was produced; influencing both normative and institutional change on an individual and local basis; and inspiring new generations to maintain local identities and develop deeper connections to their natural environment. At the grass roots level lies the real strength of Slow Food.

Slow Food seeks to de-emphasize the notion of eating as a physiological necessity and

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promote the idea of eating as a cultural, social, and political act.

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In recent years, Slow Food has also embarked on a successful rebranding campaign aimed at addressing the criticism it received in the early 2000s. For one, Slow Food has shied away from using revolutionary and extremist tactics and rhetoric that could potentially alienate more moderate segments of the global population. Instead, it has adopted a more passive tone, emphasizing moderation rather than complete upheaval and complete abstinence. Slow Food has, for example, embraced the necessity of the capitalist system; however, it promotes the achievement of different ends through different means. Second, Slow Food has shown that the ‘right to pleasure’ is not an elitist appropriation of consumption behaviour. Instead of being equated with gluttony or the excessive consumption of gourmet food items, as many critics of Slow Food have argued, the ‘right to pleasure’ means that one should derive pleasure from consuming less food, but food that is of higher quality, locally produced, and socially and environmentally sustainable. It is meant to trigger the pursuit of a global common good – from the preservation of traditions and biodiversity, to more equal resource distribution among countries. Some more moderate critics would say that if the Slow Food movement is guilty of one thing, it is the fact that it spreads itself


Profile The Balkans

Conflict in a Cup: Coffee in the Balkans

A cup of Turkish coffee

Although coffee is a site of conflict, coffee can also be a site of understanding and cooperation, reflecting the similarities of the region. Despite different religions and languages, all agree there is nothing like a good cup of strong coffee. Bosnian Muslim women shared coffee with their Catholic neighbours cementing neighbourly solidarity and friendship. And in times of difficulty, coffee can settle a whole range of problems, a sentiment echoed in Kosovo’s conception of the macchiato as a cure to all ailments: “macchiato provides employment opportunities; one creates the most interesting conspiracy theories over a macchiato; we fight unemployment and boredom over a macchiato; we also soften the pain of love by having a macchiato,” says Puhie Demaku of the online magazine Kosovo 2.0. The story of coffee in the Balkans is a dramatic tale of both conflict and love.

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ditions use the oldest method to prepare coffee – in a narrow topped small pot of boiling water on a stove. The ritual around coffee-making and coffee-drinking in Greece, Turkey, and the Balkans has produced and reflected various regional traditions, such as the number of times the coffee is brought to a boil; drinking a strong bitter coffee as an expression of masculinity; reading fortunes in coffee grounds; and the culture of hospitality centred on coffee drinking. According to a famous Turkish proverb, “a cup of bitter coffee has an influence on the guest that lasts for forty years,” indicating a long friendship between those who share coffee.

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ood, although not always an obvious national symbol, is often associated with specific countries and regions. Unpacking the history of how food and drink become national symbols highlights their transnational nature. Coffee, which has recently become a contested national issue between Turkey and Greece, is demonstrative of the ways in which imported products take on political meanings as they become nationalized. Coffee was not always a Balkan drink. It is believed that coffee is named after the city of Kaffa in southeast Ethiopia. During the sixteenth century, coffee was introduced to the Balkans by way of Istanbul, the capital of the Ottoman Empire. Coffeehouses sprang up throughout the Balkans, setting the foundation for the coffee culture found in the Balkans today. By the eighteenth century Belgrade had about twenty coffeehouses; Bitola in today’s Republic of Macedonia had forty, and Sarajevo more than sixty. Recently, the story of coffee in the Balkans has taken on national and political dimensions. Depending on who was making it and where you were drinking it, coffee could be Turkish, Greek, Serbian, or Macedonian. Turkey and Greece’s age-old battle over the right to claim coffee as a national product has now reached the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). In November 2012, Turkey’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism announced that it was readying an appeal for Turkish coffee to be included in the List of Immaterial Cultural Heritage. This appeal is based upon a longstanding conflict over whether this thick coffee is Turkish or Greek. A major cultural fauxpas would be to ask for Turkish coffee in Greece and vice versa. This contestation over coffee is mostly visible in Cyprus where the coffee one drinks is a political and national statement. During a round of Peace talks between the two sides in 2008, a reporter asked the Greek Cypriot President Christofias whether he would be drinking Greek or Turkish coffee during the discussions. He replied: “Cypriot coffee, we will both be having Cypriot coffee.” In fact, the way in which Turkish, Greek, and most Balkan-style coffee is prepared is similar. All three tra-

Photo Credit: Creative Commons

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By: Rewa Oubari


Profile Ukraine

Pasta and Pelmeni: Digesting Kyiv’s Ukraine

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By: Ashton Osmak

n case you were wondering, Kyiv is not a Ukrainian city. At least, that’s what I was told before I moved there. The warning came from the Ukrainian-Canadian side of my family. Though most of them have never visited their ancestral home, they were all familiar with rumours of the capital’s un-Ukrainianness. Intrigued, one aim of my eight-month stay became sniffing out the true essence of the city. Having spent some time the previous year in the Western Ukrainian cultural capital of Lviv, I assumed that I knew where to start my identity investigation. Coffee houses had been a staple of my life in Lviv. I was disappointed to find that Kyiv’s café market was swamped with American-style chains without the ecocup discounts. Worse still, they lacked that illusive “character” sought by the traveler who favours local flavour. Feeding into my longing for Lviv, I found one establishment that I recognized from my previous Ukraine trip. “Lviv Master Chocolates,” the combined chocolatier and café, had opened three franchises in Kyiv in the past couple of years. The murals of Lviv’s architecture adorning the walls and the young wait staff ’s exaggerated Ukrainian drawl didn’t convince me that I had found Kyiv’s gooey Ukrainian centre. The heart of the old and new centres of the capital – Contract Square in Podil and Independence Square on Khreshchatyk – share one important trait: proximity to cheap food. Since studying was the main purpose of my trip, I was being budget conscious. King among cheap fast food joints, specializing in local cuisine is the village-themed Pyzhata Khata. For less than the cost of a happy meal, one can procure a greasy, sour cream laden three course meal. Cabbage rolls, sausages, and pickled mushrooms are just the beginning. As you slide your tray along the cabin inspired, cafeteria style buffet, the succulent variety of local delicacies unfolds beneath their corresponding English/Ukrainian name labels. At lunch time, the long wooden tables are packed with European tourists, local businessmen, and students from across the globe.

Pyzata Khata’s rural charm can grate on you after a while. While the price is right, the line-ups can be tough. Worse still, a “Taste of Italy” month had me doubting the authenticity of their Ukrainian cuisine. Sure, a little garlic on one’s bread never meant a disavowal of the perogie, but fettuccini alfredo and fried kielbasa? That’s where I had to draw the line. What followed was a bitter period of defeat. If Puzhata Khata, with its service staff ’s faux embroidered shirts, could not bear the Ukrainian culinary torch, I felt there was no chance I’d taste the real Ukraine. I took some time off. Luckily that wasn’t hard to do. From McDonald’s to TGI Fridays and even the unimaginatively named Russian chain “Coffee House,” there were loads of non-Ukrainian chains where I could quietly stage my protest.

As I slowly got to know a few Ukrainian students I realized

that for them, questions

of language and identity are of far lesser importance. Front of mind are the same issues that plague college students in Canada

As I walked home, past the new Euro Cup stadium on what the locals still call “Red Army Street,” I stopped short to gaze in the window of the chain restaurant “Mafia.” The modern black and white décor could not disguise the distasteful pairing of food inside: sushi and Italian. As I flipped through the laminated outdoor menu I couldn’t tell what was worse – the lack of Ukrainian culinary spirit or the exorbitant prices. Six dragon


Profile Ukraine

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Photo Credit: Creative Commons

fudge, furrowed my brow, and sipped my coffee, bitterly. Apart from its proximity to the train station, what had drawn me to this place was its warm atmosphere. It felt like an American diner with its distinctly retro feel. Glancing up from the gingham table cloth to the bookshelves along the wall, I recognized Bulgakov, Shevchenko, and Solzhenitsyn’s names in Russian along the books’ spines. I’ll admit, I was tempted to flip through the back issues of Krokodil. I was disarmed by the stuffed Cheburashka doll. Nevertheless the feeling of disappointment was paramount. To my relief, a television in the corner was showing scenes from a film shot in Lviv. I watched the familiar streetscapes flood the screen and exhaled. The waitress, noticing my interest, asked me if I had seen d’Artagnan and Three Musketeers before. “Ni,” I replied, realizing after she asked that this was a Soviet film. Ukraine’s oppression, crystallized on this miniature version of the silver screen – it left a bad taste in my mouth. I went to Lviv, came back, and started my semester at Kyiv Mohyla Academy. Most of my friends at school were also foreigners, but unlike me, they knew Russian only. While the university conducted all of its classes in Ukrainian, it was impossible to ignore that the students and staff, beyond the classrooms’ walls, instantly reverted to Russian, too. As I slowly got to know a few Ukrainian students I realized that for them, questions of language and identity are of far lesser importance. Front of mind are the same issues that plague college students in Canada: how will I pay tuition, where can I get a cheap beer or take my crush on a date? My classmates and I shared many coffee breaks in Kyiv Mohyla’s cheap and tasty cafA plate of perogies. The specific term, ‘periogie’ is a slavic interpretation of the eterias. Occasionally we would meet for a beer at Pyzata Khata or grab lunch at Varenychniya Eurasian dumpling. The root of the word, ‘pir’ refers to festivities. Katyusha. Franchises of both are located near there were spinach, liver, chicken, and bacon varieties campus. They face each other from opposite sides of – the likes of which I had never seen! Dessert perogies the same street. I rarely went to Lviv Master Chocolates were also well represented: strawberry, blueberry, and – only with North American friends who weren’t as cherry. I sat back and took a deep breath. This was only scandalized by the high prices. page three of a fifteen-page menu. By the end of my stay in Kyiv I think I loosened up a That’s when I saw them: pelmeni – the perogie’s lot. Policing identity as an outsider is no small task and worst nemesis. These ravioli-like dumplings, with their ultimately a challenge I wasn’t up for. Chain restaurants variety of mostly meat fillings might look innocent, but are not the whole story of Kyiv, but they do say a lot to I knew not to be fooled. This was a clear sign that I was me. They show that a plurality of national identities is not on safe territory. How, on the territory of Ukraine, possible in Ukraine’s capital. If not in my family’s mind could these Russian dumplings share a menu with the then at least at the lunch table or over afternoon tea. mighty Ukrainian perogie? I took another bite of my

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rolls and a veal parmesan cost as much as the average Ukrainian’s daily wage. I had to escape. I booked a ticket to Lviv for the following weekend and showed up at the train station three hours in advance. To kill time, I sat down in a quiet restaurant across the street. Its butter yellow walls and laid back atmosphere (there were stickers all over the bathroom stalls) cheered me up. My white apron clad waitress kindly switched to Ukrainian after I ordered a “kava z molokom.” The coffee came with a free candy. I recognized its wrapper immediately – it was the Polish butter fudge that my grandma keeps handy for unexpected guests. Fresh, with a firm sugary crust, the candy’s gooey centre was so soft it dripped off my lips after my first bite. According to the menu cover, I had found myself in “Varenychnya Katyusha.” I flipped through the pages, astonished by the sheer number and varieties of perogies inside. On top of the usual potato or sauerkraut and the slightly less frequent mushroom or cheese


Profile Basque

A ‘Basque’ketful of Taste: Fusion Cuisine in the Basque Region

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Photo Credit: Creative Commons

By: Kavita Bapat

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A typical snack of the Basque Country, “pintxos” consist of small slices of bread upon which ingrediant placed and fastened with a toothpick, which gives the food its name “pintxo”, meaning “spike.”

