Snapshot: “Consuming the World” workshop, RCC, 11–12 March 2016

The workshop “Consuming the World: Eating and Drinking in Culture, History, and Environment” took place at the Rachel Carson Center on 11–12 March and brought together scholars from a range of disciplines for two days of discussions on food, culture, history, and the environment.

IMG_0172_aIn addition to the papers from participants, there was also a keynote talk by Ursula Heinzelmann, food writer and director of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery. Drawing on her most recent book, “Beyond Bratwurst: A History of Food in Germany,” her talk focused on the question, “What is German food?” and pointed to a diversity of regional food traditions within Germany and a long-standing openness to culinary influences from other countries—not just the typical Oktoberfest fare. Germany’s geographic and climatic variations, as well as its political, social, and economic history, have shaped the development of this flexible food culture. This picture shows workshop participants sampling German artisan cheeses and Riesling.

Workshop participants gather outside Eataly. Photo: Hannah Roberson.

The productive tension between “local” foods and the “global” processes that bring food cultures into contact with each other became one of the key themes of the workshop, and was further underscored when visiting Munich’s Viktualienmarkt (food market) and its new neighbour Eataly. Full of vendors selling local specialities, the Viktualienmarkt attracts customers from around the world, including many tourists  and visitors to Munich. A global brand originating in Turin, Eataly sells “typical” Italian food in its stores on four continents.

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