University of Leicester, University of Wales, Middlesex University London, University of Exeter, Arts & Humanities Research Council, People’s Collection Wales, National Museum Wales, The National Library of Wales, Welsh Government.
This book is part of a larger research project called: Consuming Authenticities: Time, Place and the Past in the Construction of Authentic Foods and Drinks, which is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council in relation to their major research theme, Care for the Future: Thinking Forward through the Past.
The book is divided in the following sections:
- Pulque in Mexico Then and Now. Deborah Toner and Rocio Carvajal.
- Flaounes: Celebration Easter Pies from Cyprus. Anna Charalambidou.
- Cider in Wales. Emma-Jane Abbots, Hazel Thomas and Elaine Forde.
- Acarajé: Between Bahia and West Africa. Ana Martins.
Throughout the analysis of four case studies of two traditional alcoholic drinks (cider from Wales and Pulque from Mexico) and two food products (Flaounes from Cyprus and Acarajé from Brazil) the authors and contributors of this work explore the tangible and intangible aspects of the production, consumption and embedded meanings in the national identities. This exercise revealed so much more than anticipated, it allowed us to unveil the evident and underlying features that these gastronomic products have played in the ever so constant shifting of local/regional and even national identities.
At the launch of this book (Senate House, Institute of Latin American Studies University of London) the authors, contributors and collaborators shared our experiences working in this intercultural and transatlantic collaborative project.
And honouring the inclusiveness behind this work the public attending the launch also took part in the exchange of experiences, reflections and questions.
Here’s an excerpt of the reflections I shared at the launch:
Food brings people together, it is the universal language of hunger and humans; it represents the care we provide for each other, team work, creativity, love and human tenacity that has allowed us to thrive as a species. We all experience hunger and we all require food, hence we are all entitled and invited to talk about it; its past and present, and also because we all experience food as providers, cooks or consumers.
Food consumption as a fundamental aspect of our existence is deeply embedded with symbolisms, meanings, and elements that connect us with the essence of our cultural identity. Unlike any other vital function, food consumption (and drinks) are generally determined by our emotions and desires and we learn this from our very own infancy. We are given food to heal, to sustain, to reward, to take part of an event, to celebrate, to mourn…
A crucial part of everyday life, and even more, at the centre of human existence is food, nourishment, sustenance. A basic need that not only satisfies a vital requirement but also provides a multitude of sensory pleasures, but more importantly, food also nourishes our cultural identity.
From the early days of humanity, the presence of food has always been a symbol of our success over life’s struggles and a shared reward for one’s hard work.
In every culture food invokes an almost unconscious involuntary respect and its representations in art, literature and religion is also a testimony of our history.
Please contact me to obtain a digital copy of this book!