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“To know how to eat is to know enough”- Old Basque Saying estled between the Pyrenees Mountains and the Bay of Biscay, straddling the French-Spanish border, the Basque region is a veritable breeding ground of culinary fusion and delight. The region’s distinct geographical position has allowed for a blend of the ocean’s tidal rhythms and the seasonal labour of mountain shepherds and farmers to mould and influence its cuisine. In other words, Basque cuisine is a union of opposites; as Gerald Hirigoyen says in his book The Basque Kitchen: Tempting Food from the Pyrenees, “a mountain culture perched on the edge of the sea.” Basques have held cooking sacred for years. In fact, food is so appreciated by the Basques that they have formed secret societies to pass on knowledge from man to man, generation to generation. Gastronomic societies (txokos in Basque and sociedades gastrónomicos in Spanish) are organizations composed almost entirely of

men who cook and eat together in a community. These societies, unique to the Basque region, enable men to cook and prepare food together away from societal matriarchs (etxekoandreak). They also serve as a form of social bonding and a counterweight to tendencies toward division and fragmentation that have emerged along class lines in the Basque. These men-only dining clubs provide opportunities to bond over card games, conversations, and drinks. It is worth noting that in the Basque Autonomous Community (BAC) there are 1,300 gastronomic or cooking societies at present. Although these societies have changed over time, what has remained consistent is the men’s utilization of toxkos as an opportunity to cook for a group of friends by adding their own signature to traditional recipes. Traditional “Basquaise” cuisine is reflective of its geography. Basque cuisine finds its most significant influences in the abundance of produce from the sea on one side of the region and the fertile Ebro Mountain


by locally produced Basque wine. Cider is the second most popular drink, made from the abundant apples growing in the region. In fact, apples and cider have been so entrenched in Basque culture that Basques are credited with introducing the fruit and its cultivation to Normandy, a French region renowned for its apples and ciders. Though the traditional Basquaise diet consists of a heavy meal at midday so that labourers may fortify themselves for work in the fields, as the world has modernized so has Basque cuisine. In the 1970s and 1980s, Basque chefs were influenced by France’s nouvelle cuisine movement and created “nouvelle cuisine Basque,” which featured lighter and less rustic versions of traditional dishes and flavours. Though its approach was radically original in form, it was solidly Basque in substance and the movement swept across Spain a few years later, becoming the nation’s default haute cuisine. Today, this movement has further flourished as Basques move from the agricultural sector to the financial sector in Bilbao and San Sebastián. Thus, a movement away from the heavy sauces, cream, and butter of traditional Basquaise cooking toward an increasingly fresher and lighter diet has emerged in response to the urbanization of Basque society. The Basque love affair with seafood, however, remains. Basque dependence on the nearby sea for sustenance, particularly consumption of salt cod, continues. In fact, Basques still consume four times as much fish as the average Frenchman. The most popular seafood in the region today is merluza (Spanish hake), sole, cod, and baby eel. The Basques hold fish in high regard; thus, Basque chefs never grill or broil it, but chop or slice fillets and serve them with complex sauces. Often fish will be combined with a dish that seems utterly misplaced at first, such as foie gras or puff pastry, but the elaboration is said to work wonders and results in the unique flavour complexities that distinguish Basque cuisine. Another common practice that continues in Basque cooking today is the use and fanciful combination of rare ingredients, such as calves brains and snouts, hake cheeks, forest mushrooms, sea urchins, and wild boar. As it continues to evolve, Basque cooking has begun to resemble high-level performance art, with many courses presented by the chef in whatever order he deems most gastronomically captivating. As such, Basque cuisine continues to have an influence on international cuisine with noted influences in Europe and the Americas and it, in turn, continues to be influenced by these regions as well. Thus, the Basque region remains an inspiring balance of opposites; fusion and tradition.

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valley on the other. In fact, the mountainous nature of the region has led to a distinction between coastal cuisine, dominated by fish and seafood, and a mainland cuisine featuring fresh and cured meats, vegetables, legumes, freshwater fish, and salt cod. This unique geography has allowed the equal influence of both French and Spanish culinary traditions. Iconic Basque dishes and products such as the Spanish-influenced txakoli from the southern part of the region or the French Gâteau Basque (Biskotx) and Jambon de Bayonne of the north are rarely served outside of their respective regional boundaries. Despite traditional views and north-south divisions, Basque chefs have been consistently accepting of novel culinary techniques and ingredients from the region’s new settlers and from their own trade excursions and explorations throughout history. For example, Jews expelled from Spain and Portugal are credited with the creation of the Bayonne’s well-known chocolate and confectionary industry and for expanding a wider confectionary and pastry tradition across the Basque region. Similarly, Basques embraced potatoes and capsicum from New World trade in the 1800s, integrating these ingredients into traditional ham and sausage recipes. In addition to trade, invasions and explorations left an expanded range of unique ingredients in their wake: the Romans brought wheat, wine, and olive oil to the region, while the Muslims gave Basques their first taste of rice and citrus. So with a mélange of domestic and foreign influences, what exactly is a Basque meal? Fusion and tradition. Meals have a leisurely pace but are served in courses on a long table flanked by stools or benches to encourage a casual, friendly atmosphere. Traditionally, meals begin with a tureen of soup for the whole table surrounded by platters of salad and cured meats. Following this, a vegetable dish such as asparagus or artichokes may be presented along with an omelet cut into wedges accompanied with salad. The main course is dependent on location; a piece of fish if one is on the coast or a lamb stew if one is in the mountains, generally served without any accompaniments other than bread to sop up the gravy. Typical Basque desserts include cheese served with quince paste and cherry jam. Sweet dishes are typically consumed separately, an hour or so after the meal or as a snack in the late afternoon. As most Basques are religious, a special meal is prepared for Sunday lunch following church. On Sundays, more courses are added to the menu, including appetizers of marinated anchovies, followed by a soup, a vegetable dish or salad, a fish platter, and finally a meat course. It is almost compulsory that all meals are accompanied

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Profile Basque


Consuming Femininity Emily Barrette

Consuming Femininity

Volume 1, Issue 1

Representations of Women and Tea in Early Eighteenth-Century Poetry

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By: Emily Barrette


Consuming Femininity Emily Barrette

ings embodied in consumer products.5 Furthermore, the poems indicate that despite the generally positive reception of tea as an exotic new item, it was not unequivocally accepted as such. The merits of and debates over tea consumption formed part of a larger societal discourse, rising from the consumer revolution of the eighteenth century, as well as concern over the drink’s societal implications.6 This discourse can be discerned in the poems, indicating the prevalence of tea as an important topic of conversation and concern in this period of growing consumerism. The two poems provide us with a highly gendered, yet contrasting view of tea consumption in early eighteenth-century England. The poems indicate that the medical, social, and economic reasons for the success of tea were a reflection of the gendered conceptualization of the drink—a consequence of the constructed meanings and female identity inherent in tea consumption during the consumer revolution of the eighteenth century.7 The authors of the two poems refer to several advantageous dimensions of tea, related to its relationship to the female consumer: the perceived medical and health benefits; the ritualization and conversation of the tea table; the class dimension of tea consumption and the prestige associated with the drink; and the social debates and critiques which resulted from its popularity. This article provides an analysis of the following factors that contributed to the success of tea in England by closely studying the two relatively unknown aforementioned poems and the ways in which women and

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ver since its introduction in England in the mid-seventeenth century, tea has been strongly associated with femininity and refined behaviour. The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries saw the introduction and proliferation of many exotic new foods, drinks, and spices throughout Europe. While initially competing with other new drinks, such as coffee and chocolate, tea rapidly gained prominence in English society, surpassing coffee importations in the 1720s,2 and becoming an essential part of the English diet.3 Of the various social factors which explain the popularity of tea, the drink’s association with women and the attribution of feminine qualities to tea play a central role in explaining why tea rose to popularity in eighteenth-century England. This relationship can be better understood by a close study of two early eighteenth-century poems on the subject: Duncan Campbell’s A Poem Upon Tea (1735) and The Female Metamorphosis; or, Ladies Transform’d into China-Cups (author unknown, 1729). The representation of tea in these two poems mirrors the transition of tea being thought of only as a medical item and written about in medical treatises to becoming a fashionable and widely consumed beverage, written about in popular and accessible forms.4 These two poems suggest that in the first half of the eighteenth century the success of tea was the result of the drink’s popularity amongst women in English society. This success reflects the developing consumer society in England, the prominent role of women as consumers, and the identity and mean-

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“Surely a pretty woman never looks prettier than when making tea. The most feminine and most domestic of all occupations imparts a magic harmony to her very movement...”1


Consuming Femininity Emily Barrette tea are associated in each. I will argue that a definitive study of these poems provide us with a lens through which to better understand the feminine conceptualization of tea, the relevance of poetry to this relationship, and the emergence of a female-dominated consumer society. First, I provide an overview of the role of poetry in the early eighteenth century and discuss the publication history, as well as the genre and style, of these two poems. Second, in a close reading of both poems I provide evidence indicating that the success of tea was the result of the gendered conceptualization of the drink, featured in the medical, social, and economic qualities of the drink. Last, both poems engage in the debate and social criticisms over the gendered conceptualization of tea of the time, indicative of the pervasiveness of tea in the growing consumer society of early eighteenth-century England.

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I. Poetry in Early Eighteenth-Century England: A Poem Upon Tea and The Female Metamorphosis

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aralleling the evolution of tea from a medical item to a popular and fashionable drink, in the early eighteenth century, writings about tea evolved from medical treatises on the humoural and health properties of the drink to more popular forms of writing, like poetry. Poetry itself in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries was a predominantly male domain, and was characterized by variety: in form, topic, tone, and audience.8 Not only was poetry diversifying at the time, but those who engaged in writing poetry began to include people of various socio-economic

Poetry was often recited or discussed in social gatherings in the “coffee

houses, alehouses, inns and drawing rooms,” and thus integrated itself into both the public and private sphere.

classes, as well as women.9 This expansion was the result of increasing literacy rates, an expanding middle class, as well as an emerging consumer society. Additionally, poetry in this period was “firmly anchored

in current events and manners [...] present,” suggesting that poems constitute a relevant and informative source on the social events and debates of this period.10 Finally, the expansion of poetic subject and style was accompanied by an increase in readership.11 Inevitably, what was being read varied by class, education, and gender. Nonetheless, poetry provides us with a lens into eighteenth-century society, as it often addressed social issues and current affairs. In addition to the insight that can be gained by the content of poems, poetry itself was interacting with new social spaces, opened up by the introduction of coffee and later tea in England. Poetry was often recited or discussed in social gatherings in the “coffee houses, alehouses, inns and drawing rooms,”12 and thus integrated itself into both the public and private sphere. In short, at the time when tea was experiencing its rise in English society, poetry was also undergoing a similar expansion, due to increases in literacy, but also to the broadening of subjects, styles, genres, and audiences of poetry. These factors suggest that the two poems examined in this article were not only read, but formed a part of a larger “popular culture” which concerned itself with current events, including the proliferation of tea consumption. Indeed, tea surfaced as the subject in numerous other poems at the time, reflecting the relationship between a growing consumer society and an expanding print culture.13 The poems studied in this article are minor works by unknown poets. Not much is known about Duncan Campbell; his only other known poem, advertised in A Poem upon Tea, is about telescopes.14 In the case of The Female Metamorphosis, the author is unknown, but the poem was published alongside poems by Jonathan Swift and Elizabeth Thomas in 1743.15 The poems serve as useful primary sources for this paper for two main reasons. First, they create strong associations between tea and women, while presenting contrasting poetic styles and social commentaries. Campbell’s A Poem upon Tea (1735) adopts a simple and explicit style to praise the qualities of tea. His gendered representation of the drink is also evident, making reference to this twice, to both the “Fair Sex” and the “Masculine Reader.” He also addresses the objections to tea by way of a dichotomous conversation between a couple, in which the woman defends tea and the man criticizes it. The Female Metamorphosis also associates tea to women and alcoholic drinks to men, providing us with a slightly more complex poetic language. The poem is included with Elizabeth Thomas’s The Metamorphoses of the Town, and Thomas was known for writing poems which served to criticize the institution of marriage and


advocate for the education of women.16 Consequently, the poem The Female Metamorphosis is critical of the gendered conceptualization of tea, adopting a satirical approach. These contrasts suggest that the two poems not only address, but are also symbolic of, the ongoing debate on tea and women. Second, these poems are appropriate since both sources do not belong to the primary poetic works of this period, allowing for an examination of two relatively unknown primary sources. These two poems are relevant and unique primary sources that aid the understanding of the association between tea and women in the eighteenth century, and the medical, social, and economic factors that gave rise to this association. Furthermore, they permit us to gain insight into the “popular culture” of the time and the differing interpretations of the relationship between tea and its consumption by women. While the poems share an overt association of tea and women, they differ in nearly every other way:

language, poetic voice, tone, genre, and audience. Most importantly, both poems demonstrate that poetry engaged with current debates within society, and thus constitutes a crucial source for discussing the role of tea in early English consumer society.

