Jahrbuch für Geschichte des ländlichen Raumes 10 (2013)

RHN 24/2014 | Publication

Editor: Institute of Rural History, St. Pölten

Editors of this issue: Lars Amenda / Ernst Langthaler

Issue 2012: Kulinarische "Heimat" und "Fremde". Migration und Ernährung im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert / Culinary 'Self' and 'Other'. Migration and Food in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

Language: German (with English abstracts)

Website: http://www.ruralhistory.at/de/publikationen/jglr

Orders and review copies: StudienVerlag


Tim Wätzold: European Food in Migration: the Case of Brazil

Since its discovery Brazil has been strongly influenced by different migrant communities. The first to settle were the Portuguese. Their colonial influences marked the alimentation and cuisine in Brazil until today in many ways. In the nineteenth century, Brazil was among the main destinations for European mass-migration and the food of the immigrants, mainly from Italy, Portugal, Ottoman Empire and Germany, influenced the regional cuisine of their main settlements. These millions who came to Brazil since 1500 brought their plants, animals, food habits and religious taboos, recipes and so on as cultural baggage in the migration process. Altogether they formed the actual, transcultural fusion-cuisine of Brazil. This article gives a broad overview of some aspects of these migration-processes.

Christine Howald: At Home in a Foreign Place? European Food and Consumption Habits in Nineteenth Century China

In the nineteenth century, the global expansion of the West attracted many Europeans to start a new life abroad. China was one of the countries that promised good earnings and high social positions combined with thrilling exoticism. Over the course of the century, Westerners established settlements in strategically important cities of the country, such as Shanghai or Tianjin. By the end of the century, many of them had grown into large communities with highly developed infrastructures that included schools, community houses and churches. When Europeans started settling in China, food played an important role in establishing a new life abroad. Culinary traditions not only helped to transfer national identities to the new environment, they also created a platform for cultural transfer and the emergence of a new, international community. Common, often extensive meals marked the daily life in China’s European settlements. They offered a welcomed distraction as well as the possibility of a new social definition and differentiation of the self. By exploring the food habits and consumer behaviour, this paper analyses how Europeans established their identity and community in nineteenth century China.

Leonard Schmieding: Food Cultures of German Emigrants to Northern California in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

During the second half of the nineteenth century, California became a popular destination for German emigrants to North America. Especially Northern California and San Francisco as the metropolis on the West Coast attracted a high number of Germans. Between 1890 and 1910, a community of more than 60,000 Germans found a new home in the city by the Golden Gate. In this contribution, I examine how German immigrants and their American-born children constructed their ethnicity at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century based on eating and drinking. I use immigrant letters to show how the domestic sphere and the kitchen in particular became central spaces in the process of arriving in the New World, of getting settled and adjusting to new customs. The author herself, as a young woman, used the practices of obtaining, preparing, and consuming food to maintain traditions from Germany and thus to distinguish herself from American food culture. In doing so, however, she felt isolated and expressed her wish to partake in American culture and society. The second case study focuses on the German restaurant Heidelberg Inn in San Francisco and analyses it as a stage for intercultural encounters. In this place of contact, both Germans and others constructed their visions of a German cuisine and thus took part in the performance of German-American ethnicity. My analysis of travel literature, menus, advertisements, and newspapers shows how this ethnic performance was based not solely on the dishes offered, but also on the interplay between service, interior decoration, entertainment and marketing in the public sphere.

Martina Kaller: The Invention of ‘Pizza & Pasta’. Italian Food and Immigration in the USA in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

Dishes euphemistically called ‘Italian’ nourish the global community of millions of people relying on industrial foods today. Contrary to their marketing success, the products labelled as such are not homemade, but instead they are cheap commodities produced in factories. Due to a collective false memory operation called ‘marketing’ we learned to conceive ‘pizza & pasta’ as being Italian. A historical examination proves that the attribution ‘Italian’ is incorrect. ‘Pizza & pasta’ are not a fusion of Italian culinary traditions overseas but an invention introduced into global food markets by US-American companies like the transnational ConAgra-company. The main reasons behind this campaign were their comparably cheap production costs and easy distributing and retailing properties. ‘Pizza & pasta’ are forerunners of a global cuisine intentionally structured by global markets. Austrian philosopher and sociologist Rolf Schwendter called the phenomenon pointedly Weltmarktstrukturküche (‘world market structured cuisine’). This article parts from global food history in order to decipher the connections and disconnects of immigration patterns related to ‘pizza & pasta’.

