The (de)construction of traditional cuisine in Flanders, 1945-2000 (preliminary title).

Anneke Geyzen

Since the 1980s, social scientists (historians, sociologists, anthropologists, etc.) have increasingly investigated whether or not food could be seen as a decisive factor in the formation of identity and identification processes. The existence of a direct link between food and identity was confirmed and at the same time scientists detected several criteria that have guided identity construction throughout history. While nation and nationality were predominantly present before the first half of the twentieth century, the past few decades witnessed a shift to regionality and locality as main factor in the formation process. This research wonders whether or not the use of ‘tradition’, ‘authenticity’ and ‘grandmother’s cooking’ can also be detected as criteria for identity construction. It tries to answer this question by investigating the use of these concepts from a historical point of view. Who used these concepts, why, when and how? Were traditions invented and if so, by whom and why? The research focuses on Flanders during the years 1945-2000 and uses several women’s magazines in order to shed a light on the use of ‘tradition’, ‘authenticity’ and ‘grandmother’s kitchen’ from a historical perspective. The recipe pages of Bij de Haard (Near the Fireplace) published by the Women Farmers’ Association, the more urban Het Rijk der Vrouw (The Woman’s Empire) and the socialist La Famille Prévoyante (The Anticipating Family) are being subjected to a combination of content analysis and predicate analysis.