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II. A Sober Drink

he success tea enjoyed amongst women cannot be understood without considering the other drinks competing for the taste of the English in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Prior to the rise of tea consumption, coffee enjoyed widespread popularity in England, primarily in the male-dominated coffee-houses that proliferated around London in the second half of the seventeenth century.17 Coffee found its niche amongst bourgeois men seeking a stimulating drink and environment in which to discuss literature,

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Tea Party at Lord Harrington’s House, St. James’s House. Artist: Charles Philips (1708 - 1747.) Oil on canvas

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Photo Credit: Creative Commons

Consuming Femininity Emily Barrette


Consuming Femininity Emily Barrette conduct business, and debate social questions.18 In addition to coffee, more traditional beverages such as beer and ale continued to be widely drunk. The rise of distilled liquors around the same time as the rise of tea also provided an alternative choice of drink.19 The contrasting effects of these drinks highlighted the social concern of excessive alcohol consumption and the corresponding advocacy of sober drinks such as coffee and tea. Campbell’s poem situates tea within the context of competing beverages by comparing the various health effects of each one. In this sense, his poem can be seen as a continuation of the concerns espoused in medical treatises on the subject; the form and style of his poem are more widely accessible and inevitably more entertaining for readers. He uses a language contrasting drunkenness and sobriety amongst men and women and associates tea with sobriety and the positive qualities ideally wanted in a wife:

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The association of tea and positive feminine qualities recurs numerous times in the poem (lines: 11, 6566, 104-108 and 226-228) In addition to this comparison, the poem also contrasts tea to alcoholic drinks, emphasizing the medical effects of each: But Wine intoxicates, and wrongs each Sense; Sweet, innocent, mild Tea, gives no Offence: It makes the blood run sporting in the veins, Refines each sense, and rectifies the Brains. Dispersing those offensive damps, that lye On squeamish stomachs and the drowsy eye; Prevents, and cures, diseases of the mind.21

This Liquor worse Effects produces Than Brandy, Punch , or Grape ‘s red Juices; And ‘tis as heady , I’ll maintain, When once it rises in the Brain ; But not so generous , all know, By base Effects that from it flow; Wine does all noble Deeds inspire, Adds Fuel to the martial Fire; And makes Men Face to Face attack But Ladies quarrel behind Back:23 At first glance, this passage demonstrates many similarities with Campbell’s poem above: contrasting tea with alcoholic beverages, and doing so on the basis of the physical effects of the drink. Yet, this passage critiques rather than praises and bases the critique primarily on the social, rather than the medical, effects of the drink. Whereas Campbell cites the physical benefits of tea, the main concern in The Female Metamorphosis is the actions which result from the consumption of the drinks. The above passage argues that drunken quarrels are preferable to gossip at the tea table. It also enforces the gendered nature of tea consumption: men consume the wine, women the tea. The same is true for Campbell’s poem, yet the consequences of this gendered consumption are the opposite in each case. What both reveal is that tea consumption was primarily associated

Campbell conjures multiple negative descriptions of alcoholic beverages: (lines 64, 75-76, 109-110). Not only is alcohol negatively described in his poem, but he extends his critique of competing beverages to coffee as well:

Photo Credit: Creative Commons

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Who does not love a sober women Shall hence be branded as inhuman! Let him be doom’d to spend his life With a thriftless drunken wife: Therefore Gentlemen, I advise That you wou’d Tea and Women Prize.20

sis does not praise tea, but rather provides a harsh, yet humorous, critique of the drink. The poem does not compare tea with other drinks to the same extent as Campbell’s poem does; rather, alcoholic beverages are mentioned in a positive way to emphasize the negative effects of tea:

I hate coffee, give me a Dish of Tea, [...] But Coffee-Berries look like English Beans, Right Food for Hogs, and Horses mixt with Grains. 22 In contrast to Campbell, The Female Metamorpho-

Painting of women drinking tea. Artist unknown.


Consuming Femininity Emily Barrette with women as consumers, and that the effects of this consumption were debated in terms of the medical and social effects of the drink. Importantly, neither poem questions the assumption of tea’s primary consumers being women. Campbell’s poem lends itself to the view that women possessed a more refined palate than men and were thus naturally more suitable as tea consumers.24 More substantially, this poem’s gendered discussion of tea parallels its discussion of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. This debate occurred in two domains: the medical effects of tea and the social and moral concerns over its consumption. As Sidney Mintz describes, the moral reasons included “protection of family virtues, reliability, honesty, and piety.”25 The growing concern about excessive alcoholic consumption played a crucial role in understanding why some took up the defence of tea. Indeed, Campbell’s poem contains many references to this debate and articulates arguments promoting sobriety. The two poems demonstrate that concerns over excessive drinking were related to the rise of tea as representing the contrastingly female virtues of sobriety, refinement, and disciplined conversation.26 Those critical of excessive alcohol consumption promoted both the medical and social benefits of tea consumption. Moreover, these benefits were associated with women, for what we might label rational and scientific reasons: belief in their refined palates and their “fair and sober” natures. Tea combined the virtues of coffee—sobriety and rational and enlightened conversation—with the power of a sought-after consumer product. Yet, the critique of tea in The Female Metamorphosis, despite the concerns about excessive alcoholic consumption, strongly suggests that this issue was controversial. Resolving the medical debate proved easier than solving the social one.

es introduced in the early modern period—were drunk with the addition of sugar and milk or cream, which transformed these originally bitter, stimulating drinks into sweetened and more luxurious forms.28 Not only did European society change how these drinks were consumed, but these drinks, especially coffee and tea,

The contrasting effects of these drinks highlighted the

social concern of excessive alcohol consumption and the

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study of the two poems reveals two other spheres of contention: the social space of consumption and the impact of consumerism on class and female identity. The introduction of tea to Europe, like many other exotic food items, resulted in various changes to consuming practices and the social roles for new food items.27 Tea, coffee, and chocolate—the trio of beverag-

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III. Consuming Rituals and the Tea Table

changed society. The prime example of such a transformation is the coffee-house in England, which provided an atmosphere of sober, bourgeois conversation. This environment was in stark contrast to the chaos and destruction of the tavern or alehouse.29 Equally significant, although perhaps less obvious, is the change tea produced in the social spaces where it was consumed and on the identities of those consuming it. Similarly to the tavern or alehouse, the coffeehouse was a nearly exclusive male milieu, excluding women from participation in sober, rational, and enlightened conversation.30 Tea spurred a drastic change in the spaces of consumption: it opened up the public consumption of sober drinks to women in the private sphere, transforming the rituals of the domestic lives of women via the tea table.31 Indeed, the association of tea and women often evokes the image of gossip at a tea table. Yet, this association points to an important social niche that was filled by tea, and this social function of tea is addressed in both A Poem Upon Tea and, more significantly, in The Female Metamorphosis. Campbell’s A Poem Upon Tea references the tea

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corresponding advocacy of sober drinks such as coffee and tea.


Consuming Femininity Emily Barrette

Tea combined the virtues of coffee— sobriety and

rational and enlightened conversation with the power of a sought-after consumer product. —

table on three occasions, each serving a different purpose, but all do so in a positive light. First, he describes a scene whereby women are drinking tea in the comfort of someone’s home:

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Thus, Madam home---at, at her Table plac’d, Looks round her, smiling on each welcome Guest. Pray, ladies what d’ye drink, Bohea or Green? The Ladies, reply with an Air serene32

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This passage creates the impression of peaceful, polite, and lively conversation amongst the ladies at the tea table. This description of tea table conversation is complemented by an actual dialogue between a lady of the house and her visitor at the tea table (lines 89-148). The dialogue touches on a variety of subjects, including the cost of tea, the location of the purchase, the merits of tea-drinking, the consumption of tea by their servants and their preference for tea over coffee. The dialogue also compares tea table conversation to poetry, conforming to the image that tea was a gentle stimulant, suitable to consumption by women and in many ways similar to the consumption of coffee in the coffeehouses by men, in the sense that it produced refined, sober conversation. Indeed, the similarity between the tea table and the coffee-house is addressed in the final part of the poem, where the fictional characters, Dick and Amy, address the objections to tea-drinking: Tea, no and then I drink, with pleasure, When I have company and leasure. For, Men we see to Taverns go, To Clubs and Coffee-houses too; And may not we drink something then, To chear us up, as well as Men?33 These three instances in Campbell’s poem indicate that tea consumption by women occurred primarily at the tea table. Yet, as other secondary sources have demonstrated, coffee-houses also expanded to include tea, upon the realization that the drink was not only

becoming increasingly popular but promised a larger population of potential consumers.34 Another interesting parallel between the coffeehouse and the tea table is the role language and poetry played in each. As Elizabeth Kowaleski-Wallace states, “female noise in particular should have no place in the civilizing process, and the tea-table also emerges as a place where female speech must be controlled.”35 In his effort to paint a positive picture of the tea table , Campbell compares the effects of tea on conversation to poetry. Yet, the verses “They Follow no musty Worm-eaten Rules/They scorn to use such old Grammatick Tools:/Yet, Elocution hangs upon each Tongue” (lines 155-57) seem directed at poets, rather than at tea-critics. A reccurring theme in his poem is the effects tea has on women’s wit and ability to converse (lines 25-40, 88, 150-162, 170172, 220). Campbell’s associations between tea, women, and poetry suggest broader implications of his poem beyond defending the merits of tea. The association between tea and poetry suggests that Campbell is not only defending tea consumption by women, but more generally defending its use amongst those who wish to pursue writing or poetry--largely, the educated bourgeois. The above lines suggest that Campbell is criticizing the poetic establishment to some degree, and thus his poem can be interpreted not only as defending tea, but also in promoting tea to poets who—being predominantly male—were more likely to be consuming coffee at this time. Overall, his poem portrays the tea table as a useful and positive environment for women and makes more general claims about the positive effects of tea for those seeking out poetic-conversation and language. On the other hand, The Female Metamorphosis criticized the gossip that arises at tea table gatherings; the language is strongly negative and does not attribute any of the virtues that Campbell describes. The criticism in this poem is accomplished by satirizing the Greek myth of Pandora’s box, and the poem is written in a style inspired by Ovid’s Metamorphoses:36


Consuming Femininity Emily Barrette

IV. Status, Prestige and Class

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he poems by Campbell and Thomas have, thus far, provided substantial evidence that women constituted the primary consumers of tea in the early eighteenth century due to the medical and social values of sobriety associated with the drink and the new space opened up for conversation among

Initially introduced by foreign queens, tea

became popular amongst the social elites, eventually reaching the other levels of society; thus, depicting a process of social emulation.

