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SIEF2013 11th Congress: Tartu, Estonia.
30 June - 4 July, 2013

SIEF2013: Circulation

Tartu, Estonia; 30th June - 4th July

(P13)

Food styles: circulating creative stories of local food culture

Location Ülikooli 16, 212
Date and Start Time 01 July, 2013 at 10:30

Convenors

Hanne Pico Larsen (Columbia University ) email
Yrsa Lindqvist (The Society of Swedish Literature in Finland) email
Mail All Convenors

Short Abstract

This panel explores the growing interest in locality and food and its connection to practices and ideas concerning roots and heritage through looking at issues such as narratives, social media, performance and the process of how traditional food practices are reinvented and given new meanings.

Long Abstract

This panel aims to explore the growing interest in locality and food and its connection to practices and ideas concerning roots and heritage. Food is an established way of drawing boundaries as well as crossing them. However, food culture has also become a key asset in tourism and the experience economy, especially as a potential resource for peripheral areas and communities. Characteristic of the interest in local food is its wide circulation extending from grassroots level through to official policies.

We would particularly like to bring light to how commoditization, marketing and consumer trends interact with everyday life and traditional practices - a relationship we believe must be understood as a dynamic two-way process in which the theme of embodiment plays an important part. The interest in body culture, health and sensory experiences is part and parcel of contemporary food culture.

Among some of the questions this panel is keen to investigate are the importance of narratives and storytelling in connection with present day food culture, the role of social media in performing and mediating food-related lifestyles, and the process of how traditional food practices are reinvented and given new meanings. Also of interest is the interplay between political rhetoric, economical concerns, identity projects and resistance to mainstream food production and consumption. These issues merge with individual and collective creativity in forming networks of food production locally as well as globally.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

Home is where the food is: the co-production of food and emotional ties

Author: Jón Þór Pétursson (University of Iceland)  email

Short Abstract

To attract people to places and products, farmers and companies must produce narratives and images that arouse our appetite. In the presentation I draw upon the concept of affective labor to explain how emotional and moral ties are forged through the co-production of local and regional food.

Long Abstract

Imagine this: a family from the city sitting down in front of a milking stall, licking ice cream, and anxiously waiting for the curtains to be drawn. The cows enter the stall and position themselves while the robotic arm firmly locks itself on to the udder. Now the show can begin! As the ice cream slides slowly down the throat, the cow performance has already enhanced the taste of the local ice cream and quenched the desire to know where the food comes from.

Such rural theater nurtures and sustains the cultural roots of food and is one aspect of the heightened interest in local and regional food. Organizations such as the Slow Food Movement have coined the term co-production to describe an original idea: to connect producers and consumers through an active engagement. Many projects, such as selling local food directly from farms, grew out of this idea of co-production and has even made farms into special tourist destinations where people can come and experience the making of food.

In order to attract people to places and products, farmers and companies must produce narratives and images that awaken the imagination and arouse our appetite. This can be seen on enticing websites but also with on-the-spot activities such as watching cows milking. In the presentation I draw upon the concept of affective labor to explain how emotional and moral ties are forged through the co-production of local and regional food.

Creating stories of origin: a study of culinary tourism in Sweden

Author: Håkan Jönsson (Lund University)  email

Short Abstract

In order to attract tourists, small scale farms and food manufacturers have to create stories around their production. This paper follows the work of small entrepreneurs in two regions in Sweden and their creations of food stories in relation to and interaction with development organizations and final users.

Long Abstract

Culinary tourism in Sweden has increased significantly during the last years as a result of a renewed interest in gastronomy, food and meal, although still far behind the leading regions in the world. Many of the culinary points of interest are small scale farms and food manufacturers that have seen a complimentary niche to their traditional production. In order to attract tourists, they have to create stories around their production.

This paper follows the work of small entrepreneurs in two regions in Sweden (Sjuhäradsbygden and its surroundings and Skåne) and their creations of food stories in relation to and interaction with development organizations and final users.

The intertwinement and interdependence of entrepreneurial and official stories of the region is one theme of the paper. Another is the cultural clashes during the creation of food story telling, between the rural small scale actors and their urban audience, used to fine dining rhetoric from urban restaurants.

The paper is based on the work of the newly started project "When is food worth a trip? A study of culinary tourism in Sweden", a collaboration between ethnology and business economy. The method of the project is a multi-sited ethnography. By combining participatory observation and interviews, the project aims to obtain a multidimensional picture of actors and the material surroundings.

Snail and nasturtium: embodying the north through food narration

Author: Hanne Pico Larsen (Columbia University )  email

Short Abstract

I look at food as storytelling and follow a Swedish snail to the kitchen of the Danish gourmet restaurant noma. The chef explains the creative process behind the dish: It all started with the nasturtium, a tasty edible flower. Noma wanted to serve it as a dish, but something was missing – a snail.

Long Abstract

Within the culinary world, food narratives created for consumers have become more and more important. Foodies treasure food that is delicious, but they also want food that is authentic - foods that are simple, made from the heart, and with history and tradition to back them up. In addition to history and tradition, the story about the food has to be interesting. Consumers want to know where the food comes from, who grew it and how it was gathered before coming to the kitchen to be prepared and brought to the table. Food has to taste good, but the story also has to display good taste. In the New Nordic Cuisine, strong narratives about the locally grown, terroir-dependent ingredients, underscores the idea that we are where we eat.

I propose a model based on the idea that a meal at noma can be read as a (cyclical) three-stage process of embodiment and narration. When the dish at noma is put in front of the consumer, it has already been embodied and narrativized twice. It has been collected by the chef, interpreted and re-created in the kitchen. Through the final dish the multiple layers of food narration unfolds. Terroir is made out of terroir - in the process it become a meta-terroir. Through the creation of strong narratives, which intentionally places the consumer in the middle of the tasty Nordic terroir the consumer can, by eating the snail in a nasturtium at noma, embody the North and become part of the meta-terroir-narrative.

