In positioning food as a form of cultural studies, this lecture takes up Raymond Williams's observation that "[c]ulture is ordinary: that is where we must start". Food is ordinary. It is crucial to survival, and also a carrier of a lot of cultural meaning. We are not necessary 'what we eat', but what – and how – we eat (and prepare and serve and share) food is a rich source for cultural studies inquiry.
Accordingly, key concepts and methodologies of Cultural Studies will be explored in this lecture by examining food, specifically: recipes. Taking several different media formats into account – recipe books, recipe collections (e.g. online), professional cooking shows, reality cooking shows – recipes will be shown to be really interesting cultural artefacts. Attention will be paid to the specifics of the formats and how they shape the text and its reception.
Practices of food preparation and consumption are, further, rich sites of investigation into such key concepts as: gender, ethnicity, age, class, desire, diaspora, religion, performativity, nation, and globalisation (amongst others). Such terms will be introduced and employed to examine the 12 recipes that form the backbone of this lecture.
(Disclaimer: whether we actually look at 12 recipes will depend on the final length of the semester, as there will also be a general introductory session, and some sessions might even look at two or more (!) recipes.)