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The poem goes on to describe Pandora’s Box as nothing more than a tea-pot, and thus the chaos resulting from her box is the same as that from a pot of tea (lines 53-60). This contrasts with the interpretation of the tea table as the embodiment of feminine, refined, and domestic behaviour. In terms of content, what A Poem upon Tea praises, The Female Metamorphosis critiques. In this sense, both poems represent two different sides of the debate regarding the merits of the tea table ritual. More importantly, the two poems provide evidence that a consensus on the social effect of tea table gatherings was yet to be reached in English society in the 1730s and 1740s, despite the success tea enjoyed amongst female consumers by the 1720s. What is evident though is that the debates regarding the tea table were limited to women, not men—even though the latter also consumed tea in this period. The extent to which men consumed tea is difficult to ascertain. Nonetheless, the gendered value given to tea suggests a relationship between consumer behaviour and the shaping of female identity. Furthermore, the tea table emerged as a site for restrained and refined conversation between women—yet, the interpretations of female speech varied across the social classes. To gain insight into a more nuanced depiction of tea consumption throughout society, we must turn to the values and identity associated with tea and the class differentiations which resulted from its consumption.

women at the tea table. To further understand who these female consumers were and why they decided to consume tea in large quantities we must turn our attention to matters of status and class in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. The beginning of the modern period was ushered in by two important events: the industrial revolution and the consumer revolution. The industrial revolution created the consumers necessary for the consumer revolution, which profoundly shaped the meanings and identities associated with consumer objects.38 But consumerism alone cannot explain why tea was conceptualized in a feminized manner. This behaviour can be better understood by examining the original proponents of tea and those who sought to imitate them. Before tea was consumed for pleasure, it was consumed for its medical benefits. The consumption of tea for pleasure was associated with the arrival of Catherine de Braganza, the bride of Charles II, in 1662.39 The Portuguese queen had been consuming tea at court in Portugal for years, a result of Portuguese trade into the East Indies. It appears to be more likely that Catherine de Braganza was one of many monarchs whose personal preferences influenced the consumer behaviour of the English. Indeed, Mary II, who began her reign in 1689, is said to have “brought with her from Holland a taste for the same tea, porcelain, and lacquer-ware that Catherine had known in her youth in Portugal.”40 Initially introduced by foreign queens, tea became popular amongst the social elites, eventually reaching the

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As o’er their Tea each Goddess sat, Each Cup inspir’d ‘em with new Chat ; They talk’d of such and such a Pair , And scandaliz’d each heav’nly Fair , Not one escap’d, but what were there: How all the Gods had chang’d their Shapes, Their Loves with Mortals , and their Rapes: Hence all those Stories we have met, Of Mars and Venus in the Net; Europa ‘s Bull, and Danae ‘s Show’r; Of Leda ‘s Swan---A hundred more, Were nothing else, as one may say, But Scandal o’er a Dish o’ Tea.37


Consuming Femininity Emily Barrette other levels of society; thus, depicting a process of social emulation. The fact that it was a Portuguese queen, rather than king, who brought tea to England, partially explains why women formed the primary consumers of the beverage. Furthermore, these notions of consumer behaviour are represented in Campbell’s A Poem Upon Tea. Campbell’s poem contains two references to the prestige of serving tea and the class component of its consumption. In the dialogue between the lady of the house and her visitor, the quality of the tea becomes the focus of the conversation:

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L: Madam, I allow you’re a Judge of Tea, Of all Denominations and Degree; I’m glad you like, and thus approve of mine; The man did say, it was exceeding fin: It is the best (Says he) that ever grew; Observe good madam, its lovely Hue. [...] V: Pray, where d’you buy it? May I be so bold?41

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In this passage, the quality of the tea is a source of pride for the lady offering tea to her visiting friend. Moreover, the inquiry into where the tea was purchased suggests that women played an active role in the purchasing of tea, indicating that consumers and purchasers they contributed to the increased tea consumption of the early eighteenth century. Yet, the inquiry into where the tea is purchased is important because it indicates that tea was no longer the luxurious beverage of elite women, but rather a consumer item available to a larger audience. The second instance in Campbell’s poem is when the same two ladies discuss the affinity their servants have toward tea: V: I have some Tea, I thought was good before; Now I’m resolv’d to give it to the poor: My Suky Dainty and Bess Taste, the Cook, Will drink it fitting in the Chimney-nook. I often catch them draining what I leave:42 This passage again brings up the importance of the quality of tea, as well as the class distinctions of those drinking it. While the audience and characters in the poem cannot be said to be representative of the working class, it is telling that the servants are portrayed as pining for tea. Tea is perceived as being a luxury item consumed by the aristocracy. Yet, this passage by Campbell provides evidence that by 1735 tea had already infiltrated the women of the lower class and that consumer behaviour was not solely limited to the upper

classes. While tea had broadened its audience, it did not serve all women equally. The positive representation of the tea table was associated with upper-class women, whereas lower-class women at the tea table were negatively portrayed. This occurred in a two-fold manner: with regard to the social effects of tea table gatherings, and with regard to the language and speech resulting from these gatherings. The idealized interpretation of the tea table was available only to elite women, who could afford the leisure of taking tea and conversing in a refined and delicate manner. On the other hand, lower class women who adopted the same habits were often criticized for neglecting their role as labourers in the English economy, thereby wasting time and money and producing “idle chatter” which challenged, rather than submitted them to, their husbands.43 The success of tea, therefore, can be understood as the result of its initial introduction by foreign queens, the desire to imitate the upper-classes, and the gradual spread of the new habit amongst women of all socio-economic levels. This produced a powerful consumer trend which was present across classes, creating a market and demand for tea. Women consumers of all classes were drawn to tea due to the drink’s prestige and source of female identity; the differing representations of tea in poetry results from the class-differentiated portrayal of female consumers. V. Debating Tea: Critiques and Praises

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he poems, A Poem Upon Tea and The Female Metamorphosis, exclusively associate women as the consumers of tea. In the tradition of eighteenth-century poetry, their interaction with “current events” provides us with insight into the various medical, social, and economic reasons for the gendered conceptualization of tea. Most interestingly, however, the poems provide us with contrasting and conflicting depictions of the relationship between tea and women, suggesting that at the time of publication, in the 1730s and 1740s, the feminized conception of tea was subject to debate within English society. Not only do the poems represent the two sides of the debate on tea, based on their content and tone (A Poem Upon Tea praising and positive; The Female Metamorphosis criticizing and satirical), but they also explicitly demonstrate the extent to which poetry was a means for social commentary. In Campbell’s poem, he glorifies tea while also declaring his desire to defend the drink:


Consuming Femininity Emily Barrette

VI. Conclusion

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n sum, the poems A Poem upon Tea and The Female Metamorphosis reveal the complexities of the association of tea with female consumers in the early eighteenth century. The poems provide us with evidence of the many ways in which tea and women were associated in the early eighteenth century: medical properties, social space, and class emulation. The conflicting depictions of tea in the two poems underline the many debates which were

class women who adopted the same habits were often criticized for neglecting their role as labourers in the English economy, thereby wasting time and money and producing “idle chatter� which challenged, rather than submitted them to, their husbands.

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In addition to this forthright declaration of his intention, Campbell’s poem also addresses the tea debate in the form of the dialogue between Dick and Amy, as a personification of the two sides of the debate on tea. In this dialogue, Dick criticizes tea based on its taste (Campbell, Some Objections against Tea, Answered, lines 65-70) and the gossip it produces (Objections, lines 85-90). On the other hand, The Female Metamorphosis does not explicitly refer to the social debate on tea, but the content of the poem clearly situates it amongst the criticisms of female tea-drinking. It is interesting to note the differing arguments in the debate; the praising of tea occurs at the medical and social level, whereas the critiquing of the consequences of tea is done from the perspective of the identity and meaning it confers on the female consumer. This relates to the importance of tea in consumer society in the early eighteenth century: tea not only had an important practical function as an alternative sobering drink to coffee, but the drink constructed female, as well as class identities, with regard to the ritualization of the tea table and the speech and conversation which took place around it. Initially, the two poems appear to represent and engage with this debate by adopting opposing perspectives. Upon closer examination, they also reveal the more nuanced ways in which tea conferred social meanings and identities upon its female consumers and those meanings, in turn, were subject to debate. The extent to which tea was engaged with in these debates and appealed to female consumers seeking to identify with the feminine qualities and ideals of tea and tea table gatherings signifies the power of consumer behaviour in this period and the centrality of tea in the growing consumer society of the eighteenth century.

The idealized interpretation of the tea table was available only to elite women, who could afford the leisure of taking tea and conversing in a refined and delicate manner. On the other hand, lower

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Tea is the sparkling Subject of my Song, Come, fairer Sex, and listen to my Tongue: For what you love so dearly, I defend And thus its Virtues to the World commend.44


Consuming Femininity Emily Barrette present in the early decades of the eighteenth century, following tea’s ascendancy in English society. Many broader societal issues are linked to tea: the concerns over excessive alcoholic consumption, the changes to the domestic sphere resulting from the ritualization of the tea table, and the impact of tea on social identity with regard to class distinction and female norms of behaviour. The relationship between tea and women was entrenched in the meanings, identities and behaviours that resulted from its consumption by the upper classes, and the top-down influence of these constructed meanings on English women. The poems A Poem upon Tea and The Female Metamorphosis, demonstrate the extent to which tea engaged in social debate and made its way into the growing print-culture of the eighteenth century.

While both poems clearly conform to the association of tea to women, they do not provide us with a full picture of the gendered relationships between tea and English society. To fully grasp the themes of consumerism, social identity, and the meanings inscribed in tea, an examination of both the female perspective, as well that of the men who consumed this “feminine” drink, is required. While tea has endured in England since its introduction in the seventeenth century, the social and gendered meanings have evolved. To what extent the drink’s original values of femininity, domesticity, refinement, and prestige endured across the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries merits an analysis beyond the scope of this paper.

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NOTES

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1. Elizabeth Kowaleski-Wallace, Consuming Subjects Women, Shopping, and Business in the Eighteenth Century (New York: Columbia University Press, 1997), 19.

10. Ibid.

2. Brian Cowan, The Social Life of Coffee: The Emergence of the British Coffeehouse (New Haven: London: Yale University Press, 2005), 4.

12. Ibid., 164.

3. Alan Macfarlane and Iris Macfarlane, The Empire of Tea: the remarkable History of the Plant that Took Over the World (New York: Overlook Press, 2004), 74. 4. Gertrude Z. Thomas, Richer than Spices; how a Royal Bride’s Dowry Introduced Cane, Lacquer, Cottons, Tea, and Porcelain to England, and so Revolutionized Manners, Craftsmanship, and History in both England and America (New York: Knopf, 1965), 106. 5. Kowaleski-Wallace, 5-6. 6. Ibid., 10. 7. Ibid., 11.

11. Ibid., 162.

13. Kowaleski-Wallace, 11. 14. Duncan Campbell, A Poem Upon Tea. Wherein its antiquity, its several virtues and influences are set forth; and the Wisdom of the sober Sex commended in chusing so mild a Liquor for their Entertainments. Likewise, the reason why the Ladies protest against all Imposing Liquors, and the Vulgar Terms used by the Followers of Bacchus. Also, the Objections against Tea, answered; the Complaint of the Fair Sex redress’d, and the best way of proceeding in Love-Affairs: Together with the sincere Courtship of Dick and Amy, &c. (London: printed, and sold by Mrs. Dodd; J. Roberts; J. Wilcox; J. Oswald; W. Hinchliffe; and 5 others, 1735), 7-8. 15. Markman Ellis, Tea and the Tea-Table in Eighteenth-Century England (London: Pickering and Chatto, 2010), 89.

