The royal meal

Culinary networks at the Belgian royal court of the 19th century.

Daniëlle De Vooght

The link between food, status, power and identity has been examined and confirmed by anthropological, sociological and historical research over the past decades, and not only on the production level, but on the consumption level as well. Differences between 'classes' were idenitfied. But did food also create boundaries within an 'elite'? What can the food served at the Belgian royal court of the 19th century teach us about this? And do the culinary networks at the dining table reflect power relations within Belgian society, as the link between food and power would suggest? What does this tell us about the position of monarchy in Belgium in the 19th century? This research will rely mainly on the archives of the Brussels Royal Palace, which contain many useful documents (e.g. guest lists, account books, daily menus, lists of social occasions, letters,…). The archives have not yet been used to investigate the food habits of the elite. Additional information will be gathered from newspapers, magazines and professional journals.

  • 2005-2010 (defense took place in April 2010)
  • Geconcerteerde Onderzoeksactie - Human and Social Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (GOA)
  • supervisor: prof. dr. Peter Scholliers
  • co-supervisor: dr Marc Jacobs

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