Isabel Schropper: ‘You are what you eat?’ Eating Habits and Identity among Austrian Migrants in Great Britain since 1945

In the life of every migrant, connections to the homeland play an essential role. Food, in particular, with respect to the products used and the preparation of traditional dishes, illustrates how, or rather to what extent, the migrant has adapted to society and customs of the receiving country and how much the migrant still distances him- or herself. The particular ingredients, as well as the different preparation of dishes are a way of distancing oneself, of being different. This is strongly linked to the overall integration and assimilation process. This chapter demonstrates the role food and the preparation of traditional dishes play for the creation of identity. The sources include interviews conducted with Austrian female migrants, who, for personal or professional reasons, came to Britain between 1945 and 1960. Furthermore, it also becomes apparent that for the former Austrian migrants and their families, food can serve as way to preserve their Austrian roots. The personal interviews will provide an insight into the strategies the women applied, particularly immediately after 1945, in order to get familiar food products. The chapter will also examine whether these Austrian women, who have lived now for more than 40 years in Great Britain, have created a new Austrian-British identity, reflected in their cuisine and taken up by the next generations, who preserve their Austrian background through food.

Daniel Gerson: Everything Kosher? ‘Jewish Cuisine’ as a Distinguishing Mark for an Innovative Urban Culture at the Beginning of the Twenty-First Century

Only a small minority of contemporary Jews follow Jewish dietary laws in their everyday lives. We can, however, find a multitude of restaurants in major European cities that relate to Judaism and its culinary traditions. Different historical experiences and various migration movements have shaped ‘Jewish’ gastronomic establishments run by Jews and non-Jews alike and have re-interpreted ‘Jewish cuisine’. Although most restaurants do not serve kosher food in strict accordance with rabbinic law, these gastronomic establishments are an important distinguishing mark for an innovative and integrative approach to Europe’s Jewish heritage at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

Ernst Langthaler: In the Field-of-Force of Food. Everyday Nutrition of Rural Forced Labourers in the Province of Niederdonau, 1939–1945

For ideological reasons, the Nazi regime aimed at separating labourers from all over Europe forced to work in the Reich from the German people. The German ‘table community’ (Tischgemeinschaft), promoted by the authorities, served as a model for the inclusion of ‘us’ and the exclusion of ‘them’. Numerous examples of German citizens and forced foreign labourers sharing the same table, however, indicate the limits of Nazi racial policy, especially in the rural world. The article challenges the mainstream interpretation of this evidence as being an expression of resistance within the Catholic-Conservative milieu. Rather, the ‘table community’ of Germans and foreigners was an efficient institution to increase labourers’ motivation and to exercise control according to the logic of the peasant family economy.

Peter Moser: Beans, Bacon and Schnapps or White Bread, Bananas and Salami? Conflict and Cooperation within the Pidgin Food Culture on Swiss Farms during the 1950s and 1960s

One of the structural changes of the post-war period on Swiss farms involved the partial replacement of family members and labourers by seasonal migrants from southern Europe. Frequently these migrants were recruited by representatives of the farmers and, while working in Switzerland, lived on farms from March until November. Given that in agriculture, unlike industry, people generally work, live and eat together, the issues of food as well as language became potential sources of conflict and cooperation on farms where seasonal migrants were present. While most observers have focused on the conflicts thrown up by this new labour market, this paper also emphasises the potential for communication, mutual understanding and cooperation in households where seasonal farm workers were present. Where food and culinary preferences were concerned, the conflicts were rather disguised as they usually surfaced at the kitchen table. While farmers’ wives often saw themselves as having an entitlement to (and indeed a duty to) educate the mostly young and male migrants in culinary matters, farmers’ daughters tended to be more interested in the exotic aspects of the food preferences of the visiting migrants. A notable result of these kitchen table interactions concerning what counted as acceptable food was the development of a new pidgin food culture.

Julia Bernstein: Acquisition and Alienation. The Symbolism of Consumption in Migration Patterns as Exemplified by Russian-speaking Jews in Israel and Germany

This article analyses the relevance of food in the migration process as well as the associated complex subject of ‘home’ as perceived by the immigrants. To start with I would like to discuss the concept of ‘home’ and contrast it with new perspectives, which go along with the phenomenon of transnationality. I will then present theoretical aspects of the relevance of food in general as well as assumptions concerning the meaning of food in the migration process in particular. I will then combine both areas, i. e. ‘home’ and food in the migration process. To substantiate my thesis I will allege examples from my study of Russian-speaking Jews in Israel and Germany. As a conclusion reflections about the culinary home within transnationality will be presented.