8. J. Paul Hunter, “Political, Satirical, Didactic and Lyric Poetry (I): from the Restoration to the Death of Pope” in The New Cambridge History of English Literature 1660-1780, edited by John Richetti (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 160.

16. Germaine Greer, et al., ed. Kissing the Rod: An Anthology of Seventeenth-Century Women’s Verse (New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1989), 430.

9. Ibid., 163.

18. Wolfgang Schivelbusch, Tastes of Paradise: A Social His-

17. Cowan, 154.


Consuming Femininity Emily Barrette

20. Campbell, 6. 21. Campbell, 10-11. 22. Ibid., 14. 23. “The Female Metamorphosis; or, Ladies Transform’d Into China-Cups,” in The Metamorphoses of the Town: or, a View of the Present Fashions; to which are added: I. The female metamorphosis, or, Ladies transformed into china-cups; II. The journal of a modern lady; III. The furniture of a woman’s mind; IV. An inventory of a lady’s dressing-room, the Fourth Edition, by Elizabeth Thomas (London: printed for J. Wilford, 1743), 30. 24. Sidney Wilfred Mintz, Sweetness and Power: the Place of Sugar in Modern History (New York: Viking, 1985), 106. 25. Ibid., 137. 26. Kowaleski-Wallace, 21. 27. Marcy Norton, Sacred Gifts, Profane Pleasures: A History of Tobacco and Chocolate in the Atlantic World (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2008), 264-265. 28. Mintz, 110.

30. Kowaleski-Wallace, 24. 31. Thomas, 99. 32. Campbell, 11 33. Ibid., 23-24. 34. Thomas, 99. 35. Kowaleski-Wallace, 30. 36. Ellis, 89. 37. “The Female Metamorphosis,” 26-27. 38. Kowaleski-Wallace, 5-6. 39. Thomas, 5. 40. Ibid., 105. 41. Campbell, 13-14. 42. Ibid., 13. 43. Kowaleski-Wallace, 34-35. 44. Campbell, 9 Volume 1, Issue 1

19. Ibid., 153.

29. Cowan, 104.

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tory of Spices, Stimulants and Intoxicants (New York: Vintage Books, 1993), 57.


Döner Kebap Emily Leung-Pittman

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Döner Kebap & the German Imaginary

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How depictions of translocal food on clothing intersect with national debates to define the “German” space By: Emily Leung-Pittman


Döner Kebap Emily Leung-Pittman

nationalism. It shows how both the radical right and the multicultural left have instrumentalized the Döner’s imagery to express political interpretations of what constitutes the German “space.”

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ollowing post-war occupation and reconstruction efforts, the West German economy began to soar. Domestic labour, however simply could not keep up with the demand for German goods. The massive loss of lives during the Second World War, coupled with the division of Germany into East and West, caused a great shortage of manual labourers, which posed a serious threat to the country’s booming economy. To redress this issue, the West German government signed a series of labour recruitment schemes with neighbouring countries. In 1961, West Germany signed a Gastarbeiter (guest worker) agreement with Turkey.3 The idea was that low-skilled and semi-skilled workers would work for a time in priority industries in Germany before returning to their home countries with the money they had earned. The scenario that policy-makers had envisioned, however, did not unfold like this among all groups. With the oil shocks of the early 1970s, demand for West German exports fell dramatically. Faced with a surplus in labour, the government ended the Gastarbeiter program in 1973. The majority of foreign workers took their earnings and returned to their countries of origin, where, in many instances, economic prospects had much improved since their initial departure. Many

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I. OVERVIEW

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M

any Germans love eating Döner Kebap and are proud that Turkish migrants invented and perfected the dish on German soil. As German historian Maren Möhring explains, however, “it is the Turks, hence their food, that serve as the prime signifier of difference in Germany today.”1 In fact, the Döner may also be used as a stand in for Turks themselves. In Germany and Berlin, scholar Ayse Çaglar writes, Döner “became the [emphasis mine] traditional ethnic food of Turks. In this way it symbolizes Turks and things thought to be Turkish. This strong association [is] almost an identity.”2 Its significance is therefore much greater than its mere tastiness as a meal might suggest. Representations of the Döner speak volumes about Turkish integration in Germany and mainstream narratives of the “other.” In this essay, I examine how depictions of the Döner Kebap on clothing intersect with national debates to define the “German” space. The first section of the paper gives a brief overview of Turkish migration to Germany and explains how this research fits in the literature. The second section describes the history and translocal nature of the Döner and then highlights the intense relationship that Germans have with this famous food. Section three shows how clothing featuring the Döner Kebap speaks to debates on multiculturalism in Germany. After a brief history of the T-shirt, I study thirteen Döner-related clothing designs available for purchase at Spreadshirt.de. While some T-shirts seem neutral or clearly positive in their portrayal of the Döner, others are more ambiguous or overtly negative in their messaging. Section four examines how imprinted T-shirts act as moving markers of everyday


Photo Credit: Emily Leung-Pittman

Döner Kebap Emily Leung-Pittman

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Dürüm Döner (Istanbul: Jan. 2013)

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Turkish Gastarbeiter, however, preferred to stay in Germany.4 Without citizenship or work in the formal economy, many Turks had no choice but to pursue selfemployment if they wanted to remain in the country. A great many Turks, thus, left their salaried jobs, opened up their own food establishments, and became their own bosses – often in the Döner Kebab sector.5 Since Turks and Turkish-Germans are the country’s largest minority, a fair number of studies have analysed their place in German society. While their rates of entrepreneurship are actually lower than those of the ethnic German population, Turkish entrepreneurship is highly visible in German society.6 This is due to migrant clustering in the food sector and, more specifically, Döner Imbiss (snack bar) and grocery store ownership. Accordingly, many scholars have already studied the entrepreneurial activities of Turkish migrants in modern Germany.7 Previous research on the Döner has evaluated Turkish integration into German society by looking at the particularities and the evolution of the restaurant sector as judged by German Turks. Little of the Döner-centered scholarship has examined Turkish integration by looking at how the majority population defines Turkishness in Germany. This paper, thus, seeks to analyse narratives of the Döner as expressed in T-

shirt designs targeted towards the latter group. Multiple interpretations exist as to Turks’ place within society, which are in turn played out in clothing. My research is informed by primary and secondary materials, as well as existing theory. For my case study, I examine the online business Spreadshirt.de. This website platform allows consumers to purchase clothing emblazoned with existing designs or create their own T-shirts. By examining the Döner-related designs of various graphic artists, we see a wide range of interpretations of “the Other.” It is clear that certain designs contribute to the perpetuation of racist stereotypes and the diminution of the “Turkish Other.” However, others seem to fight for the recognition of German Turks, or at least their food, as an integral part of modern German culture.

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II. EVOLUTION OF THE DÖNER IN GERMANY8 n Turkish cuisine Döner meat was traditionally served on a plate.9 Until the 1960s, restaurants only served it as a main dish, particularly in speciality restaurants known as Kebabci.10 With the rising popularity of fast food, however, markets began offering Döner meat in a way that better fit


Döner Kebap Emily Leung-Pittman Kebap – complete with minced beef and veal, onions, and green salad – was sold by a man named Kadir Nurman in 1972. Ayse Çaglar argues that this “mixture of lettuce, red cabbage, onions, cucumbers, and tomatoes [sic]” was one of the main reasons why the dish gained and maintained its popularity among Germans.19 With all its fresh vegetables, the Döner appears in stark contrast to other German fast food specialities, like Currywurst or Bockwurst.20 As such, it may have been a more attractive option to people attuned to the healthy eating and low-fat diet discourse that took off in the late 1980s.21 The Döner is neither a purely Turkish food nor a solely German one. While the dish was obviously inspired by its Turkish roots, the use of the pide in migrants’ rendition of the Döner, coupled with the in-

and veal, onions, and green salad – was sold by a man named Kadir Nurman in 1972.

clusion of sauce and salad, were modifications made to suit local German tastes. We might apply the label “transnational” to this speciality, but this would ignore the food’s unique origins in West Berlin where Turkish guest workers were concentrated in the highest proportions.22 For this reason, the Döner is best understood as a translocal dish.23 Indeed, the Kebap only spread from Berlin to other towns and cities in Germany with the passage of time. Like the Currywurst, the Döner was an invention that emerged as the result of diasporic reali-

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The first (fullyformed) Döner Kebap – complete with minced beef

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consumer desires. Vendors began to sell it with a pickle and sometimes ketchup, encased “in [bun-like] sandwich bread or a quarter loaf of bread.” Despite its popularity in Turkey, this take-away item never reached the same prominence among the Turkish as the Döner later did among Germans.11 In Germany Turkish migrants first began selling Döner in the early 1970s. They initially catered towards fellow Gastarbeiter, but eventually sought to appeal to the tastes of native customers, since Germans represented a much larger demographic. As such the Döner continued to undergo significant changes. Turkish restaurateurs in Berlin did not serve Döner meat in the same types of bread as snack bars in Turkey, but rather in pide, a Turkish flatbread.12 Why was this the case? Pide has the “quality of being more filling than a sandwich bun, but less [filling] than a Turkish loaf of bread, which is believed to be too much for the ‘German taste,” according to Imbiss owners who Ayse Çaglar interviewed.13 In an attempt to widen their customer base, Turkish Gastarbeiter began to create a new hybridized Turkish-German fast-food item. Substituting one type of bread for another was an intentional technique of drawing in ethnic-German customers. This modification was particularly important because of the deep meanings associated with pide. In Turkey, the type of pide that is now available everyday in Germany is reserved exclusively for Ramadan; bakeries simply do not produce it at any other times of the year. As the popularity and availability of Döner spread all over Germany, however, the pide lost its contextual significance for Turkish-Germans and it became an ordinary kind of bread.14 This modified from of Döner was enjoyed by Turkish Gastarbeiter on their lunch breaks, and soon became popular with German society at large.15 Another difference is that the sandwich meat contains much more seasoning in its German manifestation than in its Turkish one.16 Further, GermanTurkish entrepreneurs began adding sauce to the meat. According to Yunus Ulusoy from the Zentrum für Türkei-Studien (Centre for the Study of Turkey) in Essen, this particular modification was essential to the Döner’s success: “In Turkey, the dish is served without dressing, but Germans just can’t eat any meat without sauce. [emphasis mine]”17 Some people credit Turkish Gastarbeiter Mahmut Aygün as the visionary who invented the yoghurt sauce that accompanies the Döner.18 Yet it was another migrant restaurateur in West Germany who seems to have perfected the dish. According to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, a widely read newspaper published in Münich, the first (fully-formed) Döner


Döner Kebap Emily Leung-Pittman ties in a geographically-constrained space.

also represent a political stance. As Maren Möhring explains:

III. GERMANS & DÖNER: AN INTENSE RELATIONSHIP

Identities are produced by differentiation and these identities are practised, inter alia, by participating in certain foodways that express an individual’s group affiliation. Thus, culinary preferences and ‘personal’ tastes may be endowed with a deeply political dimension. 31

