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Factors Affecting European Gastronomy.

Bode, Willi Karl Heinrich. (1986) Factors Affecting European Gastronomy. Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey (United Kingdom)..

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How, what and why people eat in an individual way, is a strange and complicated matter. It is affected by many factors, such as prevailing knowledge, skill of preparation, care of presentation, opportunity, experience, superstitions, religious taboos, cultural developments, as well as agriculture, technology and finance. The latter may often be only a cost in care and time. Singly, or in combination, these factors may most certainly again be varied by time and place. The European tradition of eating, its concern for the preparation, presentation and enjoyment of food, is a singular, unique affair. With roots which can be partly placed in China, partly in Egypt, but mostly in Rome, many modern - and not too modern - ideas have been grafted on this stock. "The native sap of a given country, twisting and turning through many foreign branches, blasted by wind and wars, stunted by moral fungus, accelerated sometimes by technology, much better employed elsewhere yet, (man's food) trembling here with brilliant day blossoms; hanging there with yellow print, mostly enjoyable, but surely a most mongrel tradition. (Pullar, P. , 1970, p. l) In past times it was the East that was rich and civilised, possessing the arts and luxuries, the gold and silver, silk and spices, precious stones, knowledge and manners, learning and etiquette; while the West was inhabited by rude and rapacious Barbarians. Civilisation only gradually moved Westwards, via Greece and Egypt, to Rome which, for hundreds of years was its centre and laid the European tradition for most subjects, including a concern and care for our daily bread. This, as well as other factors, made Dr. Johnson remark: "Almost all that is civilised in us, almost all that sets us apart and above the savage, comes from around the Mediterranean. " (Boswell, J. , 1791, p. 117) This broad statement by Dr. Johnson almost certainly included the civilising influences of the regions around the Mediterranean to our food when we remember his comment: "Sir, some people have a foolish way of not minding, or pretending not to mind, what they eat. I, for my part, mind my belly very studiously and very carefully, for I look upon it that he who does not mind his belly will not care much for anything else. " (Boswell, J. , 1791, p. Ill) Much has been written about the subject of food, and some considerable research is now being undertaken into various aspects of food. Where such writing can be found, however, the references are almost all in respect of other disciplines. Disciplines such as archaeology, anthropology, biology, economics, history and zoology. Latterly much work can be found to be under-taken in respect of Food Science and Nutrition, and on eating and psychology, particularly where this seems useful for the marketing and sales of all types of foods, with particular emphasis on convenienced and manufactured foods. Little or nothing has been written or researched with a pure stance towards Gastronomy - the triple joy of preparing, presenting, eating and enjoying food and drink, unashamedly, for its own sake. A study of the evolution of Gastronomy, the identification of the various component parts which may make up this subject, is singularly missing, or has eluded the writer in nearly forty years of study and practice in this field, on a considerable European scale. The tools of food and drink, its gathering, growing, preparation, presentation in all its various forms and times, may have given framework, milestones and even proof to many of the above-named disciplines. The development of Gastronomy itself, writing which may wholly or in parts identify the factors which make up this subject, which may have aided or stifled its evolution to the height of food eating towards the end of the Nineteenth and beginning of the Twentieth Centuries, are most certainly lacking. This is true, of course, only if we exclude the thousands of cookery books and other articles on food which have been published over the years, nearly outselling the Bible, the best-seller of all time. (Abstract shortened by ProQuest.).

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions : Theses
Authors : Bode, Willi Karl Heinrich.
Date : 1986
Additional Information : Thesis (M.Phil.)--University of Surrey (United Kingdom), 1986.
Depositing User : EPrints Services
Date Deposited : 30 Apr 2019 08:07
Last Modified : 20 Aug 2019 15:31

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