Maren Möhring: From Vending Cart to Ice-cream Parlor. The History of Italian Ice-Cream Makers in (West) Germany

Italian ice-cream makers began their specific contribution to food culture in the mid-nineteenth century and went on to conquer Europe. This article traces the history of the Italian ice-cream business with particular reference to Germany, concentrating on the transformation of the business form, i. e., the development from street-cart vendors to bricks-andmortar ice-cream shops, as well as on how Italian ice cream and its vending places were received by consumers. The specific migration patterns of Italian ice-cream makers, especially temporary migration, and their tight-knit migrant networks, some of which still exist today albeit to a lesser degree, will be analysed from the viewpoint of migration history. Italian ice cream is particularly interesting from the perspective of consumption history, its low price allowing us to focus not only on elite consumers but on lower-income groups too, as well as on new consumer groups such as teenagers. The example of Italian ice cream also reveals processes of exoticism in marketing and reception, which would serve as models for other foods imported to Germany, not only Italian ones.

Lars Amenda: The Kitchen of the ‘Others’. Chinese Cuisine and Ethnicity in Western Europe, 1950–1980

In the early post-war period, the economy and industry in Western European countries such as Great Britain and West Germany flourished and attracted many labour migrants from Southern Europe in particular. The establishment of consumer societies fuelled mass tourism and new ways of leisure. Eating out in international restaurants became subsequently more popular, especially in cities. In this chapter, I explore how and why the Chinese cuisine benefited from the new culinary patterns of consumption. Chinese caterers did not only focus on the food – that was very much ‘westernised’ to attract more customers. The Chinese restaurant and its interior decoration were designed to represent China and her culture. The ‘otherness’ of Chinese people and Chinese food was emphasised by the Chinese owners and turned the visit of a Chinese restaurant into a culinary short holiday. The article examines the adaption of Chinese food in Britain, focusing on London, and compares it with the development in other countries such as the Netherlands and West Germany. Remarks about Chinese cuisine in rural settings conclude the chapter.

Gin-Young Song: Kimchi – Taste of Home? Food and Identity as Exemplified by Everyday Nutrition Practices of Korean Migrants

The current cultural anthropological food studies have developed in contrast to a nutritive functionalism and a naturalistic view of food, focusing primarily on processes of collective symbolisms of food. This paper suggests a different perspective for the research on food and migration, beyond the discussion of the causality between food and identity. It pays attention to everyday food practices, experiences and individual strategies related to taste. Preparing, serving, and eating kimchi is neither a mere passing-on of tradition nor an absolute loyalty to ethnic essences and rituals conceived of as unchanging. Instead, as the study shows, it is a creative act of selecting, transforming, and adding on, in which people look for whatever means are available and suitable to create the feeling of home wherever they are.

Markus Schermer: Transnational at Home. The Contribution of Intercultural Gardens to the Social Sustainability of Cities

The paper describes the role of collective intercultural gardens for the social sustainability of cities. Intercultural gardens have received growing public attention in recent years as means of migrant integration, especially within Germany and Austria. They present an alternative concept of transnational spaces, a term much used in current debates about transnational migration. Intercultural gardens are localised and at the same time open up to become multi-ethnic spaces. This has a positive impact on social sustainability in increasingly multiethnic cities. Far beyond the production function, intercultural gardens provide a possibility to preserve important cultural ties with the countries of origin, while at the same time literally developing ‘new roots’ in the society of the host country. The collective involvement in growing food provides new and unique opportunities of interaction and social inclusion. As intercultural gardens are organised as communal spaces, they provide new social networks for people from different provenance and encourage social learning processes. Intercultural gardens thus have an impact on two key dimensions of the social sustainability of cities; social cohesion and the stability of communities. They allow for new ways of interaction between different cultures beyond the traditional pattern of assimilation and integration. The intercultural community garden in the Austrian city of Innsbruck is used as a case study to illustrate these processes. The empirical material is based on observations during a public garden visit, discussions with a member of the core group and the qualitative content analysis of five narrative interviews with gardeners.