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oday the Döner is an intensely popular dish that out-sells all competition in the German fast-food sector – from pizza and hamburgers to Currywurst.24 Many Germans seem to have incorporated the Döner into the fabric of their everyday cuisine. This is revealed, for instance, by parodies of the famous German chocolate bar Ritter Sport: alongside imaginary labels for Leberwurst (Liver-wurst)- flavoured chocolate, for instance, we also see Döner-flavoured chocolate... flavoured “with ‘a little’ spicy sauce.” Germans seem to have an intense relationship with the Döner in a way that is unique in comparison to other transnational food pathways. “The Döner became an integral part of Turkish migrants’ relations with the Germans and of their identities in Germany,” anthropologist Ayse Çaglar writes.25 It was “embedded into the social relations and set of meanings surrounding it.”26 Indeed, ethnic Germans and Turkish-Germans alike frequently attribute the Döner with Turkishness.27 The enormous success of the Döner in Germany and its importance in the popular imagination is not to be understated. Some Germans love the taste of Döner so much that they feel compelled to share their passion with complete strangers. For example, a NordrheinWestfalen band called Van Döner wrote and recorded a three minute, twenty-seven second musical tribute to the specialty. This song is publicly available on Myspace.com and has received 674 plays since it was uploaded in January 2009. A quick search on YouTube. com also yields a plethora of songs about and idealizing the Döner. Yet as shown further in this paper, other people use the imagery of the Döner to debase and delegitimize Turkish and Turkish-German cultures. Accepting Döner into one’s diet is by no means equivalent to accepting Turks and Turkish-Germans as neighbours and equals. In Germany, Heike Henderson notes, “[foreign] food is quite often accepted more readily than the people themselves.”28 In fact, countless racists and neoNazis eat Döner despite deeply antagonistic feelings towards Turks.29 This even led to a debate in summer 2000 on whether German nationalists (“Nationalischer Deutscher”) should allow each another to eat Döner.30 Germans may enjoy the Döner devoid of political considerations, but its consumption – or lack thereof – can

This is nowhere more evident than in the conflicting images of the Döner which appear on modern imprinted clothing.

I

IV. T-SHIRTS & PUBLIC STATEMENTS32

n 1962 Gregory Stone examined the intersections between identity, appearance, and formal styles and fashions of dress. He demonstrated that “it is through clothing and dress that people strive to establish their sexual identities, ages, occupational roles, social class, status roles, and their moods.”33 In present times the aesthetics of clothing continue to influence wearers. Yet people also have access to a piece of clothing that has transformed society and which was absent from discussion in Stone’s seminal work – the T-shirt. From its humble eighteenth century origins as a men’s undergarment, the T-shirt has evolved into an acceptable piece of outerwear.34 Yet this transformation is relatively recent, as Marlon Brando only popularized the T-shirt in 1951 with A Streetcar Named Desire.35 Newer still than Brando’s solid T-shirt, however, is the imprinted shirt, which has become ubiquitous among

Accepting Döner into one’s diet is by no

means equivalent

to accepting Turks and Turkish-Germans as neighbours and equals.


Döner Kebap Emily Leung-Pittman

n 2001 Lukasz Gadowski founded the clothing firm “Spreadshirt” in Leipzig. Since then, the company has been extraordinarily successful, recording its 300,000th online shop partner in 2007.38 Spreadshirt caters to the requirements of both private individuals and of corporate clients by allowing its users to put their own T-shirt designs onto different products. Customers can thus order a shirt printed with an existing design or create their own personalised design for printing. What is striking about Spreadshirt.de is the quantity of its products that feature a reference to the Döner through image or text. Examining one website would not of course be an appropriate method to test the salience of the Döner in Germany. Having gathered a variety of buyers and graphic designers into one location over many years, Spreadshirt.de provides a useful snapshot of some of the conflicting attitudes towards migrants in Germany. The Spreadshirt database gives us an intimate look at some of the tensions around the Döner and the disparate feelings aroused by Turkish migration to Germany and multiculturalism more broadly. The purpose of this study is thus to highlight a conveniently pre-assembled selection of user-generated images that speak to Turkish-German race relations in the country. I now examine thirteen Spreadshirt designs conveying what I categorize as neutral, positive, ambiguous, or negative messages towards the Döner. While

VI. CATEGORIZING DÖNER-IMPRINTED DESIGNS

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wo designs on the Spreadshirt site seem to approximate neutrality in their presentation of the Döner. The first, the “Döner/ Doener/ Kebab T-Shirt,” explicitly targets snack bar owners. The product description reads, “For all take-away operators. Add your own slogan, etc. to personalize the design!” The picture on the shirt features a simple cartoon image of a Döner rotisserie under which the name of a shop may be added. The other neutral design is similar but black and white, showcasing an outline of a Döner spit with inner detailing. The “Döner Kebab Baby” allows parents to express pride in the Döner through their offspring. This image is available on a large selection of baby and children’s clothing from baby bibs and “onesies” to children’s T-shirts and sweaters. The act of wearing such a shirt or clothing one’s baby in one would seem to suggest an approving stance towards the Döner. This makes sense given the designers’ target consumers: Döner shop employees and parents who really like Döner. Yet, by themselves, these designs take a neutral stance towards the take-away item – only expressing “this is a Döner.” Six representations of the Döner on Spreadshirt.de are explicitly positive (five of which I discuss here, one of which follows in section four). The same designer who created the “I love Wurst” shirts in one style also has “I love Döner” shirts for sale with the exact same style and font.39 By replicating designs based on different culinary traditions, this family of T-shirts suggests the happy coexistence of German and Turkish-German cultures. Other Spreadshirt items are similar in their positive framing but in a more whimsical way. For instance, there is a “Last Night a Döner Saved My Life” T-shirt, which plays on the 1982 hit song “Last Night a D.J. Saved My Life.” In addition, there is the “Bin dann mal dönern” T-shirt. It turns the noun “Döner” into a verb (“to döner”) and presents a single happy-go-lucky response to the events of everyday life: “Well I’m off to go (eat) Döner.” There is even a T-shirt that replaces the traditional heart symbol (the common shorthand for

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V. SPREADSHIRT.DE

space prevents us from examining all the Döner-related shirts available on Spreadshirt.de, the most interesting and thought-provoking ones are discussed below. Within my classification, I isolate two neutral designs, five positive, four ambiguous, and two negative examples.

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the young and middle-aged generations. The T-shirt today comes in plain and decorated forms which allow its wearers to project values and lifestyles.36 Printed clothing allows people to make public statements and to announce their identities in an explicit manner.37 In the late 1960s and 1970s, American pacifists began wearing T-shirts with political slogans to protest the Vietnam War (“Famous dates”). It is now common for people to relay public statements by wearing clothing emblazoned with words or pictures on them. Many people buy or wear T-shirts that promote their favoured brands (e.g. Pepsi, Tommy Hilfiger) or the institutions with which they identify (e.g. the University of Toronto). In addition to this, some people use clothing to announce more distinctive details about themselves. T-shirts may express an aspect of the wearer’s personality (e.g. shirts with the word “Princess” on them) or a favourite thing (e.g. a T-shirt with a cupcake on it). They may communicate a person’s political views too, which is certainly the case in contemporary Germany as the examination of Spreadshirt shows.


Döner Kebap Emily Leung-Pittman

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“love” in “I love” T-shirts) with Döner, which creates a rather nonsensical “I Döner [i.e. love] Döner” T-shirt. Another “I love Döner” T-shirt spells out the word “love”, turning the letter “o” into a heart. What is interesting is that it colours this shape with the black, red, and yellow stripes of the German flag; thus, the T-shirt implies that Döner is an intrinsically German/ TurkishGerman speciality that is integral to the modern (i.e. multicultural) landscape of the country. Many Spreadshirt items, however, are much more ambiguous in their messaging. The four pieces I identify leave it to the wearer and viewer to interpret the meaning of the design. Two ambiguous T-shirts include those that offer their wearers the opportunity to order Döner without speaking. Both the “Einfache Bestellung” (“Easy Order”) and “Bestellen ohne Worte” (“Order without Words”) T-shirts read “Einen Döner, komplett, zu mitnehmen” (One/a Döner, to go, with everything on it”). The former simply has the food order printed on it. The latter has an empty tick box preceding the written request. Many of the people who wear this design may see it as a positive tool to communicate their love of the Döner in the public domain. Indeed, most people who wear this shirt probably interact cordially with the German Turks from whom they buy Döner. Yet some wearers could use it as a tool to avoid speaking with the snack bar operators – which is how the designers title and market these designs. By themselves, such ambiguous shirts do not concretely indicate whether the wearer is pro-Döner or anti-Döner – especially in contrast with the “I love Döner” shirts. For this reason, it may be impossible to decipher the intentions of the person wearing these particular shirts without further

Photo Credit: Creative Commons

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A Döner sandwich

information about him or her.40 The “Kebap Gerät” (Kebap device) T-shirt, designed in Austria, but available on the German website, is another example. It shows a stick figure carving meat from a Döner spit. Similar to other shirts that parody road signs, such as those featuring a stick figure “chugging” beer, this shirt seems to appeal to modern “alpha male” culture.41 The designers’ intention in these shirts is unknown and can only be inferred from the design itself and the designers’ personal websites. Compared to the neutral shirts above, however, the meaning of the “Kebap Gerät” design seems to depend more on the wearer. Another design available from Spreadshirt capitalizes on the stereotyped images of Turks. It portrays a Döner operator with a mass of dark hair, an unshaven face, and of course a big black moustache, along with a red Ottoman fez. To be sure, Turkish restaurateurs have employed stereotyped images of themselves as part of a purposeful marketing strategy to draw in customers. As Möhring explains, “One should not underestimate the agency of the people working in the Döner business. They play an active role in the construction of the image of the Döner Kebap – and of themselves.”42 However, worn by a person of non-Turkish descent, this kind of shirt seems to promulgate an unflattering, not to mention unrealistic and racist stereotype of (German) Turks. The item, as well as the “Kebap Gerät” design, is highly ambiguous: they could either glorify the Döner and its purveyors or express criticism about the ubiquity of Döner shops in Germany. In contrast with these designs, some Spreadshirt products are explicit in their negative imagery. Indeed, three T-shirts from the site (one described in the following section) are blatantly antiDöner. The “Döneralternative” shirt, for instance, has the words “the Döner alternative” written above a photograph of Currywurst and Brötchen. Obviously Döner, Currywurst, hambugers, and other items are all alternatives to each other when pedestrians are looking for a fast food fix. In his marketing, however, the German designer implies that the (German) Currywurst is somehow superior to the Döner; he advertises the shirt on the website as “Currywurst, the alternative in a dönerised world” (“Currywurst, die alternative in einer dönerisierten Welt”; emphasis mine). This phrase, tinged with intolerant, anti-Turkish sentiment and a seeming fear of the “dönerisation” of Germany, suggests that feeding one’s hunger with Currywurst in-


Döner Kebap Emily Leung-Pittman

By replicating designs based on different culinary traditions, this family of T-shirts suggests the