Defining good local taste

Author: Anna Burstedt (Lund University)  email

Short Abstract

In the Swedish restaurant guide the White Guide 2012 locally grown and produced food are described as an imperative trend of the contemporary Swedish restaurant scene. This paper will discuss how this localness is defined in relation to taste as a concept about distinction.

Long Abstract

In the Swedish restaurant guide the White Guide 2012 locally grown and produced food are described as an imperative trend of the contemporary Swedish restaurant scene. This paper will discuss how this localness is defined in relation to taste as a concept about distinction. This categorization of the local as good taste can also be seen in earlier guides and demonstrates a narrative that expresses the local food as something finer, better, more luxurious and elegant in comparison to more mainstream, cheaper and common food. Entering the fine dining arena in restaurant the distinction of the local gives a opportunity to study the correlation between an urban an rural food context. Mainly the paper will focus upon how well known and famous restaurant, normally located in the big city has incorporated local products and dishes whit in their identity as food entrepreneurs and artisans.

Since the local has got a more prominent place in the restaurant it's noteworthy to this primary food is cooked and served in the main city's of Sweden. Rural restaurenger can also be found in the restoration wizards but beskrvningarna inhaler manga references that allude to the difference between country and city, district and pulse inside the cities, country kind of relation to the big city and so on. By focusing on the differences expressed in these guiding texts to this study reflect on why good and good food seems to be cooked Mainly in big cities.

Creating the dining experience: food styles in Estonian home restaurants

Authors: Ester Bardone (University of Tartu)  email
Anu Kannike (Estonian National Museum)  email

Short Abstract

The paper discusses the means and ways of creating the home restaurant experience building on Erving Goffman's dramaturgical approach. On the example of home-based enterprises in Estonia we study performance techniques and food styles that are used by the hosts for providing the dining experience.

Long Abstract

In modern Western culture restaurant cuisine and home kitchen have been described as distinct styles of food preparation and presentation that are at odds with one another. In this paper we wish to challenge this conceptualisation and draw attention to the need to focus on the dynamic and ambiguous borders of the contemporary commercial home as a hybrid site of both private life and public hospitality. Furthermore, different home restaurants may circulate rather different food styles.

The study is based on our ongoing research on home-based enterprises in Estonia. We will examine a few distinct examples of small eating establishments that provide their clients with the experience of informal domesticity. These enterprises play on and with the borders of traditional and modern, rural and urban, familiar and foreign, professional and homely in the settings as well as in the food styles. Social values like freshness, locality, simplicity, cosiness and personalised service are manifested while creating a special home restaurant meal experience that becomes a part of the home-making process and search for individual identity.

We adapt Erving Goffman's dramaturgical approach for analysing how commercial homes provide interesting cases of border transgression between back and front, private and public. We aim to study how the entrepreneurs' personalities shape their performances as restaurateurs, their creativity, and their commitment to and switches between different roles. In this process the stories performed by hosts while serving the food indicate to different interpretations of homeliness and professionalism.

Visual presentations of food ideology

Author: Yrsa Lindqvist (The Society of Swedish Literature in Finland)  email

Short Abstract

Nordic Food is not only about gourmet restaurants. The trend in society shows an awaken interest towards preindustrial housekeeping. We are encouraged to grow vegetables and to pick wild berries. Shaping purity, authenticity and locality is central when visually presenting this food ideology.

Long Abstract

Picture a cookery book or a booklet with recipes from 1913. It is all about written descriptions and it is up to the reader to imagine how the dish will end up, if trying to prepare it. In the twentieth century however, the importance of visual interpretation increased at a steady rate. Today visual communication is a major part of daily life, often appealing to emotions in being narrative in a more abstract manner. When it comes to presenting food, we have moved on from presenting the actual products or the final result, to visualizing moods, milieus and generally wellbeing. In a picture of a cow, or of a sunset in the archipelago, we read in a story about roots, traditions and locality.

In the North nature is a natural part of our cultural tradition and it is imaginary connected to a vision of an unspoiled environment and therefore a better life. Scandinavian and Finnish design is known for tastefulness, simplicity - we are raised in a "less is more" concept that also is reflected in visual expressions. I intend to look at how the visual communication is used in the context local food connected to nature, roots and heritage. How is food with this kind of ideology presented?

Islands in the sun: introducing a Nordic island terroir

Author: Susanne Österlund-Pötzsch (Society of Swedish Literature in Finland)  email

Short Abstract

Food heritage and high quality food products have become an important way for branding and emphasizing local identity in marginal areas. In the case of creating food narratives for Nordic islands, themes such as smallness and uniqueness are used with great efficacy in order to create a “super-terroir”.

Long Abstract

Food is becoming increasingly important both as cultural heritage and as branding strategy for Nordic and Baltic islands. Here, the rhetoric of the New Nordic Cuisine movement is combined with traditional images of the North as well as with stereotypes regarding islands. The concept of terroir, traditionally associated with French wine production, is frequently evoked in order to emphasize the quality and uniqueness of Nordic food products. In the case of creating food narratives for the Nordic and Baltic islands the trope of "nature" is joined with island "themes" such as smallness, remoteness and traditionality. What emerges is a not only a powerful terroir story but a narrative of a super-terroir. These narratives are employed by various authorities, entrepreneurs as well as private enthusiasts, although in somewhat different ways. This paper, drawing upon a joint research project regarding Nordic Island Food, will discuss the narratives of terroir in a series of case-studies from the islands of Lilleø (Denmark), Muhu island (Estonia) and the Åland Islands (Finland) among others.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.