VII. POLITICAL BATTLES OVER REPRESENTATIONS OF DÖNER IN THE GERMAN IMAGINARY

I

n the past few years neo-Nazis in Germany have taken to wearing clothing emblazoned with the slogan “Bockwurst statt Döner” (“Bockwurst instead of Döner”).44 The nationalists’ slogan exemplifies a “refusal of ‘the Turkish’ and/or the hybridization of ‘the German,’ and the paranoid discussions on the incommensurability of the two cultures.”45 In the far right’s conceptualisation, “the supposedly original Bockwurst has to replace the “foreign” Döner Kebap — it’s either-or, both foods standing in for strongly defined we- and they-images.”46 While Spreadshirt. de does not sell the “Bockwurst statt Döner” design, it does offer a very similar piece. The item in question is printed with the slogan “Eisbein statt Döner,” above the image of a pig and two swords crossing each other.47 Considering the proximity of this slogan to the recognized neo-Nazi one, one might be startled to find this item for sale at Spreadshirt. Yet it is not so surprising given the enormous variety of designs available from the online platform. Spreadshirt clothing ranges from the whimsical to the distasteful: from that which is offensive (especially towards women) to that which

expresses deep-seated political identity. The availability of such a controversial T-shirt design (on an extremely successful and otherwise fairly respectable website) shows us how one of the most heated political debates in Germany, that around immigration and multiculturalism, has entered the consumer market.48 It is for this reason too that Spreadshirt.de provides a suitable sample of people’s views towards the Döner – and more broadly, German Turks and multiculturalism – in Germany. In the face of the neo-Nazi challenge, the political left was quick to respond with a counter-protest. Cosmopolitan-minded Germans developed their own slogan about the Döner and began promoting their new message on T-shirts.49 Today the “Döner macht schooner” (“Döner makes you more beautiful”) shirt can be found via eBay.de, Amazon.de, and at several German stores, including Spreadshirt.de.50 Following the neo-Nazi provocation, liberal German society thus reclaimed the Döner as an integral part of the country’s identity. Another Spreadshirt design suggests a humorous alternative to the anti-immigrant “Bockwurst statt Döner” slogan. The “Currywurst statt Vollvertkost” shirt de-escalates the debate by removing Döner from the conversation entirely. The article of clothing simply suggests that people should eat “Currywurst instead of healthy food.” The “Bockwurst/ Eisbein statt Döner” and “Döner macht schooner” campaigns show Germany’s multiculturalism debates being played out in one of the most everyday forms of self-expression: personal clothing. Who counts as an insider and who counts as an outsider is hotly contested in these political T-shirts. For the cosmopolitan Germans, Currywurst (ethnic Germans) and Döner (ethnic Turks) can and should co-exist in Germany, if only because Turkish-Germans have enhanced the culinary landscape of the nation.51 For hardcore nationalists, only ethnic Germans can be considered proper citizens, meaning that Döner and residents of Turkish heritage can never belong. In addition, ordinary people

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stead of Döner is a moral imperative for Germans. The “No Döner” design, for its part, features a Döner rotisserie within a red circle with a bar cutting through it. This shirt conveys an exaggerated dislike of the Döner itself, but more importantly, seems to reflect a strong and rather disturbing antagonism towards the TurkishGerman minority in Germany.43 Since the Döner is so frequently equated with (German) Turks, anti- Döner clothing design also seems to be a vehicle for spreading intolerant or racist messages. As we shall see in the next section, Germans from both the Right and Left have used the Döner’s symbolism on clothing to disseminate their particular worldviews.

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happy coexistence of German and Turkish-German cultures.


Döner Kebap Emily Leung-Pittman

{

a r e creating and

Lyrics to “Ich will jetzt einen Döner” Song on Myspace.com Ich will jetzt einen Döner Ich will sofort einen Döner Der ist so gesund, also rein in den Mund Ich will jetzt einen Döner (Woah-oh-oh) Der beste Döner dieser Erde Kommt von Schaf und nicht von Pferde Alle Freunde sind da, wie wunderbar In unserem City Döner

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(Woah-oh-oh)

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English Translation I want a kebap now I want a kebab immediately It is so healthy, so pure in the mouth I want a kebap now (Woah-oh-oh) The best kebap in the world Comes from sheep and not horses All friends are here, how wonderful In our city, Döner

wearing a number of Spreadshirt designs (like “I love Döner” clothing) which draw on the Döner ’s imagery and convey particular feelings about ethnic Turks in German society. Having examined this merchandise, what inferences can we make about the modern expression of nationalism? VIII. MOVING MARKERS OF “EVERYDAY NATIONALISM”

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}

n Banal Nationalism, Michael Billig shows how nationalism not only characterizes extremist groups in the Western world but also personal and group identities, as demonstrated by the rhetoric of political leaders and newspaper columnists. His suggestion that the passage of time has prompted a transition from hot or extreme nationalism to “symbolic mindlessness” or banal nationalism is questionable, however.52 Rhys Jones and Peter Merriman critique Billig’s implicit division of nationalism in Western states into the two distinct categories of hot and banal. Instead, they argue political leaders and state structures in Western countries reproduce and provoke hot or extreme nationalism in banal contexts. Jones and Merriman explain, “In addition to being a place of banal and mundane processes, the everyday may also incorporate a variety of hotter ‘differences and conflicts’ that affect people’s lives on a habitual basis.”53 To highlight their theory, Jones and Merriman describe Welsh nationalists’ fight against monolingual English road signs in Wales between 1967 and 1975 and propose the term “everyday nationalism.” There are two major problems with Jones and Merriman work, however. Their otherwise useful concept hinges on two things: “nationalisms that emanate from the state” and the struggles of an oppressed minority against a dominant majority.54 By focusing on government policies, they first ignore nationalisms that emerge from below, particularly those that emanate from populist organisations that reject cosmopolitan society. Second, they seem to disregard the fact that a dominant group may also try to restrict the rights of minority groups. The concept of “everyday nationalism” should therefore be broadened. To make it more useful, it needs to include the kind of nationalism which emerges from below and that which is not cosmopolitan but rather intolerant, rights restricting, and xenophobic. Under this re-conceptualisation, Spreadshirt’s Döner-emblazoned T-shirts provide obvious examples of everyday nationalism. These designs do not necessarily laud or critique a particular government policy


to project their own exclusive idea of spatial “belonging” via a stereotypical “othering” of German Turks. The “Döneralternative” shirt may suggest that “ethical” Germans should not eat Döner but rather more “traditional” German foods in order to preserve imagined national-territorial “sanctity.” This type of racist, intolerant, and anti-immigrant nationalism is even more apparent in the other designs. The “No Döner” shirt seems to express a complete rejection of the Döner, not only for the wearer of the T-shirt, but also for German society at large. It suggests that the tastiness of the meal should not trump the far right’s “moral imperative” not to indulge in its consumption. The shirt would also seem to publicly subordinate Turkish-Germans to a lower order in the cultural hierarchy of German society. As such, this design probably appeals to the everyday nationalism of the radical right in Germany. The “Eisbein statt Döner” T-shirt, for its part, is a direct reference to neo-Nazi propaganda. It clearly seeks to substitute “imported Turkish” food items with traditional “home-grown” ones. Since Germans use Döner as a shorthand for Turkishness, however, it also implies the removal or replacement of ethnic Turks with ethnic Germans.56 As Möhring explains, “the neo-Nazi [‘Bockwurst statt Döner’] slogan is based on the idea that every national dish belongs to a distinct, territorialized culture and that these (allegedly authentic) cultures should be kept apart, otherwise they will clash.”57 This is the menacing form of everyday anti-immigrant nationalism that the ‘Eisbein statt Döner’ shirt communicates. Conversely, the “Döner macht schooner” shirt gives concerned citizens a chance to respond to the far right’s challenge of “Bockwurst/ Eisbein statt Döner” with their own form of nationalism. This everyday multicultural nationalism is the anti-thesis of the neo-Nazi one in that it is embracing of Turks and applauds their cultural contribution to Germany. Like Möhring’s comparison of “Eisbein statt Döner” and MP Özdemir’s “Currywurst und Döner,” the “Döner macht schöner” slogan promotes the “coexistence of different foods within Germany.”58 Further, it represents and expresses a very different “mapping of otherness onto space” than its ideological competitor.59 The various T-shirt designs outlined in this paper thus demonstrate “very different geographies of consumption and multicultural imaginaries.”60

VIII. CONCLUSION

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(they seem not to hark back to the Gastarbeiter scheme directly,) but rather comment on the presence of Döner restaurants and (German) Turks in German society more widely. The Welsh road signs, which Jones and Merriman describe, are of course stationary symbols of everyday nationalism. In the German case, however, imprinted T-shirts are moving markers that reside on the bodies of their wearers as they travel from place to place over the course of their day. Clothing is highly mobile in other ways as well. People wear and wash, re-wear, re-wash, and eventually dispose of these pieces of clothing, whether they give to a charity shop or a friend, or simply send them to the landfill. I thus conceive of Spreadshirt’s Döner-related products as moving markers of “everyday nationalism.” The various Döner-imprinted T-shirts I have outlined in this paper enable wearers to express their relationship to the Döner and Turkish-Germans more broadly, and thus their own particular imagining of “the nation.” For Germans who wear the “Last Night a Döner saved my Life,” the “Bin dann mal dönern,” the “I love Döner,” or the “I Döner Döner” designs, their everyday nationalism is one which glorifies the Döner. It may implicitly acknowledge the Turkish contribution to German cuisine as well. By contrast, the form of nationalism expressed by the “Kebap - Der Gerät” and “Easy order” designs relies more on the intention of the wearer. The T-shirts can either announce the wearer’s appreciation for the Döner and its purveyors; criticize how ubiquitous Döner shops are in Germany; or express a desire not to engage in conversation with German Turks who run Döner establishments, while admittedly enjoying their food. For people who wear the “I love (German) Döner” T-shirt, their form of everyday nationalism is more explicit. It not only expresses a great fondness for the fast food item, but also implies that Döner restaurants and Döner consumption are part and parcel of what makes up contemporary German identity. Following from this, the shirt may furthermore communicate a cosmopolitan worldview and, more specifically, that Turkish-Germans are included in the larger group that constitutes the modern (i.e. multiethnic) German nation.55 While these designs suggest a form of German nationalism which embraces migrants into German society (or at the very least accepts their cooking), the rest of the T-shirts seem to rebut that worldview. Depending on its wearer, the Döner operator shirt may perpetuate existing notions of migrant difference and “otherness” through the stereotype of Turks as Döner Imbiss owners. The unflatteringly-racialized Döner operator exaggerates Turkish ethnicity and allows wearers

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Döner Kebap Emily Leung-Pittman


Döner Kebap Emily Leung-Pittman

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n this essay, I expand Jones and Merriman’s theory of everyday nationalism to accommodate the case of Döner-related T-shirts in Germany. The designs I have profiled in this paper use the ultimate symbol of Turkishness in Germany – the Döner Kebap – to express competing political views about what constitutes “the German nation.” Wearing (and designing) such an article of clothing enables individuals to express an aspect of their personal identity and often relates to their political views on German Turks. As such, Döner shirts can easily function as markers of everyday nationalism. The purpose of a Döner design may be functional or business-related, as with the T-shirt targeted at snack bar owners and marketed as a potential employee uniform. In most cases, however, German graphic designers co-opt the image of the Döner for the purposes of individual self-expression. The designer may intend the T-shirt to convey a neutral, frivolous, ambiguous, or antagonistic message towards Turkish-Germans. Yet wearers of these T-shirts can then re-instrumentalise the T-shirt’s imagery – potentially changing the designer’s intention in a dynamic process of creation and re-creation. While the wearers of Döner-related T-shirts may not realize it, imprinted shirts are dynamic and become subject to a variety of interpretations as soon as wearers venture out into public displaying them. Ordinary Germans who choose to wear Döner-related shirts implicitly allow others to make judgements about them as individuals or as members of groups. Based on the design they have chosen, they may be associated with an everyday nationalism that is right wing and racist, or one that is more tolerant and cosmopolitan. A single Döner-emblazoned T-shirt can express a variety of opinions on Turkish migration and multiculturalism in Germany and may depend on its wearer. The intended message, however, can likewise be re-interpreted by others in a number of different ways.61 Future research should investigate what the Döner signifies to majority populations in different parts of the world. A comparative approach may reveal that the Döner means something completely different in the United States than in Germany, for instance, as the result of complex histories of migration, multiculturalism, and the “New World” idealization of the Europe.62 Researchers will certainly come to this question. Just let them finish eating their Döner first. NOTES

1. Maren Möhring, “Döner Kebab and West German Consumer (Multi-) Cultures,” in Hybrid Cultures, Nervous States: Britain and Germany in a (Post) Colonial World, ed. Ulrike Linder et al., (New York: Rodolpi, 2010),164. 2. Ayse S. Çaglar, “McKebap: Döner Kebap and the Social Positioning Struggle of German Turks,” in Changing Food Habits: Case Studies from Africa, South America and Europe, ed. Carola Lentz (Amsterdam: Harwood Academic Publishers, 1999), 274. 3. This was preceded by bilateral recruitment agreements with Italy and with Greece in 1955 and 1960. These recruitment schemes were followed by agreements with Morocco (1963), Portugal (1964), Tunisia (1965) and Yugoslavia (1968). 4. Caglar, 266. Family reunification largely replaced economic migration in 1974 with the passage of a law to this effect. 5. Möhring, “Döner Kebab,” 154. Döner is the term that Germans use to speak about what Anglophones call the kebab. Turkish-German restaurateurs additionally use the terms Döner Kebap and Kebap in their written advertising. 6. Ibid. 7. See Joyce Marie Mushaben, “Thinking Globally, Integrating Locally: Gender, Entrepreneurship and Urban Citizenship in Germany,” Citizenship Studies 10, no. 2 (2006): 203-227; Felicitas Hillmann, “A Look at the ‘Hidden Side’ Turkish Women in Berlin’s Ethnic Labour Market,” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 23, no. 2 (2002): 267-282. A few scholars have also examined Turkish entrepreneurs further afield: for Switzerland see Tüzin Baycan-Levent and Seda Kundak, “Motivation and Driving Forces of Turkish Entrepreneurs in Switzerland,” Innovation – The European Journal of Social Science Research 22, no. 3 (2009): 283-308; for the EU-level see Prodromos Ioannou Panayiotopoulos, “Turkish Immigrant Entrepreneurs in the European Union: A Political-Institutional Approach,” International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research 14, no. 6 (2008): 395-413. For discussions on the social mobility of German Turks see Andreas Pott, “Ethnicity and Social Mobility: The Case of Turks in Germany,” Journal of International Migration and Integration/ Revue de L’integration et de la Migration Internaitonale 2, no. 2 (2001): 169-186; Claus Mueller, “Integrating Turkish Communities: A German Dilemma,” Population Research and Policy Review 25, no. 5-6 (2006): 419-441. To compare with discussions on Chinese migrant groups in Germany see Maggi W. H. Leung, “From Four-Course Peking Duck to Take-Away Singapore Rice: An Inquiry into the Dynamics of the Ethnic Chinese Catering Business in Germany,” International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaivour and Research 8, no. 1 (2002): 134-147.


Döner Kebap Emily Leung-Pittman

10. Çaglar, 264. 11. Ibid. 12. Möhring, “Döner Kebab,” 155. 13. Çaglar, 267. 14. Ibid. Turks in Germany have replaced the pide with a Ramadan-specific flat bread, called the ramazan pidesi, which is more expensive than the pide used for Döner and only available during the holy fasting month. 15. Ibid., 154. 16. AP. 17. Ibid. 18. Anthony Blake, “The Man who Invented the Döner Kebab has Died,” The Telegraph, January 20, 2009, http://www. telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/4295701/The-man-who-invented-the-doner-kebab-has-died.html. 19. Çaglar, 269. 20. The famous and very popular Berlin Currywurst is a sausage served with a curry-ketchup sauce. This fast-food item, sold in stalls on the side of the road, is normally presented on a white paper tray. A Brötchen (small bread roll) sometimes accompanies it. 21. Ibid. 22. Çaglar, 264. 23. Möhring, “Döner Kebab,” 155. 24. AP; Hillmann, 19; Çaglar, 269. While the Döner does not

25. Caglar, 265. 26. Ibid. 27. Möhring, “Döner Kebab,” 151. 28. Heike Henderson, “Beyond Currywurst and Döner: The Role of Food in German Multicultural Literature and Society,” Glossen 20 (2004): 155. 29. Ibid., 159; Ibid., 152. 30. Ibid., 160. The discussion concluded that true nationalists should prefer ‘German’ food. 31. Möhring, “Döner Kebab,” 159. 32. Clothing has long differentiated its wearers by occupation and class. In the past, as today, nuns, bishops, and priests use clothing to express their profession. Believers too have long used clothing to express their piety and modesty. As Timothy Garton Ash points out, even in the 1950s, it was common for Christian women to cover their hair in public, which puts the current headscarf debates surrounding Muslim women’s dress into important perspective. 33. Donna K. Warden and Steven K. Worden, “Identity Announcement in Mass Society: The T-shirt,” Sociological Spectrum 11, no. 1 (1991): 68. 34. Shay Sayre, “T-shirt Messages: Fortune or Folly for Advertisers,” in Advertising & Popular Culture: Studies in Variety and Versatility, ed. Sammy R. Danna (Popular Press, 1992), 73. 35. Darden and Worden, 70; Greg Morago, “When Jeans and T-shirts Became Symbols,” Hartford Courant, July 3, 2004. 36. Sayre, 73. 37. Darden and Worden, 68.

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9. Möhring, “Döner Kebab,” 153.

yet have a museum dedicated to it (as the Currywurst does – Berlin’s Currywurst Museum opened in 2009), it has been the subject of its very own exhibition in Berlin: ‘Döner, Delivery and Design – Berlin entrepreneurs – A workshop exhibition on the migrant economy.’ From November 2009 to February 2010, this exhibition showcased the Döner’s contribution to the capital city through photographs and objects. Based on the EU-funded project ‘Migration, Work and Identity’ (2000-2003), the exhibition was sponsored by the Museum Europäischer Kulturen (Museum of European Cultures) and the Nachbarschaftsmuseum (Neighbourhood Museum Association) through the EU project “Entrepreneurial Cultures in European Cities” (“Döner, Dienste und Design”).

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8. There is disagreement as to who made the first Döner Kebap sandwich in Germany. Its creation, however, is often attributed to Turkish Gastarbeiter Mahmut Aygün. He operated a food stand near Zoologischer Garten station in Berlin and began selling Döner meat “in a piece of pita bread with yoghurt dressing” in 1971. Möhring, “Döner Kebab,” 153; “50 Jahre türkishe Gastarbeiter – Viel mehr als Döner,” Süddeutsche Zeitung, October 27, 2011, http://www.sueddeutsche.de/politik/jahre-tuerkische-gastarbeiter-viel-mehrals-doener-1.1171933; AP, “Döner Kebab Becomes Germany’s Favorite Fast Food,” Today’s Zaman, April 9, 2010, http:// www.todayszaman.com/newsDetail_getNewsById.action;j sessionid=5FEC5742742B99F73916E25CF81AC888?news Id=206881.


Döner Kebap Emily Leung-Pittman 38. Spreadshirt, “Company History,” 2012. http://www. spreadshirt.co.uk/company-history-C5367. 39. Wurst or sausage has of course been a long tradition in the German diet. The same designer also sells “I love Burger” T-shirts in the same style. This is of course a reference to the hamburger: the ubiquitous transnational dish of the Americans. 40. The preceding four designs, however, lead one to question whether it is actually possible to speak of neutrality when considering Döner T-shirts, and the Döner in German society more broadly. 41. For further reflections on contemporary alpha male culture, see Jill Filipovic “Dude or dude-bro: ten ways to tell,” The Guardian, December 1, 2012. http://www.guardian. co.uk/commentisfree/2012/nov/14/dude-or-dudebro-tenways-to-tell. 42. Möhring, “Döner Kebab,” 157. 43. Judging by the nature and advertising of the T-shirts, as well as the names and websites of their creators (where available), the graphic artists offering Döner-related designs on Spreadshirt.de are probably all members of the majority population. The content of the T-shirts furthermore suggests that most of clothing is also targeted towards mainstream Germans.

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44. Möhring, “Döner Kebab,” 158.

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45. Maren Möhring, “Transnational Food Migration and the Internationalization of Food Consumption: Ethnic Cuisine in West Germany,” in Food and Globalization: Consumption, Markets, and Politics in the Modern World, eds. Alexander Nützenadel and Frank Trentmann (Oxford: Berg Publishers, 2008), 13-14.

49. Möhring, “Foreign Cuisine,” 2008, 22. 50. Ibid. 51. Cem Özdemir hints this in the title of his book: Currywurst und Döner. 52. For an in-depth analysis of banal nationalism, see Michael Billig, Banal Nationalism (London: Sage Publications, 1995). To contrast with hot and banal nationalism, see John Hutchinson “Hot and Banal Nationalism: The Nationalization of ‘the Masses’” The SAGE Handbook of Nations and Nationalism (SAGE Publications). http://www.omnilogos. com/2012/05/01/hot-and-banal-nationalism-the-nationalization-of-the-masses/. 53. Rhys Jones and Peter Merriman, “Hot, Banal, and Everyday Nationalism: Bilingual Road Signs in Wales,” Political Geography 28, no. 3 (2009): 166. 54. Ibid., 167. 55. A person wearing this shirt might also want to appropriate the Döner as an ethnic German invention. This seems unlikely though, since the Kebap is so strongly associated with Turks. 56. Möhring, “Döner Kebap,” 160. “The word ‘statt’ (instead of) evokes the question of placing and re-placing, referring to the spatial politics involved, and addressing the issue of real as well as imaginary geographies.” 57. Ibid., “Döner Kebap,” 164. 58. Ibid. 59. Ibid.

46. Ibid., 14.

60. Möhring, “Döner Kebap,” 164.

47. Literally ‘ice leg/bone,’ Eisbein is a traditional German dish consisting of a large, meaty ham hock.

61. As such, the original intention of the designer is re-interpreted by the customer which is then re-(re-)interpreted by the members of the public. From the drawing board to the street, the meaning of the shirt can change drastically.

48. Spreadshirt would presumably remove any design that violated Germany’s laws, which prohibit the reproduction of ‘Third Reich’ symbolism, for instance. However, its very structure – based on the contributions of user-generated graphic design – contributes to an open marketplace where people apply their right to freedom of expression very liberally. Ultimately, Spreadshirt is a private company and thus exists to turn a profit for its owners and shareholders. Even though the work of some designers may offend users, the availability of the ‘Eisbein statt Döner’ design (and other distasteful shirts) suggests that Spreadshirt maximizes its profit not through censorship, but rather by providing a platform for the widest range of designs for customers to choose from.

62. This is suggested by the ‘Doener Bistro Apparel’ shop and its history on the American edition of the Spreadshirt website. See http://doenerbistro.spreadshirt.com/lecker-doeneri-need-my-doener-fix-A7688179 for more information.


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About Eurasiatique Eurasiatique seeks to promote the interdisciplinary study of Europe, Russia, and Eurasia. We welcome submissions of engaging and creative work from any discipline that furthers our collective understanding of the region of Europe, Russia, and Eurasia.

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2013 Thematic Focus: Food We all eat food, but many of us eat different foods. Some parts of the world feast, while other parts suffer from famine. Food is transnational, yet it is often defined by borders. Food both unites and divides people. Food is about the past, present, and future. In this issue, we will explore the cultural, political, and economic relationship between food and Europe, Russia, and Eurasia.

About CERES The Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies is one of North America’s leading academic institutes for the study of the member states of the European Union, the countries of the former Soviet Union, and Central and Eastern Europe. The Centre promotes interdisciplinary scholarship and teaching in the social sciences and humanities.

For more infomration about the journal, please visit: http://ceresgraduatejournal.com For more information about CERES, please visit: http://munkschool.utoronto.ca